Every home needs air conditioning service on a routine basis to ensure the system is operating at the best possible level. When living in an area where hot temperatures can linger for half the year, you are likely to be using your air conditioner on a routine basis, which makes it even more important to have scheduled service calls from a skilled technician.
What Is Servicing an Air Conditioner?
Air conditioning service is the process of providing preventative maintenance services on the air conditioning system and other HVAC system components. Typically, a professional should provide this service to ensure the work is done properly, and according to the manufacturer’s requirements and recommendations.
This type of maintenance check can pinpoint problems as well as work to minimize the onset of new concerns. Just like getting the oil changed on a car, a service like this just keeps the air conditioner working properly and enables someone to notice a problem before it worsens or damages the HVAC’s function.
What Happens During a Service Call?
Your air conditioning service call will be specific to the recommendations set by your AC manufacturer. Most of the time, the manufacturer will provide a preventative maintenance schedule or specific tasks that should be done monthly, quarterly, or annually to keep the AC working at its best. It is critical to ensure you follow these instructions. Not doing so could mean that any warranty on your AC may not be applicable. That is just one of the many reasons to have a licensed professional handle the maintenance work for your system.
Numerous steps occur during this process. Some of the steps you can expect include the following.
The service technician will remove and inspect the air filters. Often, homeowners can change filters themselves. However, the technician will handle this during an inspection and maintenance call. Dusty air filters can be a very common cause of problems with the air conditioner, including ice build-up on the system and a lack of efficiency.
Some air conditioners have reusable filters. If that is the case, the technician will wash off the filter, inspect it to ensure it remains in good overall condition, and then replace it. The technician will also clean off the condenser fins at this time. This can help to wash away any dirt, debris, mildew, mold, or other build-up on the service.
Many more modern air conditioners have disposable filters. If this is the type you have, the technician will remove it and then clean the surrounding area, removing as much dirt and debris from the surrounding system.
Evaporator Coil and Condenser
The second place where dust and debris typically collect is on the evaporator coil and, in some cases, the condenser. This is one of the most common causes of an air conditioner that overheats – that is a sign you may need more extensive air conditioning service too.
The condenser unit and evaporator coils are fully inspected to ensure they remain in good condition. Any damage or signs of build-up of interior debris or molds may require more extensive cleaning. If you have a split air conditioner, some of these components are located outside of the home. The technician will need to access those areas to consider the air conditioning service.
Most air conditioners operate on electricity, which means there are generally numerous wiring systems set up within these systems. As a component of the air conditioning service, the technician will perform a visual inspection to pinpoint any damage or concerns with the wiring.
A common concern here is animals. It is possible that rodents can gnaw on these wires, which can lead to a faulty system. If your air conditioner does not run reliably, this could be the problem. The technician will also look for any signs of electrical damage, such as frayed wires or even areas of scorching, which could indicate a concern for an electrical fire.
Any damaged areas are removed and repaired as a part of the service call. If the system is older but still in overall good shape, the technician may recommend replacing worn or older electrical lines to provide a bit more safety for you as the system continues to be used.
Most modern air conditioners have safety controls in place to help prevent big concerns like fires. These work behind the scenes to make sure that the air conditioner is able to run efficiently and safely. The technician will monitor any safety controls, determine if there are any concerns, and then update them as needed during the air conditioning service.
Air conditioners typically pull moisture out of the air, which can be very important on some days. That moisture has to go somewhere. That is why most systems have a dedicated drain for the water to move from the air conditioner out into the sewer.
Most of the time, this drain does not cause any concerns since the water can be rather clean, and the line is generally just used for the air conditioner. However, if the system has had a lot of debris buildup on it over time, then it may be necessary to clean the drain out. It is possible for dust and other debris to build here, clogging the drain.
During the air conditioning service, the technician will inspect the drain. If there is any type of backup occurring or pooling of water, then there is likely the drain needs to be leaned.
During this process, the technician will look for any leaks throughout the system. Leaks can be problematic because they can cause the system to short out over time and cause structural damage. If there are signs of leaks, the technician will work to try to determine what is occurring and then fix it. It could be as simple as replacing one of the hoses on the system.
Your thermostat is a direct link to the air conditioner, and while it is not a component of the actual working system, it is something that should be inspected during an air conditioning service call. Thermostats have modernized in many ways over the years. If you have an older model that is no longer functioning well, replacement with a new and even a smart thermostat could be an option. If you use the air conditioner often, a smart thermostat upgrade could help you to save money on the cost of cooling your home.
Your technician will ensure the system is running properly, test the accuracy of the temperature readings, and work with you to set or improve the settings on the system. Most of the time, this can enhance the functionality of your air conditioner. If the thermostat is turning on and off, that does not always mean the problem is with the air conditioner. It could mean the thermostat is failing. Let the technician know if it is working or any types of problems you have had with improper cooling.
On the outside of your home, there is usually a large box-shaped condenser that is what helps to draw in air to be treated. It is a critical component of the functionality of your air conditioner, but it can often lack proper maintenance.
During the air conditioning service, the technician will inspect this unit. They will take off the top of the enclosure and look at all working components. In many situations, this filter-like device will need to be hosed off or cleaned otherwise to remove the pollen, dirt, debris, and leaves that typically build up around it. Removing as much of this material as possible helps the system to work more efficiently.
While outdoors, the technician will also perform a visual inspection of all working components. This could include the electrical lines leading from the system to the home (including looking for damage brought on by animals) and all functional components. The technician will test the air conditioner and watch this unit operate to ensure it is working at its best.
After completing these tasks, the technician is likely to perform an overall visual check during air conditioning service. The goal here is to look over the entire system to spot any inconsistencies or concerns that may exist so that repairs can be handled quickly. This will include the fan motor, the working components of the air conditioner, and all lines.
If the manufacturer recommends any other type of repairs based on the age of the system, then the technician will handle those as well. Be sure to discuss the process and the costs associated with some of these more intensive tune-ups manufacturers sometimes require. The manufacturer may have other steps required during the air conditioning service.
Recommendations and Next Steps
After completing the inspection component of the air conditioning service, your technician will then provide you with a report. This will detail what they found, what areas of concern exist, and what next steps you may wish to consider.
Routine air conditioning service like this helps to extend the life of the system, but all air conditioners need to be replaced over time. During this appointment, the technician may offer some insight into the remaining life expectancy of the system. That can help you to plan for the replacement needs over time.
This is also a good time to ask any questions. Here are a few things you may wish to discuss after the air conditioning service:
- What is the overall condition of the air conditioner right now? Are there any specific things to worry about in the coming six months?
- Are there any areas that could become problematic and cause the system to fail in the coming months?
- Is it possible to improve the efficiency of the system, or is it operating at its best?
- If you replace the system soon, will you see a drop in your air conditioning costs?
- Are there any signs of concern with the ductwork?
- Is there any type of maintenance you can do during the coming months yourself to keep it operational?
- Could a new thermostat help you to get more comfort or better control out of your air conditioner?
- When should you schedule your next air conditioning service appointment based on the age and overall condition of the system?
The more you know about your air conditioner, the better you will be able to maximize its lifetime and ensure it continues to offer the same level of comfort you desire.
What Are the Benefits of Routine Service Like This?
Though air conditioning service can seem like a lot of work, it only takes a technician a short amount of time to do so because of how well-trained and experienced they are. They also know the weather and conditions and can offer recommendations to you about how to ensure your system works at its best.
Air conditioning service offers a number of key benefits to property owners:
- It helps ensure your system is operating at its most efficient level.
- Any problems can be taken care of right away, helping to avoid a failure of the system later on.
- It helps to pinpoint big risks, such as fire risks due to electrical wiring issues.
- It may help you to save money on your cooling costs.
- Often, having a professional complete this work ensures that your system is getting the manufacturer’s recommended level of attention. That could protect your warranty and help the system last the longest possible time.
Get the Help You Need for Your AC Today
Air conditioning service is available to you through the trusted team at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas. When you give us a call, we can schedule a time that fits your schedule to take a closer look at your system. Contact us today.
See our most recent blog on this topic here.