Timely and appropriate maintenance is the must for prolonged and smooth operation of air conditioners and a healthy indoor climate. Maintenance is a planned activity, while the annual plan is customized, taking into account the available system and the input. Best Heating Cooling & Air, an award-winning NATE-licensed air conditioning contractor, offers affordable HVAC subscription programs in Colorado. Our detail-oriented experts will not let you miss a thing!
Can the system work without maintenance?
Good air conditioners can run without maintenance for 5-7 years, but its efficiency decreased as the microclimate input is far from ideal, and energy consumption is higher than it must be. The units depreciate faster and more often, while maintenance plan violations may lead to in warranty cancellation.
Five signs that alert you to call the maintenance
Air conditioners working extra or beyond their capacity may require additional maintenance besides the planned one. Let’s assume the cases when you would need to invite an HVAC specialist for unplanned maintenance of air conditioning unit.
The weakening of airflow is a major reason for “cold spots”, drafts and moisture, which are mostly evoked by clogged air filters, air ducts, heat exchangers, and the evaporation unit. If the airflow remains the same after replacing the filter and unit cleaning, the issue may be a sign to dysfunction in other elements of the system, which must be fixed
- thermal insulation and airways cracks;
- disruption of the fan motor operation;
- disruption in the thermostat;
- low Freon;
- inappropriate size of the air conditioner;
- depreciated air conditioner unit and its wire.
Hot air instead of cold
Airflow heating indicates disruption in the heat balance, which can be a sign of clogging, freezing of the heat exchanger, refrigerant leakage and invalid thermostat settings. An air conditioner depreciates quicker after some time of operation at low temperatures, as there are not enough power to cool the airflow. In the worst-case scenario, the broken compressor may be the reason for the air not to be cooled, which costs half a price of the system. If that is the case, the air conditioner must be replaced.
Poor air-cooling in split systems is a sign of a power disruption at the external unit when the network is overloaded and the wiring is damaged. When an old model is overheated, a fuse is triggered, while automatic switching in new models ensures redistribution of load.
Unexpected increase in electricity bills
A sharp increase in power consumption is a sign of weak airflow, resulting in overused power and a pressure on the fan capacity. In most cases, airflow is obstructed by particles in the air ducts and on the fan blades. Neglected clogging of the air conditioning unit can lead to damage of the evaporator and compressor.
Leaks and excessive moisture
Condensate and leakage in the indoor unit of the air conditioner is the result of a clogged filter, lack of refrigerant, cracked duct connections and insulation. Leaks in the outdoor unit usually indicate clogging or cracks in the drainage, as well as its misplacement or damage.
When installing imported split systems, portable and window air conditioners, it is important to adjust the unit to the weather conditions in your area. Otherwise, it may evoke ice plugs inside a drainpipe, obstructing condensate and make it leak in the indoor unit. Setting up the air conditioning system for cold season has three stages:
- adjustment of compressor heating;
- warm drainage layout;
- outdoor unit fan speed controller installation.
Unusual sounds or odors
Unusual odors in the conditioned room urge about dysfunction that may evoke bigger issues. If the room smells strange, turn off the air conditioner and call an HVAC technician. Most often, homeowners complain about the odors of burning, dampness and hydrogen sulfide, which are the result of different issues with climate unit that require prompt action.
- Odor of burning appears when the wiring is smoldering or the fan belt is smoking. The burnt plastic reduces the quality of the air as the heat-labile plastic in the finish releases toxic fumes when heated.
- Damp and musty smell is a consequence of silting and mold growth inside the drainage system and the indoor unit. The rinsing and disinfection can eliminate such an unpleasant odor.
- Smell of hydrogen sulfide is the sign of a dead bird or mouse in an air duct.
Outside noises during the operation of the air conditioner have different causes. Buzzing air conditioner buzzes urge about loose contacts, worn bearings, and dysfunctional fan or relay. Buzzing and crackling tell us about power arch. In case of clicks and knocks, the issue may be in loose fasteners or obstructed fan blades.
Why do I need to service my air conditioner so often?
Comprehensive maintenance of household air conditioners is carried out twice a year – at the beginning and at the end of the season; industrial and semi-industrial systems are serviced quarterly. In addition to planned preventive maintenance, it is recommended to inspect the equipment once or twice a month, wipe the air conditioner housing from dust and check the condition of the air filters.
Budget filters (MERV 1-2) are designed for 30-90 days, filters of the middle class (MERV 3-4) – for 6-9 months; if the air is very polluted, the cassettes have to be changed every two weeks or more often. Do not be lazy to check the filters once again in situations associated with a high risk of blockages:
- proximity of industrial facilities and highways;
- mass flowering of plants;
- smoking in living quarters;
- keeping animals in the house;
- worn-out furnace equipment.
What maintenance does my air conditioner need?
Depending on the volume, complexity and cyclicity of preventive work, there are three types of HVAC service maintenance – preventive, corrective, and risk management. Preventive service includes activities aimed at creating optimal operating conditions, reducing operating costs and preventing accidents:
- replacement of air filters;
- inspection and cleaning of air ducts;
- washing and disinfection of the indoor unit, heat exchangers and drains;
- control of the refrigerant level, refueling if necessary;
- testing and adjustment of weather-dependent control;
- check of electric networks and isolation, cleaning of contacts;
- fan cleaning and engine revision;
- lubrication of moving parts;
- tightening and adjustment of fittings.
Corrective maintenance of air conditioners involves minor repairs – replacement of worn fasteners, wires and consumables, restoration of thermal insulation, etc. Risk management measures are selected on the basis of equipment inspection; predictive maintenance is also possible in smart home systems – a targeted program for the prevention of breakdowns predicted by artificial intelligence.
What are the benefits of annual maintenance
The implementation of the annual service plan creates optimal conditions for the operation of climate control equipment and helps to reduce operating costs. Professional maintenance is essential for the safe operation of air conditioners, reducing energy consumption and reducing the impact on the environment – with a minimum investment, you solve a number of vital problems.
Extend the life of your air conditioner
The average duration of operation of a branded air conditioner with conscientious after-sales service is 15-20 years; while the device functions without interruption, without causing trouble to homeowners. A balanced system resists physical and moral wear and tear longer, maintaining high performance and energy efficiency throughout its entire service life.
Fewer repairs and emergencies
Most of the malfunctions in climate control systems are provoked by blockages and heat leaks, which cause air circulation disturbances that create excessive loads. To prevent overheating and early wear of moving parts, regular lubrication of rubbing surfaces with a high-quality lubricant is required.
Timely replacement of worn parts prolongs the life of the main components and prevents major breakdowns that require costly repairs. To prevent short circuits, do not forget to periodically check the contacts, update the insulation of the conductive parts in time and adjust the devices for switching loads.
Improving System Efficiency
In order to increase energy efficiency, air conditioners are equipped with thermostats – devices for weather-dependent thermal control as part of temperature sensors and valves that control the air supply. A programmable thermostat is not cheap and requires periodic adjustment and adjustment, but with the help of a serviceable device, it is possible to reduce energy consumption by 20-30%.
Improves air quality
Air conditioning systems maintain a comfortable temperature in the room and an optimal level of humidity, regulate the airflow rate and provide a normal air exchange rate according to the project. By installing additional filters, the air conditioner can also purify and recycle the air, eliminate solid and fine impurities, remove unpleasant odors and volatile substances, etc.
Can I service my own air conditioner?
Homeowners perform many routine procedures on their own and seriously save on HVAC maintenance, and only the most complex and time-consuming tasks that require special skills, experience and special tools are entrusted to specialists. The simplest thing you can do for your air conditioner yourself is to wipe the dust off the indoor unit body and replace the air filter.
More experienced owners successfully cope with flushing the heat exchanger and drainage channels, wipe the fan blades and tighten the fasteners. Nevertheless, electrical work, automation programming and disassembly of the main components are best left to professionals – mistakes can lead to serious damage and disable the air conditioner.
How to make air conditioning maintenance planning as easy as possible
Air conditioning maintenance requires careful planning – by choosing the right time for preventive maintenance, you will receive high-quality service at minimal investment. Ideally, seasonal HVAC maintenance should be done during the off-season when HVAC contractors offer better rates due to low demand for maintenance services. You will also greatly facilitate the task of the repair team if you keep the housing clean and follow the rules of hygiene – ventilate the rooms at least twice a day and do wet cleaning at least twice a week.
Why not winter?
Do not schedule air conditioning maintenance for the winter, at the height of the heating season, when there are many requests for heating repairs. High demand for HVAC services drives up prices; you will have to overpay for the services of the contractor, in addition, the processing of orders is extremely slow due to the large number of calls.
Why not summer?
Another seasonal peak in demand for HVAC repairs in Colorado is during the summer, when air conditioning equipment is heavily used and breaks down more often. At the same time, it is important that the air conditioner is prepared for the peak season long before the onset of the heat, so scheduled maintenance is best done in the spring.
How long does air conditioner maintenance take?
The duration of scheduled maintenance varies widely depending on the type and size of the system, the footage of the building and the scope of work. On average, scheduled maintenance of the air conditioner takes from 1 to 2 hours; the more attention you give to prevention, the less time is wasted.
How much does an air conditioner service cost?
The volume of annual investments in the maintenance of air conditioners is calculated when drawing up an individual plan for preventive maintenance. The average cost of maintaining a home air conditioner ranges from $75-200 per year; various factors affect the invoice from the contractor:
- initial state of the system;
- architecture and extent of communications;
- brand, model and year of manufacture of the unit;
- outdoor air quality;
- weather conditions and microclimate in the room;
- design features of the building, etc.
In any case, professional maintenance of the air conditioner under the subscription program is cheaper than emergency repairs or replacement of major components. Order an air conditioning engineer’s consultation on the BHC&Air website to find out the exact cost of subscription service for your air conditioner with a 100% guarantee – the total amount will inspire you!