After the installation of an air conditioner, don’t think to rest on your laurels: modern climatic equipment requires regular service maintenance. Your investments will be fully recouped, however: when your air conditioner is taken care of, you don’t suffer from hotness in the summer, you don’t get sky-high energy bills, and don’t think of an optimal microclimate in your premises at all!
The average cost of maintenance
It might seem at first glance that the climate control systems are a rather expensive pleasure because you might pay $70-360 for the regular technical maintenance of the equipment. The average cost of air conditioner maintenance is estimated at the level of $100-150 a month. However, everything is relative: the certified NATE contractors’ prices for the air conditioner technical maintenance outside the standard package vary between $50 and $150 per hour.
What is included in the service maintenance of an air conditioning system?
Various HVAC contractors offer various packages of technical maintenance for household climate control systems, so every homeowner is capable of selecting the right option for themselves. Minimal house air conditioner maintenance would cost $70-80; packages for $110-130 include a vaster service list:
- visual inspection of equipment’s hull
- checking the fastenings, piping, belts, and nodes
- adjustment of thermostats and software
- inspection of electrical nodes and measuring devices
- washing the inner block and drainages
- cleaning or replacing the filters
- greasing a fan and parts that work in friction
- revision and cleaning the coils of a condenser and evaporator
- elimination of deformations
- coolant level control
- removing worn-out parts.
The list of the services within standard packages of technical maintenance in different contractors varies. For instance, some companies do the cleaning of an evaporator and drainage ducts only at an additional cost. In the BHCAir Company, there is a possibility of elaboration of individual programs of service maintenance of air conditioners depending on the desires and financial capacity of every client.
Additional tasks in the service maintenance of air conditioners
If an air conditioner has not received service for a long time or has been working for over 5 years, it might need additional services to restore the functionality of the equipment. The inner block must be dismantled and the revision of the main nodes should be done. Most often, the repair is required to remove clogging, eliminate leakages, or replace parts.
A new thermostat or a drainage tray costs are cheap – from 50 to 200 dollars. Replacing a condenser battery, a fan, or a circuit board will be costlier ($200-600). The worst-case scenario is the breakage of a compressor, condenser, or evaporator – then the cost of their repairs rises to the cost of a new air conditioner basically – $2,500-3,000 or even higher. If your air conditioner is 10-15 years old, you most certainly should completely replace it.
The cost of maintenance by the types of devices
The exploitation cost of an air conditioner varies widely, depending on the type of air-cooling: one could spend from $50 to $400 to complete the maintenance of air conditioners of different types. How much exactly will air conditioner maintenance cost depends on the complexity of manipulations during work because the technologies of cleaning the inner block and main nodes of air conditioners of different types are different.
Design features of climatic equipment also affect the coolant expense and the work term of parts. Some air conditioners require frequent refilling with a coolant, others wear out parts faster. Below, we’re considering the features of technical maintenance of the most popular system of microclimate management – portable, window-based, central, and mini-split systems.
Maintenance of a portable air conditioner
Portable a.k.a. mobile air conditioning systems can be moved within the premises on wheels and have a simplified installation option: their air ducts are coming out through the windows or wall openings. Only a minimal service package is enough for scheduled prophylaxis: once a year, one should clean and dry up the drainages, replace filters, and replace parts, which might have become broken. The cost of air conditioner maintenance is minimal – only $50-85.
The cost of maintenance of a window air conditioner
Window monoblock systems are considered obsolete. However, they are still popular thanks to the simplicity of their design and reliability in exploitation. Standard service maintenance of this air conditioner is not sophisticated. However, one should clean the evaporator from dust and check the coil for deformations. Typically, a visit of a technician costs around $50-100.
The cost of maintenance of a central air conditioning system
Central air conditioner systems are known for their economy and the possibility of zoning when distributing the energy. However, their widespread network of communications makes it harder to do the maintenance of equipment. So, in addition to the inspection of an evaporator, changing the filters, and cleaning the elements of the system from dust and garbage, one would also need to make an annual inspection of the fan engine, bearings, and belts, so the central air conditioner maintenance is costlier – around $85-150.
Technical maintenance of an HVAC block
In addition to air conditioning, complex climate control systems include ventilation and heating. Since the heating contour and air conditioner are placed in the same block, service maintenance of air conditioning and heating systems are made in one go. The cost of maintenance increases to $90-120 a year for an air conditioning contour, and $150-500, considering the cost of the heating system altogether. On the other hand, the high level of automation of complex systems allows using the schemes of weather-dependent adjustment and improves the energy efficiency of the equipment.
The cost of maintenance of mini split air conditioners without air ducts
Having a mini-split air conditioner without air ducts is cheaper compared to a regular split system since you don’t have to manage the communication network. Nevertheless, even without inspection and piping repair costs, the service maintenance of a split system is around 150-200 dollars – even more than for a monoblock. It is because more than one inner block has to be checked at a time. The need to do regular disinfection and apply anti-fungi remedies to prevent siltation also increases the cost of service maintenance of a split system.
Advantages of air conditioner maintenance
Timely prophylactic service maintenance of an air conditioner improves the quality of air, lowers the cost of energy bills, prevents emergencies, and optimizes the work of the system. As a result, the resource of the equipment increases – in caring house owners, air conditioners can serve 15-20 years without failures. Even if they occur, an air conditioner owner will not have issues with warranty maintenance: a contract with a certified HVAC contractor about scheduled and urgent maintenance will serve in your favor.
Air conditioner emergency service
Emergency service of an air conditioner, unlike the scheduled one, is carried out in off-hours, as a rule, in the evening or night. The repair cost is $135-200. If it is possible to postpone the service until morning, then repairs should be cheaper. But if you have leakage or serious malfunction of an engine, you need to fix the problem immediately because if your equipment will completely break down, it will be seriously harder to repair it. If you have any failures in the work of your climatic equipment, you should immediately unplug it from the electric grid and call the closest HVAC contractor.
Do you need to do the maintenance of an air conditioner every year?
Scheduled service maintenance of a home air conditioner is usually carried out once or twice a year (in spring/autumn). Once per several years, you should refill the coolant. For the devices working non-stop and in specific exploitation conditions, there are extra programs of technical maintenance. For instance, during the plant blossom and especially poplar blossom season, you might require additional cleaning of an external block. Now let’s consider how you can recoup the investments in technical maintenance, what are the advantages of regular maintenance, and how you could save, without the loss in functionality.
With qualified service maintenance of a climate control system, it gains the maximal efficiency as prescribed in its technical documentation and wears out lesser. Particularly, greasing the fan and other moving parts reduces the friction and protects working parts from overheating and mechanical damage. Freeing the air ducts from clogging removes the hindrances of the way of air masses that flow in and out, lowering the energy consumption of the system, and preventing the “cold spots” – when an air conditioner functions correctly, all premises have even temperature.
If you make regular cleaning of coils and air ducts from clogging and dust, the air conditioning system keeps the optimal temperature of coolant with minimum energy consumption. As a result, you can have more coolness and freshness in the hot summer weather without increasing energy bills.
Preventing small troubles
Large breakages don’t occur out of the blue. They are usually preceded by small malfunctions, which are not taken care of by a homeowner immediately. Incorrect functioning of separate elements increases the workload for the rest of the nodes, which consecutively fail as well over time. An increased number of technical failures eventually leads to global malfunction. Thus, you can calculate yourself – if it is better for you to pay for annual service maintenance or to pay for a costly and complex repair when your climatic equipment fails in the most improper time!
Keeping the system clean
Neglecting the cleanliness of air ducts, filters, drainages, and the internal block creates favorable conditions for the proliferation of bacteria, fungi, and mold. It would be much better to clean them once a month, giving it 10 minutes, then breathe with dust and microbes. Thus, you will free yourself from annoying headaches and constant colds, keep your immunity high, and will be on top of your intellectual capacity and productivity. Your children will also not suffer from allergies and it will be much simpler for you to keep your house clean!
Balancing the humidity levels
The temperature difference in the street and inside the premises makes condensation possible. The humidity from the air is condensed using the evaporator and is put out through the system of drainage ducts, keeping the optimal level of humidity inside the house. Clogging the evaporator usually leads to over-condensation and leakages while weakening the air circulation in the rooms, which creates stagnant zones with increased humidity.
High temperature makes the air-cooling harder, so, the air is stiff and stale in damp premises, the walls have condensed humidity accumulated on them, and the finishing materials lose their beauty. Periodic cleaning of a coil usually eliminates the problem. But if the level of humidity still remains high, you should check the work of the draught.
DIY vs hiring a professional
Now, the choice is obvious – you should pay for the regular service maintenance of an air conditioner to eliminate bigger troubles and failures. But that does not mean you shall pay the maximum for each séance of service: most part of homeowners deals with the routine tasks on their own (like changing filters or washing the drainage ducts). Specialists may be delegated only the most complex tasks. If you need professional advice about the maintenance of your air conditioner, leave your request on the website of the BHCAir Company and you will be shortly contacted by our technician.