Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance | HVAC Spring Cleaning - Do You Benefit from Maintenance Agreements?
Air conditioning preventive maintenance is a thorough check of the air conditioning system by a professional HVAC Technician. The technician will check the following:
Basic Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Checks
- Check the air filters and change as necessary.
- Inspect electrical components and make sure all connections are secure and without corrosion.
- Check evaporator and condensing unit coils and clean coils as necessary. Almost always the condenser coil will need a good cleaning as the unit collects dust and dirt in the coils.
- Test controls of air conditioning unit including thermostat, relays, and contactors.
- Check motor capacitors to make sure they haven’t weakened and are within +/- 10% of their rating.
- Oil motors as necessary. Many HVAC motors do not need to be oiled as they have sealed bearings.
- After the unit has been cleaned and has a clean air filter the refrigerant level should be checked. If the unit has low refrigerant levels the air conditioner system needs a refrigerant leak check.
The Benefits and Savings of Preventive Maintenance – Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance
The benefits of a regular air conditioning preventive maintenance schedule can give you tangible returns of added life to the system. Additionally, it lowers energy and repair bills. Air Conditioning and Heating systems definitely need regular preventive maintenance to maintain the system and keep it running at optimum levels throughout its life. For example, dirty condenser coils cause the compressor to run harder and pull more amps. More amps equates to higher electric bills. Dirty condenser coils, which make your compressor work harder and could eventually cause premature failure of that compressor.
So you pay a higher electric bill and you pay to replace the compressor sooner rather than later. The benefits definitely out way neglecting your air conditioning and heating system by not carrying out and regular air conditioning preventive maintenance schedule.
Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Contracts
Almost every air conditioning and heating contractor offers preventive maintenance plans. They will automatically care for your unit on a regular basis. The benefits of having such a plan are two-fold. First, your equipment is cleaned and checked by a trained HVAC professional who is aware of common problems that occur with air conditioning and heating equipment because of poor maintenance. The HVAC professionals basic check should include cleaning the coils (as necessary), check the refrigerant charge, check the electrical connections and components, check and change the filters, blow the condensation lines, check the thermostat, and check all amp draws of all motors including the compressor for unusual readings.
All of these things, if checked by a competent HVAC professional should give you peace of mind. Peace of mind that your system will give you efficient comfort throughout the season. This does not mean your system will not have a breakdown but it does mean you will not be plagued by common problems that occur because of system maintenance neglect.
Secondary Benefits for Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Contracts
The secondary benefit for having an air conditioning and heating preventive maintenance contract is if your system does break down, many companies will offer you a discount on parts and will not charge you overtime for coming out after hours or on a weekend. That means if your system fails on a Friday afternoon the chances are far better (if you have a maintenance contract) that your system will be up and running again before the end of the weekend as long as it’s not a major part that fails that is unavailable. Make sure you check with your local air conditioning and heating contractor for all the options and benefits they offer with their maintenance plans. Air Conditioning and heating maintenance plans are different from company to company so it is good to shop around so that you can get the best air conditioning and heating plan for you.
Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance Agreements
These basic checks done by a qualified HVAC technician will enhance performance and increase the life of the equipment. It can also prevent nuisance breakdowns over the course of the summer. If you have a maintenance agreement with an HVAC contractor you may get extra service if a breakdown occurs simply because you have a maintenance agreement with that company. Make sure you check before signing a maintenance agreement but some companies will give you a reduced price on parts if a breakdown does occur and if the breakdown occurs at night or on a weekend some companies offer no overtime charge (only the regular charge that the company charges during normal business hours).
These are not really give-aways by the HVAC contractor but simply a way to keep you as a customer so when they do need a good contractor they call you. Consider an air conditioning maintenance agreement from your HVAC contractor but make sure you understand exactly what you are getting for the maintenance agreement. Lastly, the maintenance should include maintenance calls two times a year where the company sends a maintenance tech to your house to perform the air conditioning maintenance.
The Effects of Neglected Air Conditioner System
Dirty Condenser Coils – condenser coils get plugged up by dust, dirt, pollen, grass, and other foreign debris. Sometimes these things are not seen by just looking as the condenser. Problems caused by this condition: Unit loses the ability to remove heat from system. This results in higher pressures in the condenser which causes the compressor to pull amps. Higher amp draw means higher electric bill. Lack of air flow through the condenser causes condenser fan motor to run hotter than normal. It also causes the compressor to run hotter because of the higher load conditions. Results: Premature failure of compressor and/or condenser fan motor and higher than normal electric bills.
- Dirty Filter or Evaporator Coil – Dirty filter or evaporator coil causes the air side of the equipment (the part that delivers conditioned air in the dwelling) to lose the ability to deliver the proper amount of air inside the home. This diminished air flow capacity causes the evaporator coil to starve for air. All evaporator coils are designed for a specific volume of air passing over them. If the specific volume of air is not attained through normal operation there is not enough heat transfer from the air to the coil.
Consequently, this can leave some of the refrigerant in a liquid state. Liquid refrigerant can be harmful to a compressor. Liquid doesn’t compress. So the compressor, which is designed to compress, may fail mechanically if liquid makes its way to the compressor. Another problem that can result from a dirty evaporator coil or filter is that the fan for the blower will run at higher than normal temperatures and that leads to premature failure. Other things that can result in diminished airflow are: collapsed duct work, bad blower motor, and low refrigerant charge which cause the evaporator coil and suction line to freeze over.
Air Conditioner Maintenance and Performance
Air Conditioners are machines. As any machine needs maintenance, air conditioning maintenance is necessary for the machine to function properly over time. This is especially true to increase the longevity or life span of the air conditioner. The typical maintenance schedule of an air conditioner will be annual maintenance. However, there are special conditions when the HVAC technician will recommend air conditioning maintenance on a more frequent schedule. If the unit is in a bad area and the performance of the equipment will be affected. Performance is the other important reason air conditioner maintenance is necessary.
Air conditioners that do not receive regular maintenance will break down more often. Additionally, the air conditioner will use more energy to operate. Finally, the life of the equipment will be reduced. Therefore, it is important that air conditioning maintenance is scheduled at least annually. By doing so you will extend the life and increase the performance of your air conditioning system. Consequently this also results in fewer repair bills.
Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance - Video
The following video demonstrates how to clean a condenser coil. High Performance HVAC Systems does not recommend doing this yourself. It is always best to hire an HVAC Professional to perform these task as they are trained professionals. They will accomplish the job with efficiency. Additionally, they will possibly find other potential problems that can be found on basic maintenance checks. Always call an HVAC professional to take care of your systems. If you decide to do this yourself read the disclaimer section of our website.
Furthermore, for another HVAC information resource check this resource.
Additionally, do you have a heat pump instead of an air conditioner? See our comprehensive heat pump category for help with heat pumps:
Furthermore, additional heat pump resources here:
- Heat Pump Troubleshooting.
- Quick Guide to Heat Pump Problems
- Sequence of Operation for Heat Pumps
- Basic Maintenance for Heat Pumps
- How Heat Pumps Work
- Converting and Air Conditioner to a HeatPump
- Heat Pump Breaker Trips
Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance
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