An air conditioner has a tough job and is often working almost year-round to do it. In order to make sure these machines are in tip-top shape, you should get them tuned up at least once a year by a professional. But before we go into more detail about this, let’s first look at how these systems work.
What Are HVAC Systems?
Short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, an HVAC system’s job is to make sure that a building’s environment remains stable and comfortable for everyone inside. These systems have a tremendous job and require regular maintenance to function at optimum efficiency.
Rowland Air, a professional local company of HVAC repair contractors in Santa Clarita, explains that these systems are complicated and large machines and can have multiple things go wrong with them. Leakage and rattling can occur that may be indicative of a larger problem, while a more serious issue like a full breakdown can often occur if not properly kept up.
What Basic Maintenance Needs to Be Done?
Maintaining an HVAC system isn’t necessarily difficult, it just needs to be done periodically. Air filters should be changed every 60 to 120 days and more often with pets. The drip pan should be looked at to see if it is properly draining and topped off with the correct cleaner if necessary.
Air filters are another maintenance item in HVAC systems. The specific one you need really depends on your home, as there are numerous sizes out there. The most common is probably 16″ by 20″, but other sizes ranging as small as 6″ by 6″ and upwards to 20″ by 25″ are out there too. There are also pleated and non-pleated filters, with the former typically working better.
Once you find the correct filter, most of your work is done. Locate the metal grid on the outside of the filter and unhinge it. This can often be done with just your fingers, but some models might need a screwdriver. Take out the old filter and replace it with a new one.
What Does an AC Tune-Up Involve?
A tune-up is a step higher than basic maintenance and involves a comprehensive overview of numerous pieces such as condenser coils, calibration of the thermostat, inspection of duct work, looking at electrical parts, and a general evaluation of whether air is being circulated efficiently.
Tune-up can also be referred to by other names, such as “26-point check-up”. This just means that this specific HVAC professional has 26 points they look at when looking at a unit. The level of “points” can vary depending on the expert in question, with more points meaning more meticulousness on their part.
A good air conditioner inspection should include everything about the machine that can go wrong, from electrical to air flow and safety to refrigerant should be touched on in some degree.
Why Do I Need an AC Tune-Up?
Just like basic maintenance procedures, an AC tune-up is integral to maintaining proper function. An HVAC system with faulty parts will be much less efficient, resulting in higher power bills and eventually a full-blown breakdown.
Condenser coils help transfer energy into a usable form for your HVAC system. While these units can just stop working, usually they just require basic cleaning. Dirt, dust, and debris that accumulate around these pieces can act as an insulator, making their job harder. This is something that can be addressed during a tune-up
The refrigerant is used to keep the air in your home cool; without it, an AC can’t do its job and often struggles to function. While refrigerant needs to be topped off from time to time, more often than not leaks can occur in weak points in your unit. Leaks can be identified and fixed early on if you get regular tune-ups.
How Do I Choose a Good HVAC Contractor?
In order to choose a good contractor, see what other people are saying. There are plenty of reviews and social media posts that can be used to evaluate how competent a technician is. Make sure that whoever you pick is licensed to work in your state as well.
Keep in mind that no two AC units are the same. Just like an automobile, each unit can have its own idiosyncrasies, meaning that a contractor should be willing to come out to look at your unit specifically before giving you a quote for the tune-up.
An AC tune-up is extremely important, as it improves the efficiency and lifespan of your HVAC unit. This should be done annually but shouldn’t replace basic maintenance carried out by the homeowner. When picking a technician, make sure they are highly rated and thorough.