People hear a lot of emphasis on having the furnace cleaned and inspected every year before the heating season begins, but not nearly so much focus on central air conditioner maintenance. Homeowners generally follow the recommendation to have a technician inspect the furnace and do routine maintenance on that appliance, but tend to ignore the central air system. Yet central air maintenance from a place like American Heating & Air is more important than most people think it is.
Advantages of Annual Maintenance
A clean central air conditioner is more efficient, which leads to lower electric bills. The system does not need to run as long to cool the air. You might think of this as the central air conditioner not having to work as hard.
Extending the Life of the Air Conditioner
Related to the efficiency aspect is longevity. In general, when a central air system doesn't have to work so hard to keep the air cool, it lasts longer.
During a routine inspection, a technician discovers and fixes any problems that could lead to a breakdown. Worn parts, for instance, can malfunction and cause a need for emergency repair. That emergency service costs more than routine maintenance. A homeowner can choose to forgo emergency service and schedule the next available appointment during regular business hours, but has to endure the heat in the meantime.
Central Air Maintenance Tasks
Outdoors, heating and cooling technicians clear debris from the unit, and inspect and clean the condenser coil. They check the refrigerant level, and inspect the compressor and the condenser fan and motor. They lubricate moving parts.
Inside, the technicians check the drain channels and clean them if necessary. If you've ever noticed any small water leaks from your system, a semi-plugged drain channel is the likely culprit. Technicians also inspect the evaporator coil and the blower.
In addition, technicians check the filter. If it's excessively dirty, they'll suggest you change the filter more often. Homeowners may be more inclined to think about the filter when running the furnace, but not when running the central air.
If you don't want to schedule two appointments with the service -- one for furnace maintenance and one for central air -- schedule a single appointment before the season when you use your system most. A homeowner in a climate with many months of cold weather should have the furnace and air conditioner maintained in late summer or early autumn. Homeowners who run the central air a lot more than they run the furnace can have the maintenance done in late winter or early spring.