Houston Heating, Cooling, and Electrical

What Should Be Included In A Spring AC Maintenance Check

AC Unit Checkup

When is the best time to schedule an AC maintenance check?

The best time for AC maintenance is the springtime. The weather is warm enough to make maintenance easier to manage, but not so warm that the air conditioner is under a heavy workload. For many homeowners, the springtime is also home maintenance season, and an AC maintenance check should be on the list.

The reason is that when summer arrives, your air conditioner will be pushed much harder. If there are any underlying issues, no matter how minor, they can cause your system to fail when the weather gets hot. This is why HVAC professionals are busiest during the summer. If you wait for summer to get your air conditioner checked, it may be difficult to secure an appointment in a timely manner.

What should be included in a spring AC maintenance check?

A spring AC maintenance check should be comprehensive, like getting your car tuned up before a long road trip. Residential and commercial HVAC systems are usually the most complex machines found in the building, and there are multiple possible failure points. There’s a lot for a technician to inspect, including:

Check the air filters

It’s recommended that homeowners replace their air filters regularly, but it’s easy to forget this simple task. If the air filters are heavily soiled, they can restrict air flow into the system and into the home. This will not only reduce the system’s ability to cool the home, it may also strain the air conditioner and result in additional problems.

Clean evaporator & condenser coils

The evaporator and condenser coils are responsible for transferring heat, so they are exposed to outside air entering the home. This air may contain tiny bits of dust and debris that build up on the coils, acting like a layer of insulation. This reduces the coils’ ability to move heat, so the HVAC technician will clean them to restore function.

Inspect all electrical components

Multiple HVAC components require a reliable electrical connection to run safely and consistently. For instance, the AC’s contactor is the part of the system that tells the air conditioner to switch on. If there is a failure with the contactor, the air conditioner won’t start. During a spring AC maintenance check, the technician will also inspect the capacitors, all motors and all other electrical connections. Spotting an electrical issue early is critical to avoiding complete system failures.

Calibrate the thermostat

Over time, your home’s thermostat can slowly lose its ability to accurately track the temperature. This can occur with typical use and isn’t necessarily due to damage. For example, dust may enter the thermostat and block contact points, resulting in poor reading accuracy. If your thermostat is off, even by a single degree, your air conditioner will run when it shouldn’t and won’t when it should. HVAC professionals know how to verify whether a thermostat is giving inaccurate readings, and how to recalibrate one if necessary.

Check refrigerant levels

The air conditioner’s refrigerant runs through the system’s coils, picks up heat and carries it outside. When refrigerant levels are low, your air conditioner will lose its ability cool the home. When refrigerant is low, it’s usually because there’s a leak, so an experienced HVAC professional will look for a leak if refrigerant is an issue.

Oil the motors

The air conditioner’s motors contain an array of moving parts, so the HVAC technician will ensure they are in good physical condition and properly lubricated.

In addition to the above spring maintenance tasks, an experienced HVAC technician will also inspect the entire system for any signs of rust, corrosion or leaks, as these can emerge anywhere. This includes the ductwork and registers, where even a small leak can cause huge drains in system efficiency.

HVAC professionals will also check the drain lines during an AC maintenance check

During the air conditioning process, the system condenses moisture out of the air. This moisture needs to be transported outside the home to prevent it from building up and causing water damage. If there is standing water around the drain pan or around the unit’s interior components, there may be an issue with the condensate drain line.

In the Houston area, where air conditioners run around the clock during the summer, dirt may build up in the drain lines, or mold may grow and clog the line. In both cases, the drain line will need to be cleaned to prevent water damage and system shutdown.

Experienced HVAC technicians will do this during a spring AC maintenance check.

Why is it important to schedule regular AC maintenance?

Regular maintenance is essential for your air conditioner’s optimal performance. Here are some reasons why a spring AC maintenance check is critical:

It preserves the system’s efficiency

Long before mechanical or electrical issues necessitate system repair, it’s likely that your air conditioner is experiencing a dip in efficiency. It’s difficult to notice this, so the first sign may be a large increase in your energy bill. This drop in efficiency could be due to restricted air flow, poor thermostat calibration or another mechanical or electrical problem. Catching and correcting these issues early is key to keeping your air conditioner operating efficiently.

It preserves the system’s lifespan

With proper installation and maintenance, a new air conditioner should provide between 10 and 15 years of reliable, efficient performance. The important point, though, is to schedule a spring AC maintenance check. HVAC systems are complex machines that function using motors, fans and an array of electrical connections. These components are prone to deterioration if they are not lubricated or tightened regularly, and that’s what a technician will do during a maintenance check.

It ensures the system is running safely

Modern HVAC systems are designed for maximum safety, but again, this is only the case if the air conditioner is regularly maintained. For example, fuel-fed furnaces produce carbon monoxide as they consume gas, and if the furnace isn’t properly sealed, or if cracks are starting to form in the housing, the carbon monoxide may leak into the home and cause a potentially life-threatening hazard. Experienced technicians are trained to spot these leaks before they become a threat, ensuring your family is safe.

Who can provide a spring AC maintenance check?

Only an experienced, knowledgeable HVAC technician should be allowed to perform maintenance on your air conditioner. The technician will be handling electrical and mechanical components, which can be dangerous tasks for an untrained person, so look for an HVAC professional that offers the following:

An in-person estimate

Every air conditioner and every property is different, so it’s impossible to provide an accurate estimate over the phone or through e-mail. An estimate can be a useful starting point, but a reputable HVAC professional should also be willing to evaluate the air conditioner in person.

A license through the state licensing board

A licensed HVAC technician is one that has demonstrated their skill and care while working on air conditioners. Without it, you can’t be sure that the technician you’re working with is qualified to do the job. Some HVAC services avoid licensing to keep their costs low, but that reduced cost comes with increased risk for the homeowner.

Experience and a history of positive customer interactions

Experience is critical, as the HVAC industry is always changing. The more experienced an HVAC company is, the more effective it will be at integrating new HVAC technologies into their product portfolio. Further, a history of good online reviews is also an important sign, especially on Google, where customer reviews aren’t filtered as heavily.

A spring AC maintenance check is a must to keep your air conditioner in good operating condition through the hottest season of the year. Given the complexity of your HVAC system, there’s a lot to check, but an experienced HVAC technician will have the knowhow needed to provide a comprehensive inspection and keep you cool when it matters most.

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