During the hot, muggy summer months, your air conditioner is a lifesaver for keeping your home comfortable and your family healthy. But like any appliance, your air conditioner needs to be maintained regularly to ensure its efficiency and longevity.
Neglecting any component of your air conditioning system, including cleaning the air filters and duct system, or waiting to schedule repairs, can do serious harm to your system. This not only harms its efficiency and your home’s comfort, but you’ll pay more for your utility bills and repairs.
How often should you service or clean your air conditioner? There are several factors that affect your air conditioning or AC system. Here’s everything you need to know from the pros at Scottsdale Air.
How Often Should You Service Your AC?
There’s no set schedule for AC service and maintenance. The frequency of servicing and cleaning your air conditioner can vary according to several factors:
The frequency of use plays a significant role in determining how often you should service your air conditioner. If you experience long, hot summers and you have your AC running around the clock, it will need more frequent maintenance than if you only run it on particularly hot days.
Climate is another factor. If you have a lot of hot and humid days, air conditioners have to run longer and take more wear and tear to keep your home cool. Also, if you have a lot of dust or pollutants, your air conditioner will get dirty much faster and will need more frequent cleaning.
If you live in an area with poor air quality or have pets with a lot of shed hair and dander, your air conditioner’s filters and coils will clog more easily. You will need more regular cleaning to keep your system running its best.
Your AC manufacturer will have guidelines and recommendations for maintenance frequency. They provide valuable insights into the specific needs of your AC unit and how often you should schedule service.
Type of Air Conditioner
The type of air conditioner you have also plays a role in how often you need service and maintenance. Central air conditioning systems and ductless mini-split systems often have different maintenance requirements.
Signs Your AC Needs Maintenance
Is your AC maintenance a little overdue? Here are some signs that you should schedule AC service:
- Cooling issues:If your air conditioner isn’t cooling effectively, it could be caused by a clogged air filter or blocked condenser.
- High energy bills:If you have an unexpected increase in your energy bills, it could be because of an inefficient system.
- Weird noises:A functional AC should be quiet, but if it’s making a lot of noise, it could be because of a mechanical defect.
- Short cycling:If your AC turns on and off frequently, it’s called short cycling. This could be because of a clogged air filter, electrical issue, or frozen evaporator coils.
Recommended Maintenance Schedule
Though different factors affect your air conditioner’s maintenance frequency, there are general guidelines to help you keep up with your system’s needs. Keep in mind that these are approximate and may need to be adjusted.
Check your air filter every month. If it’s dirty, clean or replace it to improve airflow and reduce strain on the system. This is a simple DIY task for any homeowner, but you can call a professional HVAC technician if you prefer.
Every Three Months
Every three months, you should:
- Replace your filter:Even if your filter appears clean, it’s best to replace it every three months to maintain optimal air quality and efficiency.
- Clean your coils:Check the evaporator and condenser coils for debris and clean them as necessary to maintain efficiency.
- Check your thermostat settings:Make sure your thermostat is functioning correctly and accurately reflecting the indoor temperature.
At minimum, your AC should be serviced once a year, which includes:
- Professional inspection:Schedule an annual inspection by a qualified HVAC technician to identify and address any issues that may have come up in the past year.
- Duct inspection:If you have a central AC system with ductwork, have the ducts inspected for leaks and cleaned if necessary.
- Coolant level check:If your AC uses coolant, you should have the coolant levels checked and recharged as needed. If they’re low, they’ll reduce cooling efficiency.
- Electrical components:Have electrical components, such as wiring and connections, inspected for safety and functionality. Faulty electrical components are a fire risk.
- Thermostat maintenance:Checking the thermostat batteries and components ensures that your air conditioner has parameters to turn on and off and maintain the proper temperature in your home.
- Condensate drain cleaning:The condensate line removes the moisture that accumulates in the system. It can get dirty or clogged, increasing the humidity and the risk of water damage, but clearing and cleaning the drain is part of regular service.
- Coil cleaning:A professional coil cleaning ensures your coils are prepared to handle the work of your AC running all summer long.
- Monitor system performance:Your HVAC technician will evaluate the overall performance of your air conditioner and provide recommendations for service.
Why Air Conditioning Maintenance Matters
AC maintenance and service may seem like an added expense, but it’s an important part of caring for your system and keeping it performing at its best.
A well-maintained air conditioner operates more efficiently and consumes less energy without compromising your home’s comfort. As a result, you have a cool home without skyrocketing energy bills.
Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your air conditioner. When you address minor issues early on, you can prevent them from escalating into major problems that require costly repairs or premature replacement.
Enhanced Air Quality
Your air conditioner accumulates dust, pollen, and other contaminants with regular use. Getting air conditioner service helps maintain healthier indoor air quality and ensures that all that dirt doesn’t bog down your system.
Some air conditioning manufacturers require warranty owners to maintain their cooling and heating systems to keep them in good operating condition. Failing to perform regular maintenance like changing the air filters and getting regular tune-ups can void your warranty.
Routine maintenance allows HVAC professionals to inspect your system and fix potential problems before they can cause a major breakdown. You can take care of minor repairs when they happen instead of scrambling to make an appointment for an emergency repair in the middle of the cooling season.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Schedule Air Conditioner Maintenance?
It’s best to schedule air conditioner maintenance in the spring to prepare for the summer season. Even in areas that have year-round heat, such as Scottsdale, you’re still likely to use your AC the most during the spikes in the summer months.
In addition, the weather is warm enough to see how well your system is running. Your AC won’t function as well in cold weather, so you can’t truly prepare for the hot summer if you schedule maintenance in winter. Conversely, if you wait until summer – the busy season – it’s less convenient. Plus, if there are issues that need to be fixed, you may deal with an inefficient system in the meantime.
How Long Does an Air Conditioning Unit Last?
While there are many factors that impact the lifespan of a home air conditioning system, a quality unit should last between 10 and 15 years. But no matter what, regular care and maintenance from a professional will extend the life of your system and ensure you get the most out of your investment.
How Much Does AC Service Cost?
Whether you installed central air conditioning or you have an existing system, regular air conditioning repair and maintenance is worth the investment to avoid having an AC problem in the future.
The costs for AC maintenance and service can vary, but you can get a quote from Scottsdale Air in advance. Keep in mind that air conditioner repairs can run into the hundreds of dollars and replacing a system can be thousands of dollars, so investing in maintenance is often the more cost-effective choice.
How Long Does AC Maintenance Take?
Your annual or bi-annual AC maintenance may take an hour or two, but it depends on your system, how much work it needs, and the size of your home. In addition, if your system is overdue for service, it may take a little longer, which is why it’s important to keep up with preventative maintenance.
AC Service and Maintenance at Scottsdale Air
When summer is on the way, it’s important to schedule AC maintenance to ensure your system is prepared for the wear and tear of cooling season. At Scottsdale Air, we make air conditioning maintenance convenient with an affordable annual maintenance membership. Our highly trained service technicians will perform an annual maintenance check-up at your convenience before the summer months come around, so you can be sure that your AC unit is working at its best.
Need AC maintenance? Contact us today to schedule your appointment or learn more about our annual maintenance membership!