Your air conditioner becomes very important to you during the middle of the Colorado summer. The last thing you want is for it to fail when you need it most. The best way to ensure your air conditioner won’t give you a bad surprise is by scheduling an annual service visit in the spring or early summer. This yearly maintenance, or ‘clean and check’, will uncover any underlying issues that could become bigger problems over time.
In this post we explain exactly what an air conditioning service visit includes, what our technicians looks for, and how often an air conditioning unit should be serviced.
How Long Does an Air Conditioning Service Visit Take?
The length of time of the service visit will vary depending on the situation. For instance, if we installed your air conditioner, our technicians are already familiar with the site, the situation, and the equipment. The routine service visit will take less time when the technician doesn’t have to assess a new situation.
If our technicians are visiting a new customer, the visit might take a little longer. Typically, a yearly air conditioning service visit takes just 45 minutes to an hour.
What’s Included in an Air Conditioning Service Visit?
1. Safety Check
The first thing our NATE certified technicians assess is whether everything about the set up of the air conditioning unit is safe. They look for any exposed high voltage wires, and ensure the equipment is set and located in a way that wouldn’t pose a hazard to property or lives.
2. Installation Check
It’s important, especially on a new customer visit, to ensure the air conditioning unit is appropriate for the house. Is it sized and installed correctly? For example, a coil could be in the incorrect place. This is a quick evaluation of the equipment before the technician dives into the more detailed evaluation.
3. Thermostat Check
Next, as basic as it may sound, the operation of the thermostat is checked. First, the thermostat battery status is checked for needed replacement. Then the technician will turn on the air conditioning unit from the thermostat to verify the unit is receiving the call from the thermostat correctly.
4. Operation Check
The air conditioner will be turned on and run for a while, until it hits a steady state in which the technician can start testing things like pressure and refrigerant levels.
While it’s running, the balance of the system will be evaluated. The indoor blower motor should not be shaking or jumping around, it should be running smoothly. On the outdoor unit, the condenser fan should also be balanced and not have a shake or shimmy. The balance of the air conditioning unit is important.
5. Filter Check
This check is a straight forward, but important step. The filter needs to be clean in order to allow for proper air flow.
6. Visual Check
A visual inspection of the components will include a look at the contactor to ensure it’s not scarred, pitted, or showing any black carbon stains. The capacitor will be inspected for swelling or leaks. The technician will inspect the motor next. Modern motors are lubricated and sealed for life, meaning they never need grease added to them. If the motor is leaking oil it means the sealed bearings have come loose and the motor is on borrowed time and will soon require replacement.
7. Gauge Check
While visual inspection will tell us a lot, gauges will reveal hidden issues. The technician will now hook up refrigerant gauges to the unit and see if the amount of refrigerant is appropriate. The gauge will also tell them if the equipment is interacting with the refrigerant correctly. Refrigerant level and pressure is one of the most important things to evaluate on an air conditioner.
Even if the filter is clean, the gauges will show if there are air flow issues elsewhere such as a dirty indoor coil, or a gunked up cage on the blower motor.
Important note about R22 systems: Previously, air conditioners used R22 freon for refrigerant. Freon has since been phased out due to its impact on the ozone layer. It’s not on the market anymore so if your R22 air conditioner needs a repair, which will likely involve a refrigerant adjustment, the cost will be very high due to low remaining supply. A warranty will only cover parts, not refrigerant, so be aware of this extra cost. If you have an R22 system, we recommend you replace it right away. Check the rating plate with the model and serial number to determine if your unit is R22. Learn about Air Conditioning Installation and Replacement
8. Capacitor Check
Next the capacitor will be checked. The technician will verify that the reading on the meter coincides with what the unit is rated for to ensure the capacitor is still in good shape. A capacitor can be damaged by high amp draws on the compressor; meaning it’s having a hard time starting up.
The manufacturers of the capacitors say you should get about 60 to 80 years of use out of them. However, capacitors are one of the most frequent things that we replace on air conditioning units. If the system is running dirty, it will pull more amps, and damage the capacitor. In hotter states, such as Arizona, intense sun directly on the unit for long periods of time can dry it out; the fluid evaporates out.
We keep many capacitors on hand because it’s our most common service call. If the capacitor goes out, the cooling function stops. Why are we replacing so many capacitors in air conditioners if they are supposed to last 60 to 80 years? Because many homeowners underestimate the importance and value of a yearly air conditioning service visit that will maintain the unit.
9. Clean Check
The last step is to clean the unit and spray down the outdoor coil.
How Often Should an Air Conditioning Unit be Serviced?
We might sound like a broken record, but yearly maintenance of your air conditioner is so important to its continued operation. Our technicians will not only maintain the operation of the unit, but will catch warning signs of failures early on, before the entire unit stops on you during the summer. Further, 100% of air conditioning manufacturers recommend yearly air conditioning service.
Learn More About Air Conditioning Service and Repair
Schedule Your Air Conditioning Service Visit: 720-231-0671