The last thing you want in the middle of a hot summer is for your air conditioning to go out. To avoid this discomfort, you should have your AC serviced regularly. In addition to your annual service from a pro, there are a few things you should keep up with on your own to ensure the system is always ready to cool.
Why service an AC unit?
Home ownership can feel like a constant rotating checklist of items to tend to. It’s tempting, then, to take an “if it ain’t broke” attitude when you can. But even if your AC unit seems to have been running ok, you shouldn’t skip the service.
For one thing, professional service for your AC will save you money in the long run. A well-serviced unit typically lasts between 10 and 15 years. If you want to get more time out of a unit, you can’t skip the service. Servicing the unit also ensures that it continues to run as efficiently as possible, which means smaller gas bills for you — and a cooler home.
If that’s not convincing enough, you’ll appreciate knowing that a well-working AC unit provides cleaner air for you and your home. When a unit is regularly tended to, you can feel good knowing that there are less allergens and irritants in your indoor air.
How often should I have the AC unit serviced?
Like a car, an AC unit needs regular service in order to keep it running efficiently. Fortunately, you won’t need to get your HVAC unit looked at as often as your car requires oil changes. In almost all cases, it’s enough to get the AC unit serviced once a year. The same is true for your heating system. The entire HVAC system should be examined annually.
However, although the professionals only need to be called once a year, you can’t ignore your AC unit for 12 months at a time. There’s one small service item that you should tend to every few months — the air filter. It’s simple to change the air filter on your own, and we’ll look at how it’s done in this article.
When should I have my AC serviced?
If you were to have your car winterized, you’d probably plan to do it before the cold season, not during. You want to make sure everything is ready to work properly and efficiently when you need it.
The same idea goes for an AC unit. It’s smart to have your unit worked on ahead of the hot months. If you make an appointment with Geiler during the spring, you’ll have plenty of time to make sure that everything with the AC is taken care of.
Another good reason to get the AC serviced in the spring. The majority of people wait until summer. By that time, we might be very busy tending to units that are malfunctioning or installing new units for families that are ready to cool down. With a less flexible schedule, it can be hard to find a window of time that works for you. The last thing you want is to wait until summer only to discover that something is wrong with your AC, and then have to wait for it to get fixed!
The same principle goes for the heating system. We recommend having your heating system checked in the fall, when there’s still plenty of time to make sure everything is working well.
Still, if you find yourself deep in the summer season, and realize you haven’t had the AC unit serviced in a while, make an appointment. It’s best to be proactive, and get your AC taken care of before something goes wrong.
What goes into servicing an AC unit?
So, what, exactly, do we mean when we talk about servicing an AC unit? Well, the service process is made up of multiple steps. Some of these steps are pretty approachable for the homeowner who loves to take on a DIY project. Other steps are definitely best left to the professionals.
Replacing the air filter Changing the air filter is, perhaps, the easiest part of servicing an AC — and thank goodness for that. Unlike other elements of servicing an AC unit, a filter needs to be changed every few months. The actual frequency depends on your living conditions.
Replacing the filter is one of the most important steps in keeping your unit running safely and well. The filter is what keeps allergens like dust out of the air that your AC unit circulates. Having a clean filter means you’ll have better air quality in your home. A clean air filter also ensures that the AC is working efficiently, so it reduces energy usage and saves you money.
It’s easy to change the air filter on your own. You will start by locating it on the outside of your AC unit. You should see a window or slot where the filter lives. All you need to do is pop the old filter out and insert the new.
If you don’t know which type of filter your unit needs, you can either check the manufacturer instructions or pop out the current filter and take a look.
Overall inspection When you have a professional like Geiler out for an annual AC service, they’ll start with an overall inspection. This involves checking the voltage, and examining the ducts, vents, blower motor, refrigerant, and belts. Also, check the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly.
While there, they will make sure you’ve been swapping out the air filter frequently enough and can give you help if needed. They should clean other elements of the unit, like the coils and the drainage line. Some of these are also attainable DIY projects. But, even if you’re comfortable taking on small maintenance steps for your AC, it’s still good to have the pros come by once a year. At the end of the inspection, run the unit through a full cycle to be certain that every working part is in great condition.
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