When the long summer comes to call in San Antonio or Dallas, a properly functioning air conditioning system is a godsend. But running your AC throughout the hot season can also cost you a pretty penny, especially if your system isn’t properly maintained.
Scheduling a maintenance visit not only helps keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape, but can actually save you money on your electric bills by improving performance and efficiency. Even a system that seems to be doing its job without a hiccough might need a tune up. That’s why we’ve broken down the key components of an AC tune up, and how they benefit your AC—and your wallet.
Anatomy of an AC Tune Up
So what exactly is your HVAC tech doing when they pay you a maintenance visit for your AC? Much as your mechanic gives your car a once-over during a routine tune up or your doctor gives you an evaluation during a scheduled check-up, the technician is there to take care of a few maintenance tasks and look out for any potential problems.
During a typical visit, your tech will:
Check for Electrical Issues: Electrical problems are one of the most common culprits when it comes to a repair call, but having regular maintenance can nip these potentially costly problems in the bud. Your technician will give your system’s electrical connections a thorough test to make sure they’re functional, and check your compressor’s amperage at startup to make sure your system is getting the right amount of power. They’ll also tighten any loose wiring, and double-check that your capacitors, contacts, and relays are functioning properly and don’t need to be replaced. Worn components have to work harder, reducing efficiency and costing you money.
Clean the Coils and Condensate Lines: Your AC unit has two coils: an indoor evaporator coil to absorb heat from your home, and an outdoor condenser coil to disperse it. Dirty coils can reduce system efficiency by slowing the heat exchange, so your tech will clean them thoroughly to keep things humming. They’ll also make sure the condensation created by cooling the air is draining properly, cleaning and replacing any hoses or ports as needed.
Evaluate and Adjust Your Coolant: Your AC system uses a specific amount of refrigerant to function properly; low levels can reduce efficiency, increasing the time it takes to cool your home, and even create potential compressor issues. The technician will inspect and adjust your coolant levels and pressure to ensure peak performance.
Perform Routine Motor Maintenance: Maintaining the motors that drives the fans in your AC unit is a key part of keeping you cool and happy during the sizzling San Antonio summers. Proper lubrication is very important, since a slow-running fan takes longer to cool distribute cool air throughout your home and can cost you money by forcing your system to run for longer periods. Your tech will inspect your blower fans and oil them as needed, as well as checking and adjusting the belts and blades.
Clean, Replace, and Treat Your Filters: Debris and dirt can clog a filter, making your system work harder and reducing its ability to cool effectively. Depending on the type of filter your system uses, your tech will replace or clean it. They may also treat it with an anti-microbial spray to help keep the air you breathe as healthy as it is cool and refreshing.
Tweak the Thermostat: Did you know that setting your thermostat even one or two degrees lower each day can lead to a noticeable difference in your electric bill? Of course, in order to take advantage of these adjustments, you’ll need a properly functioning thermostat. Not only does a well-calibrated thermostat help improve system efficiency, but it can also help prevent costly compressor damage that might occur if worn wiring or an inaccurate temperature read causes your system to “hard start” needlessly. The technician will inspect your thermostat and calibrate it as needed, and double-check your cooling cycles to make sure you have proper control over how your system cools, and when.
Tuning up your AC unit is an essential part of summer life for Texans. By calling on your friendly neighborhood HVAC experts, you can help make sure all the parts of your system are working together to provide tip-top performance—and save you some cool cash, too.