It’s Time for Your A/C Tune-Up
Posted: October 25, 2015
The sweltering Florida heat is giving way to more temperate weather here in Brevard County, and that means it’s time to start thinking about a fall air conditioner tune-up, especially if you didn’t have your system tuned up last spring.
The U.S. Department of Energy likes to point out that a neglected air conditioner typically costs up to 25 percent more to operate than a well maintained system. If you actually do the math, you may be surprised at how much money you could be saving by investing in a once- or twice-yearly A/C tuneup.
WHY DO YOU NEED A TUNE-UP?
The average southern Florida homeowner runs the air conditioner for 2,800 hours every year. If you drove your car for 2,800 hours every year and didn’t tune it up, how efficient would it be? Not very. Same goes with the air conditioner.
Over time, dust that gets into your system builds up on the evaporator coil in the indoor unit and acts as insulation, reducing its ability to absorb heat and remove humidity. Buildup of dust, dirt, and debris on the outdoor coil prevents it from optimally transferring heat from the refrigerant to the outdoors. Dust buildup on the blower fan reduces airflow, and dust and debris in the condensate drain can cause clogs that may result in water backing up and shutting down your system.
In addition to the problem of dust, a neglected air conditioner will begin to experience other problems. Lubricant dries up, resulting in friction, and the constant vibrations of the unit loosen electrical connections and the bolts that keep everything in place. The optimal operation of each component of your air conditioner requires the optimal operation of the others in order to maintain efficiency, and keeping all of the parts in good working order will prevent the compounding of problems that eventually leads to the need for a new system.
BENEFITS OF THE ANNUAL TUNE-UP
The benefits of maintaining your air conditioner are many, but the bottom line is that an air conditioner tune-up saves you a lot of money in the long run, and not just on your electric bills.
Extended Operating Life
A clean and well-maintained air conditioner will last upwards of 20 to 25 years or more, while a severely neglected system will probably go kaput after ten years or so. Annual maintenance extends the life of your air conditioner, which means you don’t have to drop several grand on a replacement every decade.
Fewer Repair Bills
The annual tune-up also saves you a considerable amount of money on repairs. Once something goes wrong with your air conditioner, other problems typically follow, just like with your car. Regular maintenance prevents most of the common operating problems, including problems with airflow and dust buildup on the coils as well as loose housings that cause gross inefficiency and ridiculously loud banging, clanging, and knocking.
Higher Comfort Level
The whole point of having an air conditioner is to make your life more comfortable. But a neglected air conditioner will not only cost you more money, but it will also fail to keep you as comfortable as it should, which means you’ll spend even more extra money on electricity when run the system harder to maintain the level of comfort you require.
Better Personal and Environmental Health
National Geographic cites the neglected air conditioner as a health hazard in the home and a major contributor to high carbon emissions into the environment. During a tune-up, your technician will examine the system for dust, rust, mold, and other contaminants and clean it up, and the overall increased energy efficiency after a tune-up has obvious benefits for the environment.
WHAT A TUNE-UP INCLUDES
During the tune-up, your technician will clean and lubricate the motor and other moving parts as well as tighten electrical connections and apply a nonconductive coating to the terminals. We give your system a thorough once-over, including inspecting the wires, belts, bolts, and ducts; testing the airflow, thermostat, heat strip, and system controls; measuring the refrigerant level, amperage, voltage, and temperature split; cleaning the coils, fan, and other components; and flushing the condensate drain.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Between tune-ups, you can keep your system running like new by performing two critical monthly tasks.
First, inspect your air filter and replace it when it’s caked with dust. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can lead to overheating and related damage. A dirty filter also reduces your indoor air quality and allows dust to enter the system more easily.
Secondly, hose down your outdoor unit to remove dirt and debris from the metal fins. Straighten any bent fins with a special fin comb to ensure adequate airflow for optimal heat transfer, and keep plant growth at least 18 inches away from the unit.
If you’re ready to schedule your annual A/C tuneup with one of our highly qualified technicians and start saving money on your cooling costs, feel free to contact us today at Brevard Cooling and Heating, proudly serving our neighbors in Brevard County and beyond.