Save Money and Enjoy More Comfort with an A/C Tune-Up
Chances are, you don’t give much thought to your air conditioner during the summer unless it malfunctions. And when it does, chances are, you’ll have to wait several days for a technician or pay an astronomical after-hours rate.
Summers keep us busy at Vredevoogd Heating & Cooling. Most of the calls we get are for emergency repairs, and most of the repairs fall into the same few categories. The bad news is that even common operating problems can be expensive to fix. The good news is that an annual air conditioner tune-up goes a long way toward preventing these fairly simple problems that can leave you sweating and sweltering until repairs can be made.
How an A/C Tune-Up Saves You Money
Heating and cooling your home accounts for about half your annual energy bill. Regular air conditioner maintenance can save you a considerable amount of money by improving energy efficiency, preventing costly repairs, and extending the operating life of your air conditioner.
Improved energy efficiency. A neglected air conditioner may use up to 25 percent more energy than a well-maintained unit. Over time, dust builds up on the essential components of your system, including the coils and blower assembly. Electrical connections loosen, lubrication dries up, and belts weaken. All of these issues reduce efficiency and increase the risk of a breakdown.
Fewer costly repairs. Even a minor air conditioner problem can be an expensive fix. According to a recent HomeAdvisor survey, the typical range of A/C repair costs is $164 to $508, with the national average sitting at $326.(1)
Longer A/C operating life. A neglected air conditioner may last just ten years or less, while a properly maintained system can last upwards of 20. Air conditioner replacement is a major expense, and getting the most out of your current system by keeping it in top condition can prevent the need for a premature replacement.
The Most Common A/C Problems
Dirt and neglect are two of the top causes of HVAC inefficiency and failure, according to the EPA.(2) A study by the North Carolina Alternative Energy Corp found that 90 percent of tested A/C units had a problem that led to wasted energy. The most common problems include:
Improper refrigerant charge or a refrigerant leak. A recent study found that 75 percent of installed air conditioners are improperly charged with coolant. An under-charge of just 20 percent can double your cooling bills. Refrigerant leaks are bad for your system, your pocketbook, and the environment.
Dirty filter. A dirty air filter can reduce the efficiency of your system by 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.(3) A dirty filter reduces airflow and makes your system work harder to keep you cool, and it allows dust to build up on essential components, reducing efficiency and increasing the risk of premature failure.
Dirty coils. Dust and grime build-up on the coils in your A/C reduces its cooling powers and makes it work overtime to keep you cool. This leads to higher energy bills and more wear and tear, which in turn causes other operating problems.
Electric control failure. Keeping the compressor and fan controls in tip top shape is essential for preventing serious electric control failure. Corrosion of wires and terminals in your system increases the risk of electric failure, as do loose electrical connections and dirty contacts.
Clogged condensate drain. As your air conditioner removes humidity from your home, the resulting condensation is drained through a hose connected to your unit. If the condensate drain is clogged, water will leak out of the unit and may damage your walls and floors. A clogged drain can also lead to a system shutdown.
What to Expect from a Tune-Up
A comprehensive A/C tune-up by a skilled technician is far less expensive than any repair, and it’s an excellent investment with high returns. During your tune-up, our knowledgeable technicians perform a number of tasks, including:
• Measuring the refrigerant charge and checking for leaks.
• Tightening electrical connections and applying a non-conductive coating to prevent corrosion.
• Lubricating the moving parts to prevent friction.
• Testing the electric controls.
• Inspecting belts and bearings.
• Inspecting the ductwork for leaks and loose seals.
• Measuring airflow to ensure proper cooling.
• Testing the thermostat for accuracy.
• Inspecting the coils, blower assembly, and other essential components for damage and dust buildup.
If it’s been a while since your air conditioner was tuned up, give us a call today at Vredevoogd Heating & Cooling. With a little Vredevoogd TLC, your system will last longer, cool better, and cost less to operate.