A Florida air conditioning system usually has a lifespan of ten years. It may be less if your system is undersized or oversized, not well maintained, or experiences excessive use. An AC tune-up is the best way to check how well the system is working and alert you to potential issues that indicate loss of performance or the need for replacement.
After a long, hot summer, your central air system has done its job and kept you cool and comfortable. An AC tune-up (air conditioner service) is an important measure in making sure your AC unit is in good condition and ready when you need it. What will an AC technician do during an AC tune-up?
Ten Steps in a Tune-Up
All Year Cooling offers a three-point evaluation during any maintenance call, so we’ll check the key components and ensure there are no current problems or signs that things are about to occur. We check the air handler, ductwork, and AC unit. Here are the different things our expert AC technicians evaluate and complete.
The thermostat needs to be functioning correctly. A technician can turn the thermostat on, check that the system is cooling the room properly, and diagnose potential issues. If a new thermostat is needed, you’ll know. Or, a room that’s not cooling properly can indicate issues for the technician to check.
When a system is leaking refrigerant, it can’t do its job capturing hot air and bringing it outside. It also can’t cool the air that’s released inside through ducts and into your rooms. A technician has to determine where and why coolant is leaking.
Sometimes, the original installer hasn’t charged the system correctly. If it’s undercharged or overcharged with coolant, our technicians will address it and ensure the system is properly charged and ready to cool your home.
The electricals in your system need to be secure in order for your AC system to work properly. If the vibrations of the system have loosened any connections, it has to be addressed. Technicians will shut down your system, check the wiring and connections to ensure they’re secure, and tighten anything that seems loose. If contacts are dirty or corroded, they’ll be cleaned or repaired to ensure the transfer of electricity isn’t diminished.
Increased energy bills can be a sign that the capacitor is bad. Air conditioning systems are powered by motors that turn the fan blades to move around the air. When a capacitor isn’t working, it impacts how well the AC works. If the unit is making new noises, it can be a sign that the capacitor is going. You don’t want to put off this inspection and repair as it can lead to your system short-cycling or failing to turn on at all.
- Condenser Coil and Case
The part of the AC that is outside on a pad is the condenser. Inside that unit is the condenser coil that needs to be kept clean of dirt. Cleaning the coils is important. The technician will also check for any leaves, twigs, or issues on or around the case that are blocking the release of warmed air into the environment.
- Evaporator Coil
Head inside to the evaporator and there’s a coil in there too. It also has to be clean. A spray-on cleaner can help clean the coils, if necessary. If there’s a lot of ice build-up, it can help the technician pinpoint other potential issues that have to be inspected and addressed.
- Condensate Drain Tube and Pan
The drain line may get dirty over time. If it is clogged, the condensation has nowhere to go, so it will fill up the pan and can overflow and lead to leaks. If it’s clogged, run white vinegar through it. You might need to let it sit for up to half an hour before flushing it out with water. Bleach can help kill algae and mold growth. A technician has the equipment to thoroughly clean the tubing or to replace it if necessary.
For the cooled air to be moved around the ducts and released into the different rooms in the home, the interior AC unit has a blower. The blower needs to be tested to ensure it’s working properly. It is also cleaned of any dust or grime that’s built up on it.
- Air Filter
You should be replacing your air filter every couple of months, though you may need to change it more often if you have pets or your system runs more often due to warmer temperatures. You should check your filter each month and make sure it’s still okay. Hold it up to light and see how much dust, dander, and hair is in it. If it’s dirty, it’s time to change it.
- System Test
After the AC tune-up is completed, the final step is to power it back up and test it. The ductwork is checked for any problems like holes or cracks. Vent covers are cleaned of any dust or hair that’s blocking air flow. If the ducts are dirty of the air coming out of them smells musty, duct restoration or sealing may be recommended.
The system’s static pressure is tested to check that the airflow is correct. If the airflow is still too low, it could be an indicator that the system is no longer effective and that it’s time for a replacement AC system.
It can take a couple of hours for a thorough AC tune-up. During this time, the AC unit is powered off, so you may want to have some fans blowing if you’re worried about your home heating up. Schedule an AC tune-up for the fall and winter, and you’re less likely to have to deal with your home warming up excessively.
How Do You Know It’s Time?
Your system may not need a yearly tune-up, especially if you take the time to clean your vents and make sure leaves and debris are not covering the outside components. How can you tell if it’s time for air conditioning maintenance?
One of the key indicators is that your utility bills have risen sharply. Electricity rates may increase, but if you’re finding your bills have doubled and rates have only increased by 10%, you can’t ignore the increased energy bills.
Another sign is that your rooms are set to 78º F, but it’s much warmer inside. Your AC seems to be running constantly, but it’s just not cooling rooms enough. You may find that the humidity levels inside your home have increased and the AC isn’t lowering them effectively.
You’re finding your AC is turning on and turning off repeatedly or it’s running and never shutting off. That’s another sign that something isn’t working correctly and that it’s time to have your AC system maintained.
If you’re not sure how to maintain your AC on your own each year, an annual AC tune-up will help extend the life of your system. All Year Cooling’s technicians can help with full AC system reevaluations and ensure your system is working effectively.
If it’s time for a replacement, we’ll offer our advice, and you’re under no obligation to purchase that system from All Year Cooling, though our experts are happy to work with you if you decide to use our AC installation service.