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  • Writer's pictureRob Mitchell

Do I really need my air conditioner serviced?

Updated: Jan 10

Not necessarily. If your air conditioner is less than 5 years old, and not showing any signs of trouble, it may not need to be serviced.

However, you should do some maintenance on your own. Ensure the filter is being changed on a regular basis. Check the outdoor condenser and its surroundings for adequate airflow. Dirt, leaves, cottonwood seeds and grass trimmings can be a real problem. If necessary, gently rinse off the condenser using a garden hose on a gentle setting. DON’T blast it with the hose on a high setting or you’ll bend the fins that allow airflow to cool the condenser off. It is also helpful to give the unit at least two feet of clear space, free of foliage, large rocks, or lawn furniture.

We recommend that you test run your air conditioner the first warm day of the season to determine if any maintenance or repairs might be needed before the hotter days of summer arrive.

Air Conditioner

There are some advantages to having your air conditioner serviced. Proper maintenance will make your cooling system run more efficiently, lowering your energy consumption and cost. Regular maintenance can help reduce equipment wear and tear and extend the life of your system. If small issues can be discovered during regular maintenance checks, they can usually be fixed quickly and inexpensively. Letting small issues go unnoticed might allow them to turn into bigger problems that require more extensive repairs or even complete system replacement.

Sometimes an air conditioner just breaks down without any warning. But often there are signs ahead of time that something is wrong. Here are some common early warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore.

(1) Air is blowing but it is not cold

First check the thermostat. Make sure that the temperature in the house is warmer than the temperature setting on the thermostat. Next, check your thermostat to confirm that it is set to the cooling mode and the fan is set to auto, not on. If the thermostat is correctly set and the air is just not as cold as it used to be – your system may need repair. This could be the result of ductwork leakage, condenser issues or a low refrigerant level.

(2) Insufficient airflow

The air is cold but barely moving. Sufficient air may not be moving through the ductwork for a number of reasons ranging from a dirty air filter, clogged or leaking ductwork, faulty fan control board or a failing blower motor.

(3) Moisture or fluid in strange places

Your system is designed to remain dry at all times, otherwise mold and mildew in your system and home could result. If you notice moisture or fluid, your system may have a blocked or broken condensate drain, or it could be leaking refrigerant. Addressing this problem quickly is in your best interest.

(4) Bizarre sounds

Most air conditioners make low-level noise when they start up and shut down. Louder than normal operation – especially metallic screeching, grinding or banging noises – indicate something wrong.

(5) Strange odors

Strange odors can arise from a variety of issues. a musty smell may indicate there is mold somewhere inside of the unit or the ductwork. A burning plastic smell may be the result of an electrical problem. Critters, such as bugs and even small rodents, can make their way into your air conditioning system. If they die inside, they can give off a nasty odor.

(6) Thermostat issues

Sometimes your air conditioning system is not the problem – it’s your thermostat. The thermostat is your HVAC system’s brain. Your thermostat must be accurate and communicating properly with your air conditioning unit. If it is not working correctly, it might need to be recalibrated, reprogrammed or replaced.

(7) Higher electric bills

Your air conditioner is the largest consumer of energy in your home. If it was operating fine last season, but this year’s energy bills have increased significantly, you might want to have your air conditioning system looked over. According to Angi “an unserviced AC loses 5% efficiency per year and uses more energy, which will cost you more in energy bills.”

The amount that you use your air conditioning unit is an important factor in how frequently you should have it serviced. If you are seeing signs your air conditioner might be ready for a service call, let us know. We will be happy to come out and give it a tune-up.

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