You should have your AC serviced at least once per year to make sure it continues running efficiently and to spot any problems before they become worse. But how much will that cost you?
Typically, annual AC maintenance in California will cost anywhere from $75 to $200. However, you may pay less or more depending on several factors, like:
To help you budget and plan for your annual AC maintenance, we’ll explore each of these factors in more detail. But first, let’s look at what typical AC maintenance includes so you know what you’re paying for.
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What does annual AC maintenance include?
Spending a few hundred dollars on AC maintenance every year may seem pricey if you don’t know what you’re paying for. However, servicing your AC annually is important because it helps you avoid costly surprise repairs, reduces your energy costs, and extends the lifespan of your system.
Here’s what a typical AC tune-up includes:
- Check thermostat settings: Checking the accuracy of your thermostat will ensure your cooling system is working properly and is set to an ideal setting that keeps you cool and saves you money.
- Inspect all electrical components: Checking your AC for any faulty electrical connections and tightening all the connections will guarantee that your AC system operates safely. It will also extend its overall lifespan.
- Lubricate moving parts: Properly lubricating all AC parts reduces any extra friction, lowering your electricity usage and saving you money.
- Inspect condensate drain: Checking the condensate drain for clogs will prevent water damage due to backups and leaks. It will also keep indoor humidity levels in check so your home stays comfortable year-round.
- Check system controls: Inspecting the system controls regularly will ensure your AC turns on, operates, and shuts off properly and safely.
- Clean the evaporator and condenser coils: Keeping these essential AC parts clean will help your AC system run efficiently (and less often). It will also save you money in the long run by reducing your energy costs and increasing the lifespan of your system.
- Check and adjust refrigerant levels: Too much or too little refrigerant will make your AC less energy-efficient. An HVAC professional can measure and adjust as necessary to enhance the performance of your system.
- Clean and adjust blower components: According to energystar.gov, airflow problems can reduce your AC’s efficiency by up to 15 percent. Cleaning and adjusting its blower components will allow proper airflow, which will save you money and keep your home comfortable.
Cost factor #1: If you need to recharge your AC refrigerant
Recharging your AC’s refrigerant can cost $100 to $350 but you won’t need to do it every single year.
Refrigerant is a substance that is used in your air conditioner. It absorbs heat from the air inside your home and carries it outside via refrigerant lines. The amount of refrigerant in your AC stays at the same level for its entire lifespan. That is, unless there is a leak or damage that causes its level (or charge) to drop. If an AC continually operates with low refrigerant, it won’t cool your home very well and the compressor may be damaged.
If, during an annual AC tune-up, an HVAC professional determines that your AC refrigerant levels are low, he or she will likely recommend a refrigerant (freon) charge to keep your system functioning at its best. And since low refrigerant is caused by leaks or damage, you’ll need to anticipate paying for any necessary repairs too. (Keep reading for more details on repair costs.)
Cost factor #2: If you need to repair or replace parts
An annual tune-up may uncover larger problems within your AC system. These repairs can cost anywhere from $200 to $800 or more, depending on the issue.
According to Energy.gov, some of the most common air conditioner problems include:
- Refrigerant leaks: A certified technician will need to fix the leak and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant. This can cost $200 to $1,500.
- Dirty coils: Dirty coils are often caused by a lack of maintenance. The excess dirt and grime keep the AC from working properly and may also damage the compressor or fans inside the system. Replacing a condenser coil can cost $1,900 to $2,900.
- Electric control failure: Sometimes, the compressor and fan controls can wear out if the AC turns on and off frequently. Repairing the outdoor fan motor can cost $200 to $650 and replacing a compressor can cost around $1,900.
- Sensor problems: The thermostat sensor can sometimes get knocked out of position, which can make an AC kick on and off constantly or behave strangely. Replacing any breakers, relays or fuses can cost $75 to $290.
- Drainage problems: If the condensate drain gets clogged, it won’t drain properly. Flushing the drain line can cost $75 to $250, replacing the condensate drain tube can cost $20 and replacing the drain pump can cost $240 to $450.
Certain factors can also increase or decrease the cost of AC repairs and replacement parts, such as:
- The age of your air conditioner
- The air conditioner’s efficiency and size
- Maintenance history
- The extent of the damage
An HVAC technician can give you an accurate assessment of your anticipated repair costs once they take a look at your system.
Cost factor #3: If you have a preventative maintenance package
HVAC maintenance plans can range from $150 to $500 per year but they can save you time and money on your annual HVAC inspections.
Many contractors offer HVAC maintenance packages that include things like scheduled service reminders, maintenance documentation, priority service and discounted pricing. Customers can sign up for these packages and pay a monthly or annual fee to take advantage of these VIP services.
Although paying for an annual maintenance package will cost you more upfront, you’ll likely save money down the road because:
- Your HVAC equipment will last longer.
- Your HVAC equipment will be more energy-efficient (cheaper to operate).
- A technician can identify and correct potential issues before they become more serious and costly.
True Home Heating and Air Conditioning offers an annual maintenance program starting at $199 per year. It gives members access to our exclusive 56-point precision tune-up plus the following advantages:
- Extensive repair discounts
- Air filter swap-outs
- Priority scheduling
- Written maintenance reports
- Periodic specials and promotions
- And more
Cost factor #4: The contractor you choose
Contractors all charge different rates, so whether you have a maintenance plan or not, the cost to have your AC serviced and maintained will vary depending on the contractor you choose.
If a contractor charges rates that are well below the average price, you should be wary. You get what you pay for and a very low price is often a red flag that the work may not be the best quality. On the other hand, experienced HVAC contractors often charge higher rates and provide better quality service. Overall, this will save you time, money, and frustration.
When searching for an HVAC professional, you should make sure that the contractor:
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