If your AC unit appears to be working great, you might think you don’t need to perform annual maintenance. However, experts recommend scheduling maintenance on your AC unit at least once a year. The truth is, AC maintenance is kind of like going to the dentist—it often feels unnecessary, but it can catch serious problems before they become, well, serious problems.
While the final decision on how often to perform maintenance is up to the individual homeowner, there are several benefits to annual maintenance that might help you decide whether AC maintenance is the right choice for you.
In this blog, we’ll cover:
What’s the Point of AC Maintenance?
AC maintenance not only gives you peace of mind your AC will make it through another long, hot southern California summer, but it also saves you money in 3 key ways:
- AC maintenance increases the lifespan of your AC unit
- It prevents unexpected, costly repairs
- It maintains the efficiency of your AC unit
Cost Saving Factor #1: Maintenance Increases the Lifespan of your AC Unit
According to Energy Saver, ACs should last 15–20 years. Regular AC maintenance can ensure you get the full lifespan out of your unit by keeping all components in tip-top shape.
While an AC tune-up will be a small yearly expense, when you consider how much it would cost to replace your AC (between $4,000 and $9,000, on average), it’s clear investing in maintenance is more cost-effective in the long run.
Cost Saving Factor #2: Maintenance Prevents Costly Repairs
In general, it’s cheaper to fix a part than to replace it. Regular AC maintenance gives an HVAC professional an opportunity every year to catch problems before they escalate to the point where parts—or your entire unit—need to be replaced.
Additionally, regular maintenance is often required to keep your AC manufacturer’s warranty valid. The cost to repair an AC is typically between $300 and $800, but if you fail to keep your warranty terms, the price could be much higher.
Cost Saving Factor #3: Maintenance Keeps Your AC Unit Running Efficiently
Studies show regular maintenance can decrease HVAC energy costs by as much as 40%. If your AC unit is clogged with dust and debris, it’s going to have to work harder to cool your home, resulting in a higher monthly energy bill.
When to Schedule Maintenance
Experts agree that AC maintenance should be performed at least once a year, ideally in the spring. Spring is the ideal time to have a professional check out your AC unit for several reasons:
- Efficiency. Your AC unit has been inactive all winter, causing dust, dirt, and debris to accumulate on the parts. An HVAC professional can clean out your unit to ensure it’s working at peak efficiency throughout the summer season.
- Part repair/replacement. In southern California, it’s critical you have a working AC during the warmer months. AC maintenance in the spring can ensure your AC will make it through the summer without breaking down. Additionally, if it’s determined a part repair or replacement is necessary during a maintenance inspection, repairs can occur in the spring before temperatures heat up.
While annual AC maintenance is a good rule of thumb, it’s also beneficial to schedule maintenance if you notice anything unusual with your AC unit—for example, if it seems to be taking longer to cool your home or if your energy bill is increasing. As discussed above, these signs may indicate your AC unit is not running very efficiently, which could result in increased energy usage or risk of a breakdown.
How to Perform AC Maintenance
We recommend scheduling an appointment with an HVAC professional; however, there are several easy ways to maintain your AC unit yourself.
One of the most simple and effective steps you can take to maintain your AC unit is to replace your air filter every 1–2 months. This simple step not only helps to keep your AC running efficiently by preventing debris from accumulating in your unit, but it also helps to maintain your home’s air quality. A clean air filter can capture more dust and dirt from your home’s air when your AC unit runs.
Another easy way to maintain your AC yourself is to regularly clean your AC’s air coils, coil fins, and condensate drain.
While DIY maintenance is a great first step, professional maintenance is still encouraged to spot potential problems and keep your AC running smoothly. Our 16-point maintenance tune-up involves an inspection of your AC’s electrical components, refrigerant levels, and airflow—all in under an hour!