What Does AC Service Include?
With temperatures in the 80s and 90s and high humidity levels in the spring, summer and fall, Houston can feel a little stifling. Even so, residents and visitors alike enjoy the city’s enviable lifestyle with an average of 204 sunny days a year. We love getting outside and feeling the sunshine!
That said, if you live here, you also know how essential it is to have a cool home where you can chill after spending time in the heat.
Did your air conditioner rise to the occasion on the hottest days this summer, or did it limp along struggling to keep your home comfortable? For the cooling system that gets routine AC service, keeping up with the heat is all in a day’s work.
Read on to find out why AC maintenance matters so much, and what you should expect when your HVAC service technician arrives at your home for your regular service appointment.
Why is the AC inspection essential?
First things first, the most critical component of HVAC service is the inspection. We also call this an AC tune-up or AC check-up. Think of the inspection as a review of the heating and cooling system in your home. It’s also a test of your HVAC equipment, and if applicable, will include your whole-home air purification system.
Many homeowners assume AC maintenance means changing the air filter and cleaning the outside unit to ensure it’s free from obstructions. While that’s part of it, you’ll also appreciate the fact that your tech does a thorough check of the moving parts along with safety checks.
Without an inspection, you won’t know whether the components of the HVAC system are clean and in good enough condition to prevent safety hazards. Many times small repairs can be identified early before they cause larger, more expensive issues.
Throughout the cooling season, both the indoor and outdoor AC units and your ductwork work hard. They can accumulate dust and debris in some areas. Clogged air filters, for example, are a big cause of AC service calls.
Pests can inflict damage without your ever knowing about it, and power surges, especially in the summer, can wear out electrical parts. Weather can definitely impact the condition of your HVAC system. Don’t forget time—age has a way of causing wear and tear even on the most reliable air conditioners.
Beyond detecting safety issues, inspections often reveal parts that may still work but are close to the end of their useful service life. We’ve all heard the old saying — an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure —your HVAC inspection is the best way to prevent small issues from becoming costly problems.
What to expect during an AC service check-up
We’ve already touched on air filters and elimination of dust and dirt, but there’s more to AC service. Each HVAC company uses its own process, but generally, you can expect the technician to check the following AC components:
- Thermostat calibration
- Equipment condition
- Blower components
- Air handler / furnace
- Electrical connections
- Condenser and evaporator coils
- Safety controls
- Refrigerant pressure
- Drip pan and condensate drain lines
When you schedule your HVAC service, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask what your inspection, check-up or tune-up includes. Once they finish, the technician will go over their findings and give you a report, including repair recommendations (if needed) and suggestions to improve performance.
Why regular AC maintenance matters
Going back to how well your AC performed this spring, summer and fall provides at least a partial answer to the question of why you should consider keeping up with maintenance. If your system hummed along and kept you comfortable, it isn’t just luck.
HVAC maintenance scheduled twice a year, in the spring and in the fall means less chance of a surprise breakdown. Who wants to wake up in the middle of a steamy night and realize the AC isn’t working? The same thought process works during the colder months when you rely on the heating components of your system to keep you warm.
When you prioritize routine care for your HVAC system, breakdowns will not impact your comfort the way they do for homeowners who put off scheduling a check-up or fail to see the importance of regular maintenance.
What about AC repairs?
When you schedule AC maintenance, you can expect the services we’ve already mentioned — inspection of equipment and cleaning system components. As far as repairs, those are considered additional services.
Even with routine maintenance, HVAC system parts wear out. In most cases, your technician will be able to replace faulty parts and make repairs the same day they come for your maintenance appointment.
The point of regular AC service is to catch issues early before they cause breakdowns. If your technician finds anything in need of repair or replacement, you’ll have that information and their recommendations before they begin any work.
The critical takeaway is that maintenance twice a year minimizes the number of repairs your system needs, and often gives you time to budget if the technician discovers something that could fail soon.
Age and your cooling system
Heating and cooling system manufacturers continually improve their equipment. They offer higher quality, longer-lasting systems, and with regular care, your AC unit can give you 12 to 15 years of service.
If your AC is older and still cools your home efficiently, count yourself blessed. If you’re not the first owner, it could mean the previous resident understood the impact of keeping the system finely tuned.
At some point, even the most reliable AC unit can no longer keep up with the needs of your household. Age is something your technician will keep an eye on and let you know long beforehand that a replacement is in your future.
When it happens, you’ll want a qualified HVAC company to take care of the replacement and installation of your new air conditioner. They can help you demystify all the options available to make your home comfortable. Will it include a new heat pump, a mini-split AC or a central air and heating system? They can tell you about the latest new features and technology that might make sense.
They should be able to tell you more about the efficiency of the AC systems they recommend. The newest variable speed Carrier systems for example are so much more efficient than a decade ago that replacing your system can actually save you money in the long run. In fact, would it surprise to learn that Carrier offers some of the most efficient HVAC systems (up to 26 SEER in their Infinity system series) on the residential market today?
Once you establish a maintenance relationship with your AC service company, you’ll likely feel like you’re part of the family. That’s something to treasure, especially when you need to replace your cooling system.
Peace of mind and your HVAC maintenance plan
Who doesn’t crave a little peace of mind these days? You might not be able to solve the problems of the world, but when you invest in an HVAC maintenance plan, you can make a difference in the performance and useful life of your heating and cooling system.
With a maintenance plan, you’ll not only know who to call for AC service, but also you’ll have fewer reasons to reach out for unexpected repairs. If we were to offer a list of the most effective AC maintenance tips, having a maintenance plan in place would take the top spot.
AC service with a smile
If you’re searching for reliable AC service in Southwest Houston, Richmond, Katy, and Fulshear, Texas and surrounding areas, Terry’s A/C & Heating is ready to be your trusted partner. Call Summer at (281) 495-7830 to get on the day’s schedule. We perform AC inspections and tune-ups in the spring and heater checks in the fall. We also offer an HVAC maintenance plan to our customers to give them peace of mind. We’d love to welcome you to the family!