Do I need to service my air conditioner every year?

Technician working on an air conditioning unit.

Taking Care of Your Air Conditioning

Summers in North Carolina can be beautiful and brutal all at the same time. With over 300 miles of beach coastline, the beauty is endless looking out over The Atlantic Ocean. With that beauty comes salty moist air, making it humid and a must to have good air conditioning. Inspection of your air conditioning is important in this part of the country, or you may find yourself moist from sweat too! 

So what is the difference between an air conditioner or air conditioning? You’ve heard it referred to both ways, and probably have used both yourself. The difference is that the phrase ‘air conditioner’ is a reference to the machine that cools a room. Air conditioning is a reference to what the air conditioner does. But when it comes to repairs and air conditioning inspection in Charlotte, NC, these little details may not matter so much when you’re hot. 

Is an AC tune-up necessary?

The air conditioning systems of today are highly sophisticated compared to those of yesteryears. While they can provide years of reliable service, routine maintenance and upkeep are necessary, like annual air conditioning inspection and checkup by a professional. Many manufacturers will require this to keep your warranty valid, as somewhat of an incentive. 

How often should AC be serviced?

As we just mentioned, in general, you should schedule your air conditioning inspection twice a year with a professional air conditioner or HVAC technician. With two annual air conditioning inspections, a technician can catch any possible issues that may become a non-working air conditioning problem. 

Some companies will offer a free air conditioner inspection for the first call. You’ll pay for any parts and repairs it may need then, and this will get your system up to spec and ready for a maintenance program. With a maintenance program, the twice a year air conditioning inspection should include the following items with an air conditioner inspection checklist something of this nature: 

  • Test the thermostat
  • Check wiring 
  • Inspect all components and connections
  • Inspect supply registers and return vents
  • Clean any blockages 
  • Check and replace air filter
  • Clean and flush drain line and drain pan
  • Test all safety controls
  • Clean and inspect condensate pump where applicable
  • Inspect and test capacitors and contactors, replace as needed
  • Clean condenser coil
  • Inspect all lines and coils
  • Test and inspect compressor, condenser fan motor, and blower motor 
  • Inspect and check refrigerant, recharge if needed after check if air conditioner is leaking and other issues
  • Clean and inspect evaporator coil
  • Test airflow
  • Inspect ductwork for air leaks and kinks, repair or replace as necessary

How long does an AC unit last?

A quality air conditioning system that is professionally installed and well maintained can have a lifespan up to 15 years or longer. There are various factors that can affect the lifespan of an air conditioning, inspections being one of the key factors. Other factors include: 

  • Air Filter: The air filter should be changed, or cleaned if yours are reusable, every 30 days at a minimum. This is the key factor that every homeowner can maintain that helps extend the life of your air conditioning. Inspections often find clogged, dirty filters and simply replacing it with a new one, the system is blowing better and colder. 
  • Location: Where the air conditioning system is located is another important factor in the lifespan of the system. The coils and filter will get dirty faster in dry arid climates, thus needing cleaning and replacing more frequently. A humid climate will often create the need to change the thermostat more frequently. This can be eased with a programmable thermostat and an upgrade with the addition of a humidifier to the air conditioning system or even stand-alone humidifiers in each room. 
  • Operation: An air conditioning unit that operates 24/7/365 will have a shorter lifespan as this increases the wear and tear of the unit. If you need to keep your system running all day/night, every day/night you should schedule your air conditioning inspection twice yearly and change your air filter twice a month. 
  • Exterior Component: The component outside your home is just as important as the interior component. Don’t wait for your annual air conditioning inspection to have it checked. A visual check by you once a week to pull away any grass and weeds growing up around it and remove any debris and trash that has blown up against it. If the unit is exposed to sun all day, check out having a cover built over it that will protect it from the sun and other elements can help it run less, easing the strain on your energy bill. 

How much does it cost to replace an AC unit?

There is no argument that replacing an air conditioning system is a costly investment. The key word to that statement is “investment” and with that in mind, you want to get the best equipment you can afford. 

A replacement central air conditioning system can range from $5,000 up to $12,000. How large of a unit you purchase is the biggest factor as well as the brand. Another part of the cost is the installation. 

Young woman turning on air conditioning system.

At The End Of The Day … Is An Air Conditioning Inspection Worthwhile? 

When you call around asking different companies, “How much does AC tune up cost?”, you’ll probably have a little sticker shock. If your system is an existing older unit, the air conditioning inspection can cost upward of $200 or more. Pricing will vary based on the type and size of the system, the size of your home, the age of your system, and various other factors.

What you need to keep in mind is that replacing the unit will cost you much more than the basic air conditioning inspection and it will minimize the possibility of emergency breakdowns. For more information on air conditioning inspection in Charlotte, NC, reach out to the All Climate Heating and Cooling team by calling 704-964-8375.