How you care for the air conditioner in your Wilmington, NC home has an impact on your indoor air quality (IAQ), your comfort, and your spending. Well-maintained air conditioners offer reliable, efficient performance. They also last a lot longer than neglected ACs and provide better returns on investment. The following is the recommended frequency for AC maintenance.

Routine Filter Changes

Your HVAC air filter extracts pet hair, dust, lint, carpet fibers, and more. It filters indoor air as it’s drawn into your cooling system so that these particulates don’t wind up in your ducting or in your air handler and on your AC evaporator coil. With each cooling cycle, it minimizes the amount of allergens and contaminants floating throughout your home. HVAC manufacturers recommend you inspect your air filter once each month and replace it every 30 to 90 days.

How Dirty Air Filters Impact AC Performance

Built-up filter debris makes it increasingly difficult for your air conditioner to draw air in. When you skip or delay filter changes, your air conditioner works harder to keep your home cool. Dirty air filters and the resulting airflow problems can lead to increased indoor moisture, a damp, muggy environment, and unpleasant AC odors. If you wait too long to change your air filter, collected debris could cause your air conditioner to short cycle or overheat.

While HVAC air filters provide modest indoor air quality (IAQ) benefits, they primarily exist to maintain ideal operating conditions for HVAC equipment. Thus, not only do HVAC manufacturers recommend monthly filter inspections and as-needed filter changes, but they also require them. If your air conditioner is still covered by its manufacturer’s warranty, staying on top of filter changes will keep you compliant with this mutually binding agreement.

How to Know When Your Filter Is Ready for Replacement

In some households, waiting 90 days between filter replacements works well. In others, three months without a fresh filter leads to poor AC performance and a host of IAQ and humidity-related problems. This is why homeowners are advised to pull their filters out for monthly assessments.

When performing a monthly filter inspection, hold your filter up to the light. If light can still pass through your air filter’s mesh, air can pass through it as well.

Annual AC Tune-up Service

Annual air conditioner tune-up service entails a thorough, end-to-end assessment of your entire cooling system. During these visits, our technicians test and calibrate thermostats, check exposed air ducts for perforations, loose connections, and other air leaks, and inspect indoor air handlers and outdoor condenser units. We run rigorous performance tests to ensure the safety and integrity of all components. We also clean cooling equipment both inside and out and replace loose, missing, or worn parts.

Annual AC maintenance service is a common requirement for warranty compliance. Most air conditioners come with two- to five-year limited parts warranties and 10- to 12-year compressor warranties. These agreements cover the costs of replacements and repairs when AC problems are the result of defective parts, substandard workmanship, or faulty assembly. If you aren’t scheduling professional tune-up service year, your AC manufacturer could void your warranty outright. Even if your warranty isn’t canceled due to non-compliance, inconsistent maintenance and no maintenance at all can also lead to frustrating claims denials or lengthy claims delays.

What to Expect When Having Your Air Conditioner Tuned Up

We use a detailed AC maintenance checklist when performing annual tune-up service. This list complies with the common, basic requirements of AC manufacturer warranties and includes:

  • Blower motor testing and cleaning
  • Evaporator and condenser coil cleaning
  • Lubrication of all moving parts
  • AC condensate drain cleaning
  • AC capacitor testing

We also balance blower fan blades, check for pest infestations in ducting and in the outdoor condenser unit, and verify the stability of the condenser’s underlying concrete or composite pad among other things.

Why Professional Tune-up Service Is Important

The requirement for annual AC maintenance in manufacturer warranties stipulates that this maintenance must be provided by a licensed HVAC company. Because central air conditioners represent a significant investment for homeowners, every cooling system needs and deserves model-specific service from skilled, qualified technicians.

Air conditioners are hardwired into residential electrical systems. Part of annual AC maintenance is testing the integrity of all electrical contacts and assessing the performance of circuits and circuit breakers. For those who lack training, these and other annual maintenance tasks pose the risk of electrocution. Moreover, for some AC components, even simply opening their housing and tampering with their moving parts can automatically void warranty agreements.

When Is the Best Time to Schedule Annual AC Maintenance?

The best time to schedule your annual AC tune-up service is in mid to late spring. This will prime your air conditioner for the challenges of the summer season while allowing our technicians to identify and resolve existing or developing problems before they spiral out of control. Scheduling AC tune-ups in springtime is a great way to avoid mid-season cooling emergencies and ensure modest, manageable energy bills.

HVAC Air Duct Maintenance

While part of annual AC tune-up service is assessing and testing the integrity of HVAC ducting, this doesn’t constitute annual maintenance for your ductwork. If you didn’t schedule HVAC air duct maintenance when having your furnace tuned up, it’s important to do so in spring. These visits rule out pest infestations, structural damage, and other problems that impact air distribution and overall AC performance.

Regular Duct Cleaning to Optimize AC Performance

According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), it’s also a good idea to have your air ducts regularly cleaned. The NADCA’s recommended schedule for HVAC air duct cleaning is once every two to three years.

However, if your IAQ is consistently high and if you’re up to date with all other AC maintenance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that scheduling duct cleaning as needed should suffice. You should always schedule these services after treating a pest infestation, as part of mold mitigation, and following any fire or other event that introduces high-concentrations of contaminants into your indoor air.

Caring for Your Outdoor Condenser Unit

In addition to performing regular filter changes, you should also keep the area around your outdoor condenser unit clean. All AC condensers need at least two feet of clearance on all sides. Throughout the spring and summer seasons, these components are often encroached upon by fast-growing weeds, shrubs, and grass. You can avoid airflow issues at your condenser by checking its perimeter monthly when performing HVAC air filter changes. In winter, you can proactively stave off impact-related condenser damage by having any overhead trees topped and properly maintaining your roof.

Residents of Wilmington, NC can count on us for top-notch home comfort solutions. We offer exceptional furnace, heat pump, and AC services. We also provide new ductwork, ductless mini-split systems, smart thermostats, and cutting-edge indoor air quality improvements.

Get in touch with Green Dot Heating & Air today to establish the perfect AC maintenance schedule for your home! Ask us about our comfort club!

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