As a homeowner you know you need to maintain the equipment in your home, but are you aware that poorly maintained equipment can actually cost you more in both energy use and emergency repairs? In the next few weeks when the temperatures start to rise, your A/C unit is the most likely candidate to break down… but with a little maintenance you can avoid emergencies and keep your A/C unit running efficiently.
Air conditioning units are likely to be neglected until there is a problem, in part because they are outside and are only used a few months of the year. But they can also be one of biggest energy hogs in your home, making them one of the most important to maintain. Every year an A/C unit is neglected, it can lose as much as 5% of its original efficiency, costing you significant amount of money over time.
For example: if you have a 15 SEER A/C unit you purchased 4 years ago and have not had yearly maintenance since it was installed, it can be functioning at the efficiency of a 12 SEER unit! However, A/C units receiving regular check-ups and service can maintain up to 95% of their original efficiency.
Properly maintained air conditioners run better, giving you lower energy costs, help to avoid expensive repairs and do a better job of dehumidifying your home. Having a professionally licensed mechanical technician do yearly maintenance on your air conditioner can save you money and headaches in the long run.
Most good HVAC companies will perform an A/C check up that includes cleaning of the coils, a visual inspection for leaks in the lines, replacing filters, checking your humidifier, measuring refrigerant in the unit and more. Having too much or too little refrigerant in the unit makes the coil work harder than it has to and could potentially cause damage to the coil, ultimately resulting in the need to replace the unit. Also, because of environmental laws the cost of the older R-22 refrigerant is skyrocketing, so it is more important than ever to keep your older AC unit properly maintained. (See my article for more info on R-22 refrigerant.)
Regular maintenance also greatly reduces the chance that an air conditioning unit will break down unexpectedly. Which is always stressful and can be costly. Having yearly service performed by a professional licensed mechanical technician is a minor investment compared to higher energy bills and the stress and expense of emergency service on a 90 degree day! By doing this little thing, you will help keep your family safe and comfortable all summer long.