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You may think of a tune-up as simply changing the filter and performing a few quick tests. However, the best tune-ups for your ac should include a lot more than this. You will want to make sure to hire a professional that will perform more than just the basics to not only extend the life of your AC unit but to also make it more energy-efficient as well.

Why are Yearly Tuneups Necessary?

If we are being honest, most homeowners in Champaign, IL have never invested in yearly tuneups for their AC. Instead, they wait for the unit to noticeably decline of effectiveness or even wait for it to break down before calling a technician. This may seem like a perfectly fine strategy, especially if the unit does not seem to break down frequently. However, there are several reasons why a yearly tune-up is always recommended.

Lifespan 

An AC tune-up can actually extend the overall lifespan of the unit. Keep in mind that the average lifespan of an AC unit is somewhere between 10 and 15 years. Many homeowners are frustrated when the unit breaks down on the lower end of this average, or even before the 10 years. However, an AC unit that has had regular tune-ups to help preserve moving parts and prevent damage can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years.

Energy Efficiency

Not only will the system last much longer with regular care and maintenance, but tune-ups will also help the system to run much more efficiently. A unit that is not inhibited by the buildup of dust and debris, and that has parts that are well lubricated, will blow out much colder air while using up much less energy. This is good for the environment and will save money on utilities in the long run as well.

Money Savings

Beyond just the money that can be saved on utility bills each month, having a tuneup scheduled annually will also help to prevent those pricey and unexpected repairs that may be needed. Tune-ups can help to detect the majority of problems before they even become a problem. A few dollars budgeted every month towards an expected maintenance cost is much less of a strain on the wallet than a sudden $500 emergency repair.

There is no question that investing a few dollars in a maintenance plan is the smartest choice for both finances and energy use, but what can you expect from a yearly tune-up and which items are covered by the fee and the yearly cost? Hopefully in the next few paragraphs, we can shed some light on what happens during a typical tune-up and how much to budget per year for the service.

The Tune-up Process for AC Units

At each yearly tune-up, the technician will perform actions that can be separated into two different functions. The first category of actions is “inspections”, which usually involves a series of checks to see if everything is working correctly. The second category of actions is “service and cleaning” which involves making needed changes in the unit to help it to run better.

Inspections

There are many checks that a technician can do to ensure the proper functionality of the unit. The technician will first perform a basic evaluation to determine the overall status of the unit. They will then begin to evaluate individual components and functions.

One of the most important parts of the inspection is the safety checks to make sure that the system is safe. This involves checking all of the electrical components and connections to make sure that the wiring is in good condition and connected properly to the unit. The technician will also check the area around the unit to make sure that there are no fire hazards and that the unit is not obstructed in any way. They will also assess all of the safety controls, such as the high and low-pressure trips, to make sure that they are working properly.

The technician will also spend some time checking the airflow and all of the blower components to ensure that the air is moving freely through the system and working efficiently. This involves checking the blower belt for signs of wear and tear and checking to see how well the blower motor is performing.

Each of the other components in the unit will be inspected as well such as the condenser, evaporator coils, the oil, condensate drains, and the air filter. Usually, the technician will change the filter at this time if needed.

If it is the first time that a tune-up is being performed, and if the unit was installed by a different company, the technician will check to make sure the system was installed properly so as to work at its highest levels. Improper installation can lead to inefficient airflow from leaking ducts or undercharged refrigerant.

Once a relationship between the customer and the air conditioner service company has been established, the technician can begin to monitor the refrigerant pressure of the unit. If the unit is working properly, this usually means that the refrigeration levels are good. Unless there is a leak, the refrigerant levels inside the unit stay the same. A tune-up will include refrigerant pressure checks if necessary.

Supply air is the air that is being blown out from the air conditioner into the home through a vent. Return air is the air that is sucked in through the return vent to then be cooled and blown out again. When it comes to a tune-up, there is a normal range for the temperature difference between the return air and the supply air. This number usually referred to as the Delta T, is typically between 16F and 22F. Technicians will check the Delta T as part of the regular maintenance tune-up.

Finally, the technician will recalibrate the thermostat if necessary, check the starter, and do another overall check for system operation. They will then move on to the service and cleaning part of the tune-up.

Service and Cleaning 

After the system has been inspected, it is time for the technician to perform the needed service and cleaning steps. One of the most basic parts of the tune-up is to change the filter. Depending on the maintenance plan, the price of the filter may even be included in the price of the tune-up. You can always ask before the appointment to see if this is the case.

An AC unit will always last longer and work better when all of the moving parts inside the system are well lubricated. This keeps constant friction from wearing out the moving parts and causing damage and the need for repair over time. Some models need lubrication of the motor and fan, and others do not.

Certain portions of the unit will need to be cleaned regularly for optimal performance. The technician will clean the condensate drain as well as the condenser coils. They will also do a thorough cleaning of all of the blower components. Dust and other debris can collect and can cause the unit to either stop running efficiently or lead to a major repair. A blower that has not been cleaned can even cause a fire hazard and may cause the air in the home to be polluted by dust and other allergens.

Loose electrical connections in an AC unit can cause frequent malfunction or faulty operation. Not only this, but a loose connection can be a danger in the home. When our technicians notice a problem with these connections, they have the expertise to fix the connection during one of the annual tune-ups.

Assessment of both the volts and the amps of the system can give you valuable information regarding the energy-efficiency of your system. If you have noticed an increase in your monthly bill, our team can help you to see how well your unit is performing and do everything we can to make it more efficient.

Depending on where you live, the coils of your AC unit may be more at risk of corrosion. High levels of exposure to cooking grease from a restaurant, chemicals from an area of the industry, and saltwater from a nearby body of water can experience this corrosion at a higher level. Even in Champaign, exposure to emissions from vehicles or other common pollutants can cause corrosion. At a tune-up, our team applies protective coatings on the coils to keep this corrosion from happening.

The growth of bacteria and algae on damp surfaces inside the unit can result in contaminated air and can be a threat to your family’s health. Bacteria and algae can also cause blockages that restrict flow and movement. We can apply a biocide treatment which immediately eliminates the problem making the unit run better and be healthier.

Regular Tune-Ups

The years can pass quickly and it is easy to forget to schedule a tune-up for your AC. Thankfully it is easy to remember by investing in a maintenance plan. Most maintenance plans include a yearly tune-up as part of the package, and you will get reminders from the company to schedule the tune-up.

What to Expect from the Pricing

Annual tune-ups can vary in pricing depending upon how many units are being serviced. An average price is around $140 for a tune-up. If you are subscribed to a maintenance plan, you will have an affordable monthly payment that will cover the tune-up as well as provide discounts on other services. Any of these options can help to save a lot of money and trouble in the future.

How Long Does a Tune-Up Take?

A tune-up is a fairly quick process that can be completed in one day. It usually takes between 60-90 minutes, depending on the age of the unit and how much work needs to be done. The technician will usually be working through a checklist that includes all of the standard checks and services. The best technicians will also use this time to inform you of any upcoming repairs or replacements that may be needed within the next couple of years so that you can avoid any surprises.

During the tune-up, the technician may perform replacements of any parts that need to be changed out right away to avoid breakdowns in the future. This may extend the time of the repair, but is greatly worth the time, energy, and money. The best companies will keep you informed throughout the process to let you know what they are fixing or replacing as part of the regular check-up.

By the end of your tune-up, your unit should be running as good as it did on the day it was installed, and perhaps even better if the unit was not installed correctly in the first place. The summer in Champaign can reach temperatures in the upper 80’s so it is important to be prepared. An annual tune-up can ensure that you are ready for the higher temperatures before they even come.

How to Choose a Company for Your Tune-up

When it comes to HVAC, it can be difficult to find a service provider that is more concerned about their customers’ welfare than their own pocketbooks. You want to make sure that you find a company that is not trying to make money off of your bad day. You will want to find a service provider who truly cares about their customers, and who wants each of them to have access to the best in heating and air conditioning without the exorbitant pricing.

When choosing a company, you will want to make sure that they properly screen their technicians and that each of the technicians is certified, background checked and tested for drugs. The company itself should be well-reviewed and experienced. The best companies are those that have been in business for decades.

You should search for a company that has flexible options for an appointment. Many people need their services scheduled for the evening after work or on the weekends. The best companies are available 24/7 to take care of any emergencies and to schedule a tune-up whenever it is convenient for you. Most importantly, find a company that does not charge extra for appointments that are made outside of usual service hours. If a company is willing to take advantage of you in this area, then you can’t trust them in other areas.

When searching for a company, make sure that their services come with a 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed policy. They should be confident enough in their technicians and services to fully stand behind them. If you are not satisfied with the work, you should be able to receive your money back or have the job redone until you are happy with it. Make sure these guarantees are available in written form to protect your assets.

Make sure that the company is comfortable servicing and providing information and advice on all different makes and models of air conditioning units. They may provide recommendations or warn you away from certain models, and they should be thoroughly knowledgeable about different manufacturers and the differences in care that each need.

It is important to choose a company that treats both their customers and their employees with respect and kindness. If the employees are happy working there then this is a good indication that the company can be trusted. Happy employees will do a better job than employees who are not treated well by their employers.

Conclusion

AC tune-ups are extremely important aspects of air conditioner maintenance. Investing in a tune-up will help to save money and will make your unit more energy efficient. Each tune-up involves a checklist of inspection items, after which the technician will spend some time to clean the unit, lubricate moving parts, and replace any parts that are getting worn out. They will make sure the space around the air conditioner is clear and that all electrical connections are tight to prevent a fire hazard, and they will recalibrate the thermostat to make sure it is reading the temperature correctly and only blowing out cold air when necessary.

You will want to make sure that you have the right company for the job. Make sure they provide a guarantee in writing, take care of their employees, and don’t overcharge for basic services. Remember to check reviews from other customers online as these can be extremely helpful in finding the right business. Developing a good relationship with a trustworthy business can be a good asset. They will always be on call when anything goes wrong with your AC and can be on your doorstep within hours of your call. If you are in the Champaign area and are looking for a good AC service provider, search for AC repair near me.

It is important to find the right company to perform this annual maintenance. At Castle Home Comfort we strive to be this company for you. With 24/7 service, a 100% customer service guarantee, and over 4 decades of experience, we are your first call for air conditioning service and repair. Make sure to check our website for the great reviews that we have from our valued customers, and contact us for more information regarding your AC unit.