A Regular AC Maintenance Schedule Is Best
The ideal schedule of AC maintenance includes at least annual professional servicing. It can be done any time of year; the most important part is that it’s done on a regular basis. This ensures your air conditioner is always running at its best and that a professional HVAC technician regularly checks the system’s components for signs of wear, damage, or issues that may be just beginning to show up. It is more cost effective to address issues early than to wait until the wear causes other components to fail.
AC Maintenance Tasks You Can Do at Home
These tasks are relatively simple to do, but if you’re unsure about anything, call a professional like CW’s HVAC team for advice.
- Air filters: Clean them every month if possible, but not more than every three months. CW can set you up to receive the correct filter delivery to your home, so you know they are ready to change out when they arrive. More frequent changes may be needed during periods of heavy AC use, if there are animals in the home, and when the pollen count outside is high.
- Clear around the condenser: The condenser is the unit that sits outside and should be surrounded by a clear zone of at least a three-foot radius. Check regularly that nearby plants don’t overgrow and that it’s kept free of garden debris. A couple times a year, hose the unit down to remove any dirt buildup and clear the unit of any pests, like Texas fire ants, that may have taken up residence.
- Check exposed ductwork: Inspect it once or twice a year for signs of wear and tear and joints that may have come loose.
- Clean the registers: These vents are typically located on the floors or near the ceiling. At either location, they often attract and trap debris that can block airflow. Keep them clean by opening the vent covers and using a vacuum to remove debris.
Professional AC Maintenance Tasks
There are several AC maintenance tasks that should only be performed by a professional HVAC technician. Leave these jobs for your technician to do along with your bi-annual professional servicing:
- Calibrate the thermostat.
- Check electrical connections and system controls.
- Inspect the condensate drain.
- Check refrigerant levels.
- Test for refrigerant leaks if levels appear to be too low.
- Check for duct leaks and seal any leaks found.
- Measure evaporator coil airflow.
- Check belts, blowers, and motors for signs of wear.
How Do I Know When I Need Air Conditioning Repair?
If your AC system is in trouble, it’s likely you’ll notice one or more signs before the system actually breaks down. If you do notice any of these warning signs, call an HVAC technician as soon as possible to prevent the problem from getting worse:
- Warm air blows out of the vents when the system is in cooling mode.
- The system cycle is on continuously, or it constantly cycles on and off in short bursts.
- The system is noisier than usual, makes unusual noises when cycling on and off, or makes noises you haven’t heard before.
- You smell an unpleasant or burning odor coming from the vents.
- The humidity in your home seems too high.
- You see water leaking from the HVAC unit or pooling near it.
- Your energy bills are higher, with no apparent cause. It may be hard to tell because air conditioners are only used seasonally as the temperatures rise. A comparison of year-over-year costs can help. Remember that heat and air units typically use more energy to operate than any other system in your home.
What Are the Most Common Central AC Problems?
According to HomeGuide.com, air conditioning repair costs an average of $319 for small jobs such as refrigerant R410A replacement. For more serious AC problems, costs may range up to an average of $2,000. Costs, like all other things nowadays, are going up very fast due to supply issues of components and increasing transportation costs. For the best deals, get work done as soon as you see an issue.
- Dirty Filter
A clogged, dirty filter is one of the most common AC problems, especially in homes with pets. Dust, pet hair and dander, and other airborne particulates can quickly clog the filter and leave your AC running less efficiently than it should. Dirty filters can cause a wide range of issues, so cleaning or changing the filters will often be your first troubleshooting option when the system has a problem.
Solution: This is a maintenance task that homeowners can take care of themselves. Keep your AC running efficiently by cleaning your air filters every couple months and changing them at least every quarter. CW can help by setting your home up on auto-delivery of filters so you receive the correctly sized filters for your units when it’s time to change them out. For a longer-term solution, a CW service professional can install an Air Scrubber in your system to protect the unit and the air you breathe from bacteria, mold, and viruses.
- AC Running Constantly
Your system will naturally run more often when the weather is hot, but even then it should cycle off. If this isn’t happening, the cause may simply be dirty filters that are reducing the system’s efficiency, the type of system that was originally installed, or a thermostat problem. However, it could also be an issue with the compressor or with one or more electrical components.
Solution: Try cleaning or changing the air filters first. Next, turn off the thermostat fan, to check if it’s a thermostat issue. If the problem persists, contact an HVAC technician for help. It may be warning you about a repair or deep cleaning that needs to be performed, or it could be time to swap it out for a more efficient unit.
- Indoor Water Leak
If you see water leaking from your indoor AC evaporator unit or drain pan, it may be a sign that you’re overdue for AC maintenance, drain pan line cleaning, or a deep cleaning of your unit. A leak can happen if the primary and/or secondary condensate drain is clogged, as this causes water to back up and leak from the unit. A water leak may also indicate an issue with the evaporator coil itself.
Solution: The best solution here is to call an HVAC tech for professional maintenance if it’s been more than a year since your last visit.
Cost: Repairing or replacing an evaporator coil can be costly. For some older systems, it can cost more to repair the coil than to replace it. Talk to your CW service professional about the best option for your home, your unit, and your budget.
- Outdoor Water Leak
A leak underneath the outdoor condenser can be caused by a number of issues and is most likely a serious problem.
Solution: If you see a leak in the outdoor unit, turn the system off and call a CW professional for help. Whether it is caused by a heat-and-air issue or a plumbing issue, one of CW’s state licensed professionals can take care of it.
- Tripping Circuit Breaker
Does the circuit breaker trip every time you turn your AC on? It may just be dirty filters, but the issue may also be caused by dirty coils, low refrigerant, or a failure of the capacitor or compressor, or even an electrical issue.
Solution: If it’s not a dirty air filter or evaporator coil, don’t try to DIY this one, as it may involve working with electrical components. Turn off the system, and call a professional CW HVAC technician.
- Frozen Evaporator Coil or Outdoor Refrigerant Lines
Ice on the evaporator coil (located in the indoor AC unit) or on the outdoor refrigerant lines means your AC system is working overtime to cool your home. This can send your energy costs soaring and put unnecessary stress on the whole system. Even when outside temperatures are soaring over 100 degrees in Texas, refrigeration lines can freeze.
Solution: Check your air filters, and clean or change them if necessary. Turn the unit off and let the system rest so the coil can defrost. This can take up to 24 hours. Once it’s unfrozen, try turning the unit back on. If the problem persists or you begin to hear unusual noises from the system, call a professional. They may need to check several different system components to find the cause.
- AC Doesn’t Turn On
This may be the result of:
- Tripping the circuit breaker
- An incorrect thermostat setting
- A faulty thermostat
- A wiring issue
Solution: First check the air filters and your thermostat settings. If the air conditioner still won’t turn on, call a professional immediately.
- Refrigerant Leak
It’s not always possible for a homeowner to detect a refrigerant leak. You may see brightly colored stains near the AC unit or notice a sweet smell near the unit. Other signs may include frozen evaporator coils, high humidity, and a longer AC cooling cycle.
Solution: If you notice signs of a refrigerant leak, turn off your air conditioner and call a CWHVAC technician. This is especially important if your AC model is from 2011 or earlier, as older models use freon—now considered an environmental hazard—as the refrigerant. Though the refrigerant is available for now, it is costly and may not be your most economical solution if your unit is leaking.
Why Is CW the Best Choice for AC Maintenance and Repair?
Whether you need to schedule an annual AC maintenance check, or you have an air conditioning problem and need a repair, you can call us! You can expect:
- Skilled technicians. All our plumbing and HVAC technicians are all licensed or registered experts with up-to-date training and a commitment to customer satisfaction. We background-check and screen our techs so you can feel confident letting them into your home.
- Same-day appointments. Whenever possible, we offer same-day service for HVAC inspections, maintenance, and repair.
- 24/7 emergency call-outs. If you have an AC problem that can’t wait, call us to schedule an emergency appointment.
- Honest and up-front pricing. Once we review your case, we’ll give you a written and up-front estimate for the job, and we’ll never blindside you with hidden costs. Your technician will give you repair and replacement options based on findings at your in-home visit.
- All parts are from trusted brands. We use only the best parts, from recognized and trusted brands.
- City permits. If you need an inspection or permit as part of the work, we’ll arrange it for you.
- Your satisfaction is guaranteed. The job isn’t finished until you’re happy. The CW team is here to relieve your stress and put a cool smile on your face.
- Thousands of satisfied customers. Customer satisfaction is of prime importance to us. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and lots of positive reviews from sites such as Angi, Expertise.com, HomeAdvisor, and Thumbtack. Become the next happy client!
Does CW Offer Financing?
Yes, of course we do! We know you probably haven’t budgeted for a new AC system and may not want to pay for repairs or replacements this season, so CW, in partnership with Synchrony, offers financing for purchases, installations, and repairs. Terms range from 6 to 18 months, with interest as low as 0% with approved credit, as well as revolving credit options. Learn more on our financing page.
Does CW Offer Warranties?
We have some of the leading equipment replacement warranties in the Metroplex. In fact, we offer warranties on almost everything—from a warranty on labor to a warranty on CW-provided parts to a warranty on CW hand-selected materials.
CW Offers Expert HVAC Maintenance Services, Repairs, and Installation
Looking for an HVAC company for air conditioning repair, servicing, or air conditioning installation? Whether it’s annual maintenance or you have an AC emergency, CW’s expert HVAC technicians can help. Call us now or book online—we’re here for you.