You’re right to think about the condition of your AC unit before it breaks down. Once the summer heat and humidity settle in, everyone is going to have their air conditioners running day and night, which puts a lot of stress on the machines. All the units that aren’t up to par are going to fail, and then service providers are inundated with emergency calls.
By scheduling diagnostic testing and preventative maintenance before the summer rush, you can ensure your heating and cooling system is in the best shape possible to provide enhanced air quality and temperature-controlled comfort at home and at work.
I know, many people roll the dice every year and get by without regular maintenance. They believe they’re saving money. Actually, they’re just kicking the can down the road by pushing off a bigger payout. Believe me, I’ve done the math, and repairing a damaged unit is much more costly than paying for periodic maintenance. Eventually, every unit will fail, but the value we provide to customers is making their units last as long as possible. When we do replace a unit, our customers say, “I got my money’s worth out of it.”
Here’s a strategic plan I use to keep my HVAC system at home and our office in Westborough running at top efficiency and effectiveness:
Customer-level care—Cost: $0
Look at your unit periodically. Sounds silly? Most of the time, exterior components are tucked in corners and hidden with vegetation so the metal boxes don’t detract from a building’s aesthetics. Keeping them out of sight is fine, as long as you keep them in mind. Visually inspect your unit on a regular basis. In the summer, do it every time you mow the lawn. Climbing vegetation and thick bushes can choke the air intake and output of units and cause your machine to run less efficiently and overheat.
When you remove vegetation too close to the unit, avoid using a weed wacker. This convenient landscaping tool notoriously flings pebbles and other debris, which can get inside the unit and damage it. Also, one careless swing of the weed wacker can severe critical electrical wires.
Never underestimate a basic visual inspection. Don’t look inside the unit, but simply assess the outside. Do you see puddles near the unit on a dry day? Do you hear a strange noise when it runs? Anything out of the ordinary may be a sign the unit needs a closer inspection. Call for a service appointment as soon as possible to avoid an emergency call later.
Technician-level care—Cost: Call for an estimate
The cost of fixing anything depends on what’s wrong with it. The average cost of repairing a heating or cooling unit
ranges from $160 to $450 in Worcester County. Do your research and you can get an annual service contract within that range, which is a great value when you consider all you get with a competitive service contract versus a one-time fix.
Maintenance programs differ from company to company, but before the summer season, be certain your heating and cooling unit receives these standard services:
- Filter replacement. Air filters are very inexpensive to replace, and by doing so, you can save a lot of money in utility costs and repairs. These simple devices catch pollen, grit, and other debris from getting sucked into the exterior unit and fouling up the inner workings. By performing this function, filters quickly get clogged. When air can’t pass through the filter, the unit works harder and less efficiently, which both increases your electric bill and reduces the life expectancy of your unit.
- Thorough inspection. Just like you should give the exterior of your unit regular visual inspections, a service technician should give the exterior and interior of the unit a careful look for signs of early-stage problems. Some things the tech should do include:
- Check for corroding wires and connections
- See how the machine starts up and runs
- Inspect coils for dirt and buildup
- Inspect and clean drain pan
- Check, clean, and adjust. In addition to a visual inspection, the tech should safety test all major system components, including:
- Check and calibrate thermostat
- Test switches and relays
- Test motors and fans
- Lubricate moving parts (if necessary)
- Measure refrigerant levels and charge when needed
By no means is this a complete list. CPS techs use a 23-point inspection process every time they visit a unit. However, having his information will help you take an active part in maintaining your unit and also guide you in asking the right questions when choosing your heating and cooling service provider.
Stay comfortable this summer!
CPS Heating and Cooling
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Contact us anytime to set up a consultation or call us at 508-460-6691.