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Is an Annual Air Conditioner Tune Up Really Necessary?

Spring AC Tune Up

Many things in life are necessities. Buying groceries, for instance. Putting gas in your car. With prices for these necessities rising, you’re probably looking for ways to save where you can. It may be leading you to wonder about air conditioner maintenance. You’ve probably heard that you should get your air conditioner tuned up every year. But, have you ever thought to yourself, “What if my AC system is running just fine?”

Is an annual AC tune up absolutely necessary?

No, not absolutely.

Our answer might come as a shock to you, especially since we’re, well, an air conditioning contractor. But it’s not like your air conditioner will suddenly spew fire if you skip this year’s tune up. We’re not even going to guarantee that your AC will break down right when you need it most, leaving you and your family to sweat through a hot summer day. Maybe your AC system will continue to run the way it’s running now – just fine.

However, this is our question to you: Is “just fine” really good enough? Is your comfort, energy efficiency, even your AC’s warranty, worth risking?

We think not.

So, do we recommend annual AC maintenance?

Yes, definitely. In fact, we propose that your annual AC tune up is an investment in your home comfort you can’t afford to skip.  Here are 7 reasons why:

Reason #1: A spring tune up will give your air conditioner a head start.

At this point, it’s probably been a couple of months since you last ran your air conditioner for any length of time. Can you expect your system to run at peak efficiency once you need it again every day?

To put this in perspective, let’s imagine that you’re about to drive your car cross-country. Your car has been sitting in the garage for a couple of months, except for the occasional spin around the block. Before starting the long drive, wouldn’t you bring your car in for a tune up, an oil change, or even a tire rotation? You’d want to know that your car is running in top condition.

You can think about air conditioner maintenance much the same way. Florida’s extended season of hot weather means a long period of heavy use for your air conditioner. Give your system a head start by making sure it’s ready. Or, you’ll run the risk of having lower operating efficiency or even a break down that would have been preventable.

Which leads us to our next reason:

Reason #2: Regular maintenance is almost always less costly than a repair job.

Back to our illustration. Could your car have survived the road trip without the extra precautions? Maybe. But, if your car did break down, a repair would have been more costly than the preemptive maintenance was.

The same goes for your air conditioner.

Sure, we can’t guarantee that your air conditioner will break down if you skip your tune up this time. But if your air conditioner does malfunction, you can bet that the repair will cost more than a tune up would have.

Tune ups can’t stop all AC problems from happening. Yet, in our years of experience we’ve found that 50% of cooling problems could have been prevented by annual maintenance.

That’s right, half.

During a tune up, your technician can detect small problems and fix them before they become big problems. You will have saved yourself the higher cost – and the bigger hassle – of a repair service call down the road.

But what if most major parts of your air conditioner are covered under warranty? Well, there is something you should know about your warranty.

Reason #3: Neglecting regular maintenance can void your warranty.

Most new air conditioners come with a limited warranty from the manufacturer. But did you know that your warranty might require you to keep your AC maintained?

Warranty certificates from Lennox, Trane and Comfortmaker all make this clear. These companies won’t provide replacement parts unless your air conditioner was regularly maintained by an HVAC professional.

Check your warranty certificate for yourself. You can find this clause under a section called “Eligibility Requirements”, “Exclusions” or something similar.

This policy is a win-win. HVAC manufacturers know that a well-maintained air conditioner is less likely to need a warranty part in the first place.

Reason #4: A well-maintained air conditioner lasts longer than one that isn’t.

Regular maintenance leads to fewer repairs and can prolong your air conditioner’s lifespan. The reverse is also true. Neglecting proper AC maintenance can reduce its lifespan.

Let’s think about your car again. What if you never get an oil change, never buy new tires, and neglect all the recommended maintenance. Do you think your car will last as long as a car belonging to someone who maintained it properly?

Keeping your air conditioner maintained will help make it last as long as possible, allowing you to postpone the cost of replacing your system. It will also run at higher efficiency throughout its lifespan, keeping your home cool and comfortable while going easy on your electric bill.

Reason #5: A tune up can increase efficiency and decrease cooling costs.

An air conditioner’s operating efficiency degrades over time. In fact, a 2018 study showed a median rate of degradation of 5.2% per year. But if you skip annual AC maintenance, your air conditioner’s operating efficiency will decline at an even fast rate.

Here are some of the reasons for this:

  • Over time dust and debris collects on the coils. The evaporator coils, being indoors, attract mostly dust. But the outdoor condenser coils can become full of dirt, grass trimmings and even leaves. This build-up impedes airflow and blocks heat transfer. Meaning that your air conditioner won’t be able to cool your home as efficiently.
  • Your condensate drain needs to be checked for clogs. A clog can hinder your system’s ability to control humidity. In extreme cases, a clogged condensate drain could even cause water damage to your home.
  • Motor parts need lubrication. Lack of lubrication can cause friction which reduces operating efficiency.
  • Blower components need periodic cleaning and adjustment. Otherwise, they can cause airflow problems which can result in up to a 15% efficiency loss.

These and other standard tune up procedures can increase your air conditioner’s operating efficiency and result in lower cooling costs.

Reason #6: EnergyStar and the USDE recommend regular maintenance.

It turns out that we HVAC companies are not alone. EnergyStar and the U.S. Department of Energy recommend regular or annual air conditioner maintenance. Mostly because of the energy efficiency benefits we mentioned above.

Reason #7: You’ll get faster service with more flexible scheduling in the spring.

So, have we convinced you to get your AC tuned up? If so, we recommend scheduling your appointment before summer.

Many people don’t think about their air conditioners until there is a problem (the fact that you’re reading this article says you’re not one of them – yay for you!). This means that summer is the busiest time for our technicians because of the volume of service calls and new installations. So, you might have to wait a while before we can get to your tune up. In the spring we’ll be more flexible to accommodate your schedule.

Ready to schedule AC maintenance?

Trust your next tune up to a licensed, NATE-certified Kobie Complete technician. We have nearly two decades of experience in maintenance, installation and air conditioning repair in Port Charlotte, Englewood, Venice, North Port, and the surrounding areas. So, you can be assured that we provide quality, value and most importantly comfort.

Plus, for a limited time you can get an AC Tune up for only $87 (reg. $109).

Want the best value? Consider an Annual Maintenance Program.

Our AC maintenance program starts at $124 for one year or $350 for three years. If you do have a problem with your air conditioner, you’ll also get extra perks such as:

  • waived trip charge,
  • discounts on parts, labor and repair work,
  • and priority service.

Learn more about our AC Maintenance Program.

So, is a yearly AC tune up necessary?

The choice is yours. Do you want all the short and long term benefits that come with regular air conditioner maintenance? Or is skipping your AC tune up a risk worth taking? We’re confident that you’ll make a wise decision.

Last Updated: March 23, 2022

Published on February 28, 2017 - Author: Mallory Gross

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