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The life of your air conditioner depends on how well you take care of it. As we continue into warmer weather, your AC unit is likely to be in the midst of working overtime to keep you cool during the hot days ahead. And while you’re likely interested in taking care of your air conditioner to improve its longevity, understanding an AC tune-up vs. maintenance might leave you scratching your head.

How are tune-ups and regular maintenance different? And when should you do each?

AC Tune-Up Vs. Maintenance

Let’s dive into the main differences between an AC tune-up and regular AC maintenance.

What is an AC tune-up?

When we talk about getting an AC tune-up we’re referring to a job that’s performed by a professional. Tune-ups should be done seasonally in order to be the most effective and protect your system as best as possible. You might get a tune-up in the early spring so your system is ready to go for the summer season.

The main things completed during your AC tune-up include:

  • Checking the contacts, wiring, relays, and capacitors
  • Looking to see that the evaporator coil is clean
  • Checking the start-up of the compressor amp
  • Cleaning the condenser coil
  • Checking the condenser fan motors to see if they need to be lubricated and ensuring the blades are in good working condition

Tune-ups are an essential part of taking preventative measures to keep your system running optimally. This is similar to taking your car in for a tune-up in order to get your oil changed and check for anything that might need maintenance. Don’t skip out on your seasonal tune-ups! 

Seasonal tune-ups can also save you money as your system starts to age. As you replace and repair parts that are getting older you can keep a breakdown from happening, which would be a lot more expensive.

When your AC system is operating at its best, it also ends up saving you on the cost of your energy bills which can add up long term. Your AC works efficiently rather than working hard to keep your home as cool as you would like it to be.

What is AC maintenance?

Now you might be thinking that an AC tune-up and AC maintenance are the same things, but the truth is they’re actually quite different! AC preventative maintenance is something you can perform yourself in order to prolong the life of your unit.

If performing AC maintenance yourself sounds like biting off more than you can chew, then you might get a professional to show you what to do when they come in for your seasonal tune-up. That way you’ll know exactly what to do when it comes time to perform the maintenance yourself.

By doing so, you’ll keep your energy bills as low as possible, will increase the lifespan of your AC unit, and will have the cleanest indoor air quality possible. So, what are some of the things that a professional might show you as a part of your maintenance checklist? While your list may vary, there are some things that are very likely to be on that list!

  • Lubricating the shaft bearings
  • Checking for any oil leaks
  • Checking to see if the unit makes any noise or vibrates
  • Testing all safety controls to ensure they’re in good working condition
  • Looking at the wiring and inspecting the electrical components
  • Cleaning the condenser coil
  • Looking at the area around the outdoor compressor unit to make sure all shrubs are at least 1ft away from the outdoor unit.

Completing each of these tasks and taking action in fixing them if necessary is essential to keeping your AC unit up and running. You’ll never regret maintaining your unit and saving yourself a lot of time and money down the line.

Are both necessary for your system?

It’s clear there are plenty of advantages to completing tune-ups and maintenance. The question is, do you really need to do both? The simple answer to this question is YES!

Both AC tune-ups and maintenance are important for the health of your AC system. Not doing them can lead to large more expensive repairs down the line. Not to mention the headache of dealing with those issues.

A professional can perform regular tune-ups to your system and then you can keep up with the smaller maintenance tasks in between tune-ups. This truly is the perfect recipe for keeping your system running well for years and years to come.

Tips for AC Tune-Ups and Maintenance

Regardless of whether you’re getting a tune-up or doing maintenance yourself, there are some tips you can follow to always ensure your AC unit is running optimally. Here are some of the ones you should definitely be checking off your list with a little bit of added detail!

Remove debris from the unit

There are plenty of types of debris that can end up in your AC unit. Whether it’s dirt and grass or leaves, there are tons of different things that can end up outside your air conditioner and cause blocked airflow. Remove them to keep your AC unit running at its best.

Clean out the coils

Coils can collect dirt as time goes on which can end up reducing the airflow. This dirt also reduces the coil to absorb heat which doesn’t help when it comes to cooling! Even just a bit of dust can make a big impact which is why it’s a good idea to clean the coils regularly.

Change out or clean the air filter

Cleaning out the air filters or changing them all together can make a big difference when it comes to the efficiency of your machine. Your one-inch pleated filters should be replaced once a month. If you’re not sure what filters to use you can always ask at your next tune-up with a professional.

Your filters will need to be replaced more often if you have pets or if your home becomes dusty more easily.

Straighten out the coil fins

Condenser coils have aluminum fins that can bend easily and block air as it moves through the coil. If these fins are to bend, take the time to straighten them back out so air can run through them properly. Typically this is something we would normally recommend a professional to do. If this is done wrong you can cause more harm than good to your HVAC system.

Fix your air conditioner pad

If your AC unit rests on a concrete pad, it might settle in over the years and start to sink. If there’s a strain on the coolant tubes and electrical lines then your unit won’t be able to stay level and dry. You might need to pull the lines tight or eventually take action in fixing the air conditioner pad altogether.

Schedule Your AC Tune-Up or Maintenance

Regardless of if you need to get an AC tune-up or if you need minor maintenance, having an expert on your side is going to make all the difference when it comes to the longevity of your unit. Don’t let small AC issues become big, costly AC problems! AC Care Heat and Air is here to help and offer expert advice each step of the way.

If you’re in South Florida, feel free to call us for any of your air conditioner problems in addition to your tune-ups and regular maintenance. Contact us to learn more about our installation and repair services and enjoy your summer to the fullest!


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