AC Maintenance—DIY vs Calling a Pro

AC technician checking air conditioner

One of the keys to enjoying a relaxing summer is having an air conditioner that operates efficiently for the entire season. Few things can ruin a summer faster than an AC that breaks down or starts blowing lukewarm air. How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Air conditioners are complex machines and can be tricky to maintain and repair. Without the proper tools and knowledge, there’s only so much that most homeowners can do themselves. To make sure you don’t do more harm than good, it’s important to understand which tasks you can do yourself, and which ones are better left to the pros.

What You Can Do

Let’s start by looking at a couple of the more manageable air conditioning maintenance tasks that homeowners can handle themselves.

  • Change Your Filter Every Three Months
    An easy-to-do and important maintenance item that often gets overlooked is changing the filter on your HVAC unit. Your filter is the only thing keeping the air that circulates through your home clean and free of dust particles. If your filter gets too dirty, you’ll notice your air conditioner working harder to produce less air flow.
  • Remove Brush and Debris Near Your AC
    Another thing you can do to keep your air conditioner running smoothly is to make sure no debris has gathered near your air conditioner’s outside condenser unit. It’s vital that the fan blade inside your air conditioner doesn’t get clogged by fallen branches or overgrown shrubs. A blocked fan blade can hurt your air conditioner’s performance and may cause higher electricity bills and expensive repairs.

Related Article: Air Conditioner Maintenance

What a Pro Should Do

To properly service your air conditioning system both inside and outside the house, certain maintenance jobs need to be handled by a professional. HVAC service technicians are specially licensed and trained to set up an AC maintenance schedule to make sure your unit stays in top shape all year long. These maintenance items should include the following:

  • Clean the Coils
    To clean the coils on your air conditioner properly, special brushes and cloths are needed to ensure effective removal of debris without damaging the fragile coils. Attempting to do this yourself could result in damage and a very pricey repair bill.
  • Inspect and Unclog the Drain
    Most homeowners don’t realize there’s a drain located on top of their furnace. This drain allows the condensation caused by the air conditioner to safely drain away from the furnace and into a floor drain or sump pump. Although you might be able to clean this drain yourself, it’s better to have it done by a professional. If the drain is severely clogged or needs replacing, this task might require cutting tools and gluing PVC pipe fittings together.
  • Check and Test the Refrigerant
    Checking to make sure an air conditioner has the correct amount of refrigerant requires a manifold AC gauge set. This HVAC-specific tool is used almost exclusively by heating and cooling technicians. When HVAC technicians measure refrigerant levels, they’ll also check to make sure the refrigerant isn’t contaminated. If there’s a leak, not only will refrigerant leak out, but damaging oils and moisture can leak in and cause irreparable damage to your system.
  • Check Airflow
    A service technician will also check to make sure your home has adequate airflow. This is done with an anemometer. This is a special tool that is not usually found in the average homeowner’s toolbox. Good airflow is important for low energy bills, a longer system lifespan, and consistent temperatures.
  • Inspect Electric Controls and Terminals
    Both a visual and hands-on inspection should be performed by an HVAC technician to make sure none of the terminals or controls on your furnace or air conditioner are compromised. Attempting to do this yourself could lead to injury or equipment damage.

Schedule Maintenance with Aire Serv

If you are looking for an honest and reliable air conditioning service technician, then look no further than Aire Serv. Schedule an appointment today and, in addition to high-quality HVAC servicing and maintenance, you’ll get 24/7 service, no overtime charges, upfront pricing, and the Done Right Promise. With Aire Serv, you’ll stay comfortable and breathe clean air all year round!