The number one DO for avoiding costly AC repairs in Houston is maintenance. It is also the hardest thing to think about during those cooler months, when our air conditioners are not getting as much use. We think they’ll start right back up again and everything will be fine. The worst feeling is being caught in the dead heat of a Houston summer with no air conditioning, facing costly repairs that could have been avoided with a little simple maintenance, just a few short months prior.
What’s worse, the hotter the day, the more likely your AC is to go out. This is not just Murphy’s Law, your air conditioner has to work harder in higher temperatures, causing additional strain and potential for problems. During a tune-up, your AC repair expert can spot these potential problems and bring them to your attention.
A tune-up also brings your system up to maximum efficiency, lowering your energy bills going into the hottest and most expensive months of the year. And speaking of expensive, emergency AC repairs are some of the costliest. According to HVAC contractors, depending on your location and the type of repair, AC repairs range from $100-$2900. The best way to cut your AC repair costs in Houston are to avoid them in the first place by scheduling regular tune-ups.
DO know the basic ins and outs of an AC tune-up.
When you schedule your annual maintenance appointment, know what is included by your vendor, versus what should be included to keep your system healthy and functioning in tip-top shape.
The following are important features of an AC tune up:
- Test refrigerant levels – Running out of refrigerant, due to a leak, can cause your air conditioner to die on a hot summer day. If the levels are low, this could be an indication of a leak and this leak must be repaired before levels are restored.
- Clean drain lines, the blower fan, and evaporator coils – during the cooler months, blockages of mold, mineral deposits, dust and dirt may clog drain lines, blower fans, and evaporator coils. Debris must be removed and cleaned for proper drainage and airflow.
- Inspect the wiring – Mice and other rodents do seek shelter in AC units over the winter. Wiring and other electrical components need to be checked for signs of any nests, which may mean there is additional damage such as burnt wires, loose connections, or electrical shorts.
- Check and replace filters – The quality of the filter ultimately dictates how often it needs to be changed. For example, pleated filters last around three months, while fiberglass or charcoal filters need to be changed monthly.
- Check your thermostat – Making sure your thermostat is properly synced to your system for maximum control.
DON’T avoid regular professional AC maintenance.
According to many HVAC contractors, more than 50% of all AC failures are the result of improper cleaning, or failure to clean at all. The last thing anyone wants is to be caught, mid-Houston-summer with no AC! A situation like this can be highly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.
When it comes to your air conditioner, it pays to have a check up every spring. Spring tune-ups generally entail changing filters, monitoring coils, and checking in on the compressor. This tune-up can even happen just before spring. While this visit may run you around $200 annually, depending on the specific work done, it will save you much more down the road and avoid the dreaded call for AC repair when all of Houston is slammed with the same issue.
DO simple AC maintenance on your own.
Air conditioning repair in Houston is inevitable. Eventually, your unit will leak, not turn on, or function as well as it once did. In the meantime, there are simple maintenance items you can do to prolong the inevitable. These are especially important if you accidentally miss a year of professional maintenance and want to keep your AC unit running as smoothly as possible through the Houston summers.
- Change your AC filters. Your air conditioning unit’s filters should be changed once every 30-60 days, depending on the unit’s condition.
- Turn the thermostat up. When you’re not home, turn the thermostat up. This will not only save you money on your energy bills, it will cause less strain on your AC. Less strain = fewer HVAC projects.
- Check doors & windows. Make sure the cool air from your AC actually stays within your home by checking for drafts near your doors and windows. If you do feel any drafts, consider installing weather stripping to seal any open spots.
- Clean Coils. If anything is blocking or infiltrating your outside AC unit, clean it off immediately.
DON’T wait until it’s too late.
Schedule your springtime maintenance for just before spring starts – this is the perfect time of year for this type of scheduled maintenance. This allows you to beat the rush and guarantees that your system will be good to go on the first really hot day of the year, which, as we all know, in Houston can be as early as March or April. Simple, yearly AC maintenance gives you the peace of mind that your air conditioner will make it through the heat of the summer and will also help you save on those through-the-roof cooling bills.
When it comes to air conditioning repair in Houston, do not be caught in the dead of summer in an AC emergency. Avoid costly AC repairs in the first place with a little due diligence up front. Scheduling routine, Pre-Season Tune-Ups for your air conditioner will help you get through the season ahead of the game with lower AC bills and without out-of-the blue emergencies. Working to maintain your system on your own, year-round, will further help to avoid costly repairs and help keep maintenance costs down. AIRTEAM is always available to help you navigate your options. Follow these do’s and don’ts to keep your AC maintenance on track and your summer full of cool memories.