Do You Need Regular Air Conditioner Maintenance?

Servicing your air conditioner at least once every year is probably something you have been told. However, you actually don’t have to have it serviced or maintained as often as that.

You shouldn’t bother getting your air conditioning system tuned up in these scenarios:

Your system will still run, just not as efficiently as normal, if you don’t bother to maintain it. This lowered efficiency means higher energy bills, although if that doesn’t bother you, then there’s really no need to get a tune-up.

If you don’t regularly maintain your system, keep an eye on your energy bills to see how higher they are. To make sure it’s an accurate comparison, make sure your usage hasn’t changed. However, keep these two points in mind, as you’ll need to do more than just look at your bill:

You can expect between 10 and 15 years of use from your central air conditioner, says Consumer Reports. Although that lifespan will almost certainly be less if your system isn’t regularly maintained.

Energy Star has a useful checklist that helps you to understand this. As an example, your air conditioner will run for longer to get the job done if the coils become dirty over time, and you don’t clean them. It means your system won’t last as long, and you’ll have higher energy bills, but it will still cool your home, and you don’t have to have it maintained.

It’s all about a balance between not having to pay in the short term to have your system maintained, versus how long it will last and at what point you’ll have to replace it. But your system is more likely to need replacing at some point if you just don’t bother having it properly maintained regularly. The same logic can be applied to your car; if you don’t look after it, it will break down sooner rather than later.

Over time, your air conditioning unit can develop some of these common problems:

  • Faulty electrical connections. Your system may not operate safely, and its important parts may not last as long if electrical connections become loose over time.
  • Too much friction. You’ll use more electricity if your air conditioner isn’t properly lubricated regularly, as there will be more friction without sufficient lubrication.
  • Clogged condensate line. The humidity in your home can be affected, and you may experience water damage if your drain line is clogged.

Every year you go without servicing your air conditioning unit increases the chances of one or more of these things happening, but of course, there’s no guarantee any of them will happen.

Many homeowners understandably forget to service their air conditioning unit, or simply put it off. And being realistic, if you are the sort of person who keeps putting it off, you’ll probably never get round to it.

Of course, it will cost you a lot more to call out an HVAC technician to fix your system when it breaks down than it would call a technician to have it serviced.

So it is recommended to have your air conditioning system regularly serviced, although not a requirement. It’s all about the long term picture; you may go several years without having to spend any money on your A/C system, but then at some point, you may have a costly repair, which could have been avoided with regular maintenance.

Compare it to your 401K; you’ll have more money in the long run if you pay into it now, hard though that can be. Long term satisfaction versus short term savings is what it comes down to.