Importance of air conditioner upkeep

When we first purchased our home, we hired an HVAC contractor to inspect and service the heating and cooling system.

  • We wanted to make sure the system was operating properly and get an idea of how long we could expect the furnace and air conditioner to last.

Once we were assured that everything was in good shape, we never considered scheduling professional upkeep again. I made sure to replace air filters every now and then. We had no problems for about four years. In early July, when the outside temperatures remained steadily in the high eighties with excessive humidity, the air conditioner suddenly quit. It failed during the middle of the night when we were headed into the holiday weekend. We had family arriving the following morning to stay with us. I didn’t want them to arrive to an overheated and sticky house. I ended up paying extra for emergency HVAC service. The technician took the air conditioner apart and showed me the inner workings. All of the components were covered in a thick layer of dust, lint and grime. There was a great deal of algae growing in the condensate drain and mold thriving on the evaporator coil. The technician explained that this accumulation restricted airflow and hindered the moving parts of the cooling unit. It was forced to run longer and more often. The system was definitely using more energy and polluting indoor air quality. The cost of parts and labor was quite expensive. I could have saved money by investing into professional maintenance every spring. I’ve now signed up for a preventive maintenance plant with the HVAC contractor that includes two tune-ups per year. They send a licensed technician to troubleshoot, clean and adjust the air conditioner in the spring and the furnace in the fall.
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