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Air Conditioning Tune-Up

Air Conditioning Tune-Up in Northern Virginia

Although air conditioners are designed, developed, and tested to function reliably for decades, an annual AC tune-up is key to their improved life expectancy and consistent peak performance. 

As such, ignoring routine AC maintenance can reduce comfort, increase utility bills, reduce the system’s life expectancy, or worse, cause a system failure or total shutdown. 

The reason is simple. During the cooling operation, dirt, dust, moisture, and algae (microbial growth) can build up on the HVAC system’s critical components, such as condenser coil or evaporator coil. The accumulated substances can then reduce AC’s running efficiency and durability.  

Now, home air conditioning tune-up may seem easy – and understandably so. An average homeowner can handle simple air filter replacing or cleaning. However, it’s advisable to employ quality tune-up services – to ensure longevity, reliability and also prevent larger problems from developing. 

The licensed HVAC contractor will open the indoor and outdoor units, do an extensive inspection, detect potential issues that can affect its performance down the road, carry out extensive cleaning of critical components, and check cooling temperatures. 

Bottom line, scheduling an annual HVAC tune-up is relatively inexpensive compared to waiting until there’s a need for more extensive AC services. You end up saving money by preventing expensive repairs. 

But let’s get to the basics. 

What’s Air Conditioning Tune-Up? 

Air conditioner tune-up is an annual check-up to ensure that your central air conditioning is working reliably. 

Often, AC tune-ups include:

  • Calibrating the thermostat.
  • Condenser coil cleaning.
  • Examining and tightening electrical parts.
  • Inspecting refrigerant levels.
  • Analyzing the functionality of motor and blower belts.
  • Observing for leaks. 

Inspection involving the following actions: 

  • Gauging airflow 
  • Calibrating thermostat
  • Checking blower components 
  • Inspecting oil and oil filters 
  • Confirming quality of installation 
  • Confirming proper system operation 
  • Checking the electrical connections 
  • Checking system clearance 
  • Examining area around the system 
  • Examining evaporator and condenser coil 
  • Examining overall condition 
  • Assessing safety controls 
  • Observing refrigerant pressure 
  • Evaluating starting capabilities 
  • Examining condensate drains 
  • Measuring temperature difference in return and supply

An outline of the AC tune-up steps: 

  • Cleaning or replace standard home air filters 
  • Assessing volts and amps
  • Cleaning condensate drain 
  • Tightening electrical connections 
  • Lubricating moving parts 
  • Applying protective coating 
  • Issuing biocide treatment 
  • Assessing cooling cycle
  • Cleaning blower components 
  • Cleaning condenser coil
  • And more. 

To have a clear picture of what to expect, here is a quick overview of an air conditioner’s main components. 

7 Critical Components of an AC

Air conditioning tune up in Sterling Virginia

Your central AC is designed to cool your home to keep you comfortable. It accomplishes this with its main components that work in unison to form a stable system. The said components include:

Thermostat

A thermostat controls the whole air conditioning process. It reads the indoor temperature and instructs the AC when to turn on and off. Note, the higher you set the thermostat, the lower the air conditioning bills. 

Air filter 

The air filter serves to keep dust and dirt out of the Air Conditioner components. Installing a reliable and efficient filter can improve your AC performance, and as a result, your indoor air quality. 

Fan 

The fan helps cools the condensing unit – ensuring it does not overheat, 

Condensing coil

A condensing coil is equivalent to an evaporator coil in an outdoor AC. Here, refrigerants travel s from the compressor to the coil and expels the heat collected indoors to the outside air. Once the refrigerant is condensed, it circulates back to collect more heat in the evaporator coil. 

Compressor 

Once the refrigerant absorbs heat, it vaporizes. It then passes through the compressor, where it’s pressurized and heated even more. The compressor prepares the refrigerant to give up its heat. 

Evaporator coil 

An evaporator coil is located near the blower and serves to remove heat and humidity from the air. This is made possible by the refrigerant in the coil. 

Blower

The blower circulates cool air into the house. It also pulls room-temperature air back for re-cooling. 

Ideally, the AC tune-up should cover each of the key components discussed above. 

We had mentioned that AC tune-up is an annual check; however, the following signs show its time.

Signs It’s Time for a Central Air Tune-Up

To keep your Air Conditioner and its components in good working condition, you should schedule a minimum of once yearly tune-up – with a licensed HVAC contractor. The tune-up service is best done during the spring season. However, if you use your AC extensively or live in a warmer climate, you should schedule a second maintenance visit to promote consistent high system performance. 

If it’s been longer than usual between tune-ups, your AC might start to show signs. 

Here are signs it’s time for a professional central air tune-up. 

Blowing warm air 

AC runs for long periods. If your conditioner cannot cool your surroundings to a comfortable temperature, it’s time for an AC tune-up. Left unchecked, you might risk incurring high energy bills. 

You can tell if your air conditioner has a developing problem by placing your hand over a cooling register. If you feel relatively warmer air, your central air unit is consuming more electricity in a bid to cool your home to a comfortable temperature. 

Weak airflow

When the air from your AC vents is cool but it’s not blowing efficiently from the air registers, you could be having a clogged filter or leaky air ducts. 

The temperature change from room to room 

Often, a change in temperature from room to room is sun-induced. However, it’s also caused by an inefficient air conditioner or lack of insulation.

Thus, you should schedule a central air tune-up with a licensed HVAC contractor to discover ways to remove temperature variations in your home. 

Sounds 

It’s best to take note of your AC’s normal sounds while in operation. Should you hear any strange sounds, then it’s time for a professional air conditioning tune-up. 

Here’s a quick overview of the most common AC noises and their meaning. 

  • Screaming: a scream or loud pitched hiss often indicates a serious issue with the compressor. If you hear such a sound, you should shut the AC immediately, lest riks more damage or breakdown. 
  • Gurgling: a gurgle or liquid sounds often indicates a problem with the condenser line or refrigerant. The sound should be assessed immediately by an HVAC expert, lest risk of freezing-up, corrosion, and other damages.
  • Loud humming: the noise often indicates loose components in the AC system. The humming or vibrations can result from loose screws or electrical wiring. 
  • Banging: a bang often indicates loose or worn-out parts. 

Moisture or odors from the AC unit 

A presence of moisture or odor from the air conditioner often indicates a broken or blocked drain tube. It can also signal a leaky outdoor compressor. 

Left unchecked, moisture and odors from the central air unit can cause the development f unhealthy mold spores or the need for expensive system repairs. 

Additional signs include:

  • AC taking too long to cool
  • AC turning on and off – without prompting 

But even if you do not encounter any of the said signs, you should still schedule an air conditioning tune-up for the following reasons. 

Reasons to Schedule an AC Tune-Up 

 

Scheduling a tune-up is necessary to:

#1: Save energy 

Having a professional contractor inspect your AC and make a tune-up if needed will ensure the unit is working efficiently. That will, in turn, save the amount of energy consumed and, consequently, your energy bill. 

#2: Prevent expensive repairs 

A professional HVAC contractor will inspect your unit and easily spot any potential problems that only require simple fixes to prevent total breakdown or system failure. Left unchecked, the AC unit can suffer serious problems and, as such, need costly repair or replacement altogether. 

#3: Know the condition of your unit 

Once the air conditioning tune-up is completed, a skilled technician can inform you about the unit and its performance. That way, you can plan for future replacement. 

AC tune-up can also help to:

  • Operate more safely 
  • Improve overall comfort levels
  • Increase the overall lifespan of the unit
  • Recover lost AC efficiency 

Contact RS Gregory Heating and Air Services Today

Just like your car, your AC unit can operate more reliably and efficiently with regular maintenance. And as the hot season set in, in Northern Virginia, it’s time for your air conditioning tune-up. 

Our Sterling Virginia-based technicians can catch minor issues by performing a routine AC check-up before they develop into much larger and expensive problems. We also work to restore your AC power and efficiency, which means you stay comfortable all year-round. 

Schedule an appointment today.

Air Conditioning Repair

Boilers

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Furnaces

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Heat Pumps

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Thermostats

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