What Goes into an AC Tune Up?

An AC tune-up is the best way to keep your air conditioner running efficiently, and avoid a breakdown on one of the hottest days or nights of the year. But what exactly does this entail? An HVAC contractor will recommend an annual tune-up once a year; or twice annually if you have an older unit. Your system should be serviced in the spring in preparation for summer. To make sure you don’t forget, mark the last service call on your calendar.

How an AC Tune-Up Helps

A tune-up allows an AC technician to fix any problem they find. It also provides opportunities to reduce wear and tear and optimize performance. The unit may be working harder to provide cooling, and you might not know it, causing excess wear and increasing energy bills. Tune-ups can effectively prevent future repairs and help your system last longer.

What an AC Tune-Up Includes

A tune-up can include repairs but this is not always the case. It generally consists of these three basic elements:

  • AC Inspection: Usually, the process starts with an inspection to look for signs of wear and tear. The technician will check refrigerant levels, the drain pan, and the compressor. System motors will be evaluated and tested as well. Safety devices and controls, system pressure and temperature, and all major components will be inspected before the HVAC specialist moves forward.
  • System Cleaning: It is important to clean your AC system, as dirt and other contaminants can cause it to work harder to provide cool air. In addition to cleaning/changing the air filter, the technician will clean the condensate drain, outdoor unit, condenser coils, inside vents, and interior components for all HVAC equipment. This step may also involve inspecting and cleaning ductwork to ensure dirt and particulates aren’t constantly circulating in your home.
  • Air Conditioner Service: If problems are found during an AC tune-up, they are usually fixed on the spot. Replacing a worn-out part, such as a belt or fan blade, can prevent more serious damage. If refrigerant levels are low, they will recharge the system and may check for a leak. Such fixes are generally more affordable than dealing with major repairs later.

Other Checklist Items

Additional aspects of an AC tune-up should include:

  • Calibrating the thermostat
  • Measuring temperature differences between the supply and return
  • Tightening electrical connections
  • Evaluating the blower motor/blower belt
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Inspecting and straightening condenser fins
  • Inspecting outdoor refrigerant lines
  • Testing the overflow safety switch
  • Testing motor capacitors.
  • Evaluating the electrical disconnect box
  • Measuring AC amperage
  • Checking for air handler leaks

How Long Does a Tune-Up Take?

The process generally takes about an hour, but the exact amount of time depends on the AC unit you have and how it is configured. Adding refrigerant can add up to 45 additional minutes. And if the technician follows a more thorough checklist, an AC tune-up can last 90 minutes or longer.

Schedule a Professional HVAC Tune-Up Today

Black Hills Home Services specializes in all types of AC maintenance. We schedule routine maintenance so your system can be kept in top condition. A well-maintained air conditioner can last longer, run more efficiently, and require fewer repairs. Join our maintenance plan to save and call 888-619-0086 to schedule your AC tune-up appointment.