Many of us Hvac technicians would love to do nothing but fix broken air conditioners, but the nature of the business is many people like to just have their central heating and air conditioning systems checked out, or a ‘tune up’. Those that are just starting in the field with minimum Hvac training may find themselves doing lots of tune-ups and preventative maintenance before they are constantly out in the field repairing Hvac systems.
What Does an Hvac Tune-Up Consist Of?
Many companies may have different procedures that they implement when cleaning your hvac system. But below is a list of what I typically do on an air conditioning system.
Clean/Replace Air Filters – This should be done or at least checked once a month. When performing a tune-up I ensure that the air filters are clean so that there is nothing restricting the air flow. As I have stated before dirty air filters can cause loads of problems such as the unit icing up which could cause further damage to your compressor.
Clean Evaporator Coils – If the evaporator coils are cleaned at least once a year they should be semi-easy to clean, which can usually be done on a tune-up. I use a soft bristled brush and coil cleaning solution to do this, then spray down with hot water to wash the solution off. If the coils are extremely dirty or there is difficult access to them, I will then charge extra to perform this.
Wipe Down Inside Air Handler – A clean unit is a happy unit. I would wipe down the blower housing, wires, and rest of the inside of the air handler. Should the blower wheel be caked up with dirt and debris though, that would be an extra charge to pull and clean.
Clean the Condensate Drain Line and Pan – This is probably the most important check of air conditioning tune-up, as it causes the most problems and also the most damage. I am not going to get too much into this as I have already dedicated a post about this here.
Clean the Condenser Coils – In many cases this is much more easier to clean than the evaporator coils, as usually all it requires is a garden hose and spray nozzle. Just to be safe ensure that the power is off to the condenser and the thermostat is in the ‘off’ position. If you are a certified technician with hvac training and want to do a thorough job of washing the condensing coils, then remove the fan motor and spray from the inside out.
Check Refrigerant Charge and Amp Draws – This should only be performed by certified air conditioning technicians that have had the qualified Hvac training. This is not something for DIYers, and it’s also illegal if you don’t have an EPA license to handle refrigerant. I usually take amp draws on the compressor common wire, fan motor and indoor blower motor and compare them to the nameplate to ensure that they are in specs.
Tighten All Electrical Connections – This is everything from the wire nuts to the lug nuts to the inside and outdoor disconnects. Loose wires can cause arcing and breakers to trip, and again, should only be done by professionals.
How Much Does an Air Conditioning Tune-Up Cost?
Depending on where you are located geographically and how many systems you have the price can vary. But in my opinion no less than a hundred dollars. When you think about it the technician is going to be there at least an hour (if done properly) and not to mention the chemicals needed to clean the system components mentioned above. Not to mention gas, travel time, and cover other expenses such as insurance etc.
Just be cautious if you choose one of these 25 point tune-ups for $30-$40, as they aren’t making any money that little amount, in many cases they would lose money. That’s normally just to get their foot in your door so they can sell you something you might or might not need.