“PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE”…What’s in it for me? Part 1

Why should we spend money on preventive maintenance for our air conditioning and heating systems? What’s in it for me?

So often, we forget the metal boxes on the outsides of our homes.  Let’s face it…. as long as we are comfortable in our homes, we don’t think about it.  It is hard enough to remember to check and/or replace the air filters every month. So, why is “preventive maintenance” on your air conditioning and heating unit important?

Let me start by showing you a couple of problems that could have been prevented with some preventive maintenance.

condensate lineOn the left you can see a typical condensate line for an air conditioner. This line is typical of most in the attic of our homes, especially if your house is built on a slab. Whenever proper preventive maintenance is done, these lines are checked to be sure they are clear.  No clogs.  If they do have a clog, we will blow them out with CO2 or another device used to clear the clog.  If you are not having preventive maintenance done, a clog can easily develop over time.  inside a clogged condensate line for hvacOn the right, you can see the inside of the pipe on the left.  This pipe had to be cut out and replaced (it looks like a rodent ate through the pipe also.) This is a very solid clump of dirt, dust, algae etc.

So, whats the big deal with a clogged condensate line?  Well, when your air conditioner is pulling moisture out of the air, that vapor turns to liquid.  Yep, it turns to H2O… aka, water.  If that water cannot leave through these pipes, it begins to back up.  It begins to back up into the “overflow” pan under the unit. Hopefully, this pan has not rusted through AND it has a device called a float sensor. If these two items are in good working order, your ac will shut off and you will be calling someone (hopefully Arctic Air) to come to the rescue.  If there is not a float switch installed, then you could start seeing water flowing through your ceiling.  If the pan is rusted through….YIKES, water damage! Ugh, this could result in an expensive water damage claim and/or mold remediation claim, and this is a major inconvenience.

burnt ac wires

The next photo is of the inside of a condensing unit (the outside part of an air conditioning system).  This photo shows the results of an electrical fire.  This could have been prevented with proper preventive maintenance also. Our air conditioning units produce a lot of vibrations.  These vibrations can cause screws to come loose.  That is not a big deal, right? WRONG! It is a big deal.  The screws on the electrical connections came loose and caused a fire inside of this unit. Luckily, the fire was contained and there wasn’t a catastrophic loss. The entire unit had to be rewired though.  Again, an expensive repair that could have been prevented with some basic, quality preventive maintenance.

Preventive maintenance could have prevented these costly repairs.

When was the last time your air conditioner and heater had any preventive maintenance?  If you cannot remember, it is time… now.  For a winter tune-up (preventive maintenance), it costs $89. For two inspections, one in the spring and one in the fall, the cost is $159 or $13.25 per month (which can be paid monthly).

Over the next few posts, I will give you more reasons that it is important to have preventive maintenance performed on your air conditioner and heater.