What Is Air Conditioning Maintenance for Houston Homes, and Is It Worth It?

March 25, 2020

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Air conditioning maintenance for Houston homes is an excellent way to ensure your AC is in good repair and operating as efficiently as possible. Regular appliance maintenance is like vehicle maintenance; cleaning, oiling, and replacing worn parts as needed avoids wasted energy and otherwise avoidable air conditioner breakdown.

Some homeowners put off regular Houston AC maintenance simply because they don’t know what’s involved in this work and why it’s so beneficial. If you’ve never scheduled maintenance for your home air conditioner or assume it’s an unnecessary service, note some vital information about this work and why it’s such a great choice for every AC in use!

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What Houston AC Maintenance Does Your Appliance Need?

Changing a furnace filter is a vital part of air conditioner maintenance, as the AC pushes air through that filter before it reaches the home’s ductwork. While a homeowner can typically change the furnace filter themselves, a Houston air conditioning contractor might note if the filter seems excessively dirty or worn, which might indicate the need for a better quality filter or a whole house air filtration system.

An AC doesn’t exactly produce cool air the way a furnace produces warm air; an air conditioner uses coolant to absorb heat from the air and pull this heat outside the home. During this process, water vapor from warm air hits the AC evaporator coils and becomes liquid, dripping into what is called a condensate pan.

The condensate pan has a connected tube or hose, which drains that water away, typically outside the home or to a nearby drain or utility sink. During routine AC maintenance in a Houston home, the evaporator coils get a thorough cleaning and the condensate pan and attached hose or tube are checked for needed emptying and cleaning.

A central air conditioner condenser sits inside a housing unit, or that large metal box located outside your home. That housing unit contains several parts, including a blower, valves, copper tubing, and condenser tubes. The condenser tubes contain the unit’s refrigerant.

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An AC condenser and its other moving parts get warm as they operate. Airflow around the unit keeps everything cool, so it’s vital that the housing unit stay clean and free of debris. During routine air conditioner maintenance in Houston, a technician ensures that unit is clean and might also reshape bent fins or grilles along its outer body.

Your AC technician will also check internal parts for excessive wear, oil moving parts, and replacing worn and frayed wiring. Refrigerant levels are also checked. Your Houston air conditioning contractor will also typically check the home’s thermostat for needed calibration or replacing.

How Often Do You Need Houston AC Maintenance?

On average, a homeowner might schedule AC maintenance every other year. However, note that your home’s air conditioner might cycle on far more often throughout the day, and get used more weeks out of the year, simply due to the area’s extreme heat!

Scheduling air conditioning maintenance in Houston every year is an excellent way to ensure the unit is running optimally and to offset all that added wear and tear. You might also ensure annual AC maintenance as your appliance gets older, as a Houston HVAC technician will check for worn parts and those needing repair or replacement. As an AC ages, the more likely it is to have worn and damaged parts, and making timely repairs ensures the appliance functions for as long as possible!

When Is It Time for AC Repairs in a Houston Home?

Regular air conditioner maintenance is an excellent way to keep the appliance working as it should, and maintenance typically includes small repairs, as needed. However, when is it time to schedule AC repair for a Houston home, rather than just maintenance? Note a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If your home experiences consistent brownouts or blown circuits when the air conditioner cycles on, this often indicates frayed or worn wiring. Old and damaged wiring cannot manage the power load of an air conditioner, so electrical flow slows down, creating a brownout, or will trip the circuit. New wiring might then fix this issue.
  • An old and worn air conditioner tripping a home’s circuits might also need a new motor, blower, or other such part. As parts age, they struggle to work and might pull added power in the process. Your home’s electrical systems then respond with brownouts or tripped circuits.
  • As worn parts pull added power to operate, this also means a spike in your home’s utility costs! If you notice a sudden increase in electrical costs during summer months, needed AC repairs or even routine maintenance might get your appliance operating efficiently once again.
  • While air conditioning refrigerant doesn’t “burn up” or evaporate over time, damage to AC parts might create a refrigerant leak. In turn, you might notice that your home’s AC cycles on and blows air through the vents, but doesn’t cool your house. Repairs and a refrigerant recharge typically get the unit working as it should once again.
  • Be wary of odd smells from an air conditioner, especially burning odors! A burning smell might indicate something stuck in the housing unit, getting in the way of the blower blades or motor. Worn or frayed wires might also create a burning smell. Whatever the case, call an HVAC contractor in Houston to check your appliance and pinpoint the cause of that odor.

How Long Should an Air Conditioner Run?

To ensure you keep your home’s air conditioner in good repair, it’s helpful to note how it operates, including its expected runtime. Remember that an air conditioner is not like a room fan; a fan might run day and night, to circulate and cool air, but a home air conditioner should only cycle on for a short time before it cools a space properly.

In most cases, a residential air conditioner shouldn’t run longer than 15-30 minutes per cycle. If your home’s AC takes longer to cool the house, or it never seems to cycle off at all, it’s time for repairs or air conditioning maintenance in Houston! A quick tune-up or needed repairs ensures the appliance is operating as it should, so it can cool air quickly and cycle off as needed, reducing overall wear and tear.

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