Lennox Life
A Lennox dealer inspecting unit

Beating the Heat: Is an AC Tune-Up Worth It?

What is an AC tune-up and why is it needed?

Much like your car, your air conditioner is a complex piece of equipment. It consists of hundreds of components working together to improve your quality of life. Just like your car, in order to run efficiently and reliably, it needs regular inspection and maintenance. You wouldn’t go a full year without changing the oil or inspecting the tires on your car – your AC is no different.

Like any piece of machinery, even normal operation causes gradual wear and tear. As the summer heats up, your AC will be working harder and harder to keep you and your family comfortable. Your maintenance plan should include a comprehensive, annual AC tune-up to help ensure your air conditioner keeps running strong as the temperature rises.

Throughout the year, dust, dirt, and moisture build up, alongside microbial growth, can degrade the performance of critical components within your air conditioner. Over time, this forces your unit to have to work harder, possibly leading to a number of issues ranging from reduced efficiency and higher electric bills to component break down and even system failure.

While AC systems are designed to run reliably for years, an annual tune-up performed by a qualified technician can keep yours running at peak performance and increase its life expectancy. Beyond simple filter replacement, a tune-up includes a more thorough cleaning and inspection. Your dealer will open up your outdoor unit to access and do a more extensive cleaning of vital components. They will also put your air conditioner through its paces, checking cooling temperatures and inspecting for leaks and other potential issues that could lead to future problems.   

Considering the long-term benefits, AC tune-ups are relatively inexpensive – especially when compared to the cost of more serious issues or equipment breakdowns that can occur without proper maintenance. 

how long air conditioners last with and without maintenance

How do I know if I need a tune-up?

While we recommend you schedule a tune-up at least once a year in the spring, there are signs you can look for throughout the year to determine whether you should schedule one sooner. Here are a few things that might indicate it’s time to call your local dealer:     

  • Sudden or unusually higher than expected energy bill
  • Reduced air flow from cooling vents
  • Your AC isn’t keeping up/indoor temperatures are higher than normal
  • Your AC is constantly running or turning on and off frequently
  • A rise in indoor humidity

If you notice any of the above conditions, it’s time to call a professional.

What’s included in an AC tune-up?

Though it can vary depending on the individual technician and how detailed their inspection process is, a typical AC tune-up appointment should last about an hour. The visit may last a bit longer if your service technician finds any issues that require attention, especially if replacement parts are required.

During the tune-up, your technician will measure your unit’s performance, switching through a variety of modes to simulate different usage conditions. These readings will help him evaluate whether your AC needs repairs or adjustments.

Generally, the technician checks or measures the following during a standard tune-up:

  • Check refrigerant charge levels and air flow, check for refrigerant leaks
  • Inspect all electrical connections the ensure they in proper working order
  • Check mounts and/or connectors to ensure all physical parts are secure
  • Inspect the capacitor for bulging and/or unusual markings or color
  • Clean and inspect the outdoor condenser coil
  • Inspect the indoor evaporator coil for blockage and apply self-rinsing cleaner when possible
  • Clean and inspect the condensate drainage system
  • Clean and adjust blower components
  • Check the air filter, and replace or clean It, if needed

Most technicians will provide you with a written summary of the inspections and tests performed along with any recommendations for repair or adjustments not done as a part of the tune-up. Depending on the issue, certain repairs may be possible during the same visit.

Benefits of regular AC tune-ups

Regular maintenance to your air conditioner will help ensure you get the most out of your system year-round – for many years to come. Here are some of the other benefits to properly maintaining your AC system:

Improved Energy Efficiency

Keeping your air conditioner in tip-top condition will maximize your indoor comfort while minimizing the energy needed to keep your home cool.

Reduced Energy Bills

With proper maintenance comes improved efficiency. With improved efficiency comes lower energy bills.

Uniform Cooling Throughout Your Home

A well-maintained air conditioner should cool every part of your home evenly, without any noticable warm or cold spots.

Reduced Risk of Major Problems

Properly maintaining your AC unit and addressing minor issues annually will help reduce wear and tear on your system’s components – and the system as a whole. This proactive approach will help reduce the risk of larger, more expensive issues arising down the line.

Increased System Life Span

Your HVAC system is an investment. Regular tune-ups can help you diagnose and detect issues early – before they become system-threatening problems. A maintenance-conscious homeowner can expect to get up to 15 years of service from their AC unit. 

How often should you get an AC Tune-Up?

We recommend yearly tune-ups scheduled in the springtime before higher temperatures start adding to your air conditioners workload. Eliminating dirt and debris that has accumulated over the winter, and cleaning and inspecting components to ensuring they are in working order will unburden your system, keeping it cooler and reducing its workload during the hot summer months to come. 

If you live in a warmer climate that demands more of your air conditioner you should consider servicing your system twice each year, once in the springtime and once later in the summer for added peace of mind.

Tune-ups are designed to detect issues early. Allowing your air conditioner to go multiple years without this important maintenance can only increase the likelihood of costly repairs or failures down the road.

Can you do your own AC Tune-Up?

The testing and inspections performed during an AC tune-up require specific tools, experience and training to perform and read properly. Unless you’re a trained HVAC professional, we recommend leaving it to an experienced technician. Without proper training, you could miss important steps, or accidentally damage components without even realizing it – setting yourself up for bigger problems later.

Professional technicians understand HVAC equipment and know how to recognize and correct small issues before they can become big issues. Leave your annual tune-ups to the pros and you’ll be sure to enjoy years of reliable, efficient service from your air conditioner.

With springtime in full swing, it’s time to locate a Lennox dealer near you to schedule your annual AC tune-up.


More Comfort Matters

alt text goes here

It's also easy to find an expert Lennox® dealer who can help
you make the most of your HVAC system.

View Now