Well, with the weather warming, AC maintenance calls are lighting up the phone lines trying to convince homeowners that they need to use them for a low fee. I get these calls too and find it frustrating from my perspective as an AC company owner. There are basically 7 part in your cooling systems.
I will absolutely GUARANTEE that if you fall for this worry free summer or its fixed free check up, you will get a laundry list of expensive things that need to be cleaned or replaced and the ultimate… the unit should be replaced. So the guarantee they are giving you is 100% worthless. It’s a ploy to make you think your in great hands and you have nothing to worry about. This is exactly where the power shifts from you the homeowner to the contractor.
I can’t predict how long an AC unit will last. However, I can tell you a unit properly maintained and cleaned annually will last longer than one that’s not. When getting service, look at the age of the technician. If a young person shows up expect a list of things to be replaced or cleaned. If a seasoned veteran shows up get ready for the units shot speech and needs replacement…. wont make it through the summer etc…. fear induced sales.
Ultimately, you the consumer has to make a decision on what to do. I am here merely acting as an advocate to help you make better AC buying or AC replacement decision. That’s why we do free second opinions on AC systems and repairs. Oh, and we DO NOT pay sales commissions to employees.
WARNING! If you do not know where your AC condensate drains from your system, you could be in trouble…. AC systems cool the air, in that process they also condense water out of the air as they dehumidify and cool the air. This water is typically about 2-4 gallons a day but also depends on where you live. We encourage people to look for drainage and make sure it’s draining a slow steady drip and even a small stream of water every now and then.
Yesterday we were called out to a house by a reluctant homeowner to service her system. I say reluctant because it was only 3 years old and she felt the new system did not need to be maintained. When we showed up we found two things wrong. First, the system was improperly charged, the second was a pending failure precipitated by the low refrigerant charge.
The second most common error in new AC system installations is improper charging. Under or over charge can result in a 20-30% decrease in cooling capacity.
In the spring of 2012 we were called to a home to provide a second opinion. The system was 12 years old and they were in the final year of a 4 year prepaid maintenance contract. The home owner said the competitors’ tech showed up, took a look at the system label on the side of the unit, and declared it was shot, “Need a new unit and there is nothing we can do to fix this one.” When we arrived, the system was cooling, but intermittently. The reason was the outdoor fan motor was not operating properly and needed to be replaced. When your goal entering the house is to sell something you sell something, when your goal is to fix something you identify the fix. Very contrasting ideology!