Many people love the idea of having a central air conditioner they can use to stay cool during periods of hot weather. However, many of the same people baulk at the thought of what these systems might cost to repair if something goes wrong. If you’re one of those people, maybe you’ve decided just to ignore any warning signs altogether, or hope that they go away by themselves with time. Unfortunately, that’s not how air conditioners work. In fact, ignoring signs of trouble can end up earning you a higher air conditioner repair cost. However, the opposite is also true. You can significantly lower the costs of repairing your air conditioner by being proactive and addressing small problems before they have a chance to metastasize into larger, more expensive ones.
The Importance of Service in Lowering Average Air Conditioner Repair Cost
What many people do not realize is that high air conditioner repair cost is often preventable. Of course, your system is bound to become old and outdated at some point, and some parts are going to break down or become obsolete. However, you don’t want that to happen prematurely by neglecting parts that would stay healthy with regular maintenance and service. If you do, you might find yourself paying for expensive repairs every year or so.
Take compressor repair, for instance. Your compressor is one of the most critical components of your entire system. It is responsible for converting the refrigerant in your HVAC between liquid and gaseous forms. The conversion process, which either requires or produces heat depending on which way the refrigerant is being converted, is what allows your HVAC to change the temperature of the air it sends around your home. Your compressor is also extremely sensitive, and if your system is neglected, it is usually one of the first parts to go haywire. Leaving your filters unchanged for too long, failing to keep your refrigerant charged, and many other avoidable errors can contribute to compressor failure, and a new compressor typically costs more than $1,300.
Some people might look at the price tag for a new compressor and decide that they don’t have money to spend on “less essential” maintenance. Their logic goes something like this: “why would I pay to have my ducts cleaned, or my refrigerant charged when I need to save up money for a new compressor? Why not save money by ignoring service calls until I need to replace a part?” That kind of circular logic can end up costing air conditioner owners thousands of additional dollars over time. The fact of the matter is that if you pay for regular service in the first place, you often circumvent the issues that would cause compressor failure eventually. Even if you spent $200 on a service call once every year, it would be more than six years before those costs exceeded a single compressor replacement.
For Best Results, Combine DIY Maintenance with Regular Service
The best way to avoid high-cost air conditioner repairs is to take diligent care of your system on your own and to call professionals for yearly HVAC check-ups. DIY maintenance is quite simple, and doing a few easy things on a regular basis will prevent many expensive issues from occurring prematurely:
Change your filters at least once a month so that fresh air can flow freely throughout your system. Dirty filters reduce airflow, forcing your compressor to work harder than average and wearing it out faster than usual.
Clear debris from the area surrounding your outdoor unit every two weeks or so. If grass, twigs, insect nests or other debris become trapped in your outdoor unit, they can sully your blower fan or create a blockage in your system that puts strain on the compressor and can also affect the quality of air in your home.
Check your condensate drain for leaks or cracks in the pan. A malfunctioning drain can cause water to spill out onto the floor near your indoor unit, where it can damage sensitive electronic parts and become a safety hazard.
You should also consider arranging a service contract with a trusted HVAC service technician. A service contract guarantees you consistent and regular service calls from a technician who will develop specific knowledge of your system over time. Having a better understanding of your system allows them to identify problems that have the potential to become worse, and offer to solve them for a reasonable price before it hits that point. Think of service calls like an early warning system for your air conditioner.
Air conditioner repair cost can be significant, but only when you leave smaller problems alone for too long. Don’t neglect your system, and don’t be afraid of your HVAC technician. In fact, the more involved you are and the sooner you call for help, the more you’ll save.