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How To Avoid Expensive Air Conditioning Repairs

By: Mike Thomas

As a new homeowner, you have a lot to do getting unpacked, furniture arranged and settling in to new surroundings. Although the house and its systems passed any inspections, there are things you need to keep in mind. Maintaining the one system that uses the most energy is the smartest thing you can do for your new home. The HVAC unit is made up of different components:

  1. The indoor blower unit
  2. The ducting system and
  3. The outdoor condenser unit.

Maintaining each will save money and extend the useful life of the unit.

Speak to the neighbors about the best HVAC repair company in the area. A service contract is a wonderful gift to give yourself. Every spring and fall, a technician will inspect and tune the HVAC system so that your home will be comfortable and use the least amount of energy possible. Add ducting system maintenance to the contract, if possible. If you need repairs, you will get priority scheduling in an emergency and discounts on parts and labor.

The first component you can maintain is the indoor blower unit. Every month, clean or change the filter. A wide variety of filters are available to remove contaminants from the indoor air. You can choose anything from simple paper filters to HEPA certified filters. This helps keep the coils clean and operating efficiently. Pour a cup of bleach into the drain pan and one into the main drain pipe. This kills mold, algae and fungus that could cause blockages or problems. A blocked line allows water to drip or back up into the house, causing problems. This is the most common type of air conditioning repair homeowners call professionals to fix.

The second component is the most often ignored until a major problem exists. The ducting system carries cold or hot air throughout the house. Leaks in the metal allow moist air to enter the attic and damage the insulation, wood and ceiling materials. Lack of insulation around the duct will allow condensation to take place; stains on the ceiling will be a telltale sign. Mold, bacteria, dust, dirt and fungus can build up in the system throughout the season. An annual cleaning/inspection by a reputable air conditioning repair service will provide your home with healthier air and lower utility bills. The HVAC unit will not have to make up the difference.

The last component is the outdoor condenser. This houses the refrigerant tank, the condenser coils and the fan. Inspect the unit and remove any debris from the top or sides. Air must be allowed to flow freely. Straighten any bent aluminum fins using a fin comb. If the fan blade wobbles or is not working, you should call for repair immediately.

It is easier to avoid needing an emergency or expensive air conditioning repair by maintaining the HVAC system in your new home. It only takes a few minutes each month.


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†Average repair and replacement costs as reported in a nationwide survey: A Study of Homeowners Appliance and Home System Service Experiences Decision Analyst (2011) and reprinted with their written permission.

Home protection plans are subject to exclusions and limitations including repairs or replacements of covered home system components and appliances. See contract for details.