Air Conditioning and Heating System Repairs and Maintenance

Periodic HVAC maintenance reduces the need for repair in air conditioning and heating systems. Taking a few moments to learn more about air conditioning and heating systems will save you time and money when you choose a local company to maintain or repair your HVAC system.

Choosing an HVAC contractor when you have adequate time to do so systematically gives the best results—much better than picking one out of the phone book to respond to a heating or cooling emergency.

This page gives a quick overview on how to get your air conditioner and heater repaired. After this, you can go to the list on the right side of this page with contact information on air conditioning and heating companies in your city or to more details on related topics.

(1) Don’t delay when you need air conditioner or heater repair
If you smell gas, send everyone out of your home and call your gas provider’s emergency telephone number immediately. If your air conditioner won’t cool, makes odd noises or freezes up, turn your thermostat to “off” and call your service company without delay. Running your A/C system when it isn’t working properly can turn a small repair into a much larger one.

(2) For your health, comfort and financial well-being, change or clean your air conditioning filters regularly per the manufacturers specifications. Depending on your equipment, the type of air filters you use, and the quality of the air being filtered, air filters need to be changed (or cleaned) somewhere between twice a month to once per year. On the disposable air filters, changing them once per month when you pay your utility bill is a good way to remember. Never run your heating and air conditioning system without the correct air filter in place. The correct filter will be the correct size in length, width, and thickness, plus allow the amount of air required by your equipment to pass through.

(3) Have your air ducts checked periodically for leaks. Leaking ducts cause more than 20% of the losses of heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you are on a maintenance program with your air conditioning and heating company, leak detection could be included. If air ducts are located in a hot or cold space such as an attic, have the outside of the ducts insulated to reduce heat loss. Having leaky ducts saves wear and tear on both your heating and cooling equipment and lowers your monthly bills.

(4) Duct cleaning: the subject of diverging opinions
Some service companies state they can clean the inside of your air ducts in a variety of ways. Prices vary accordingly. Other companies state that, unless your system has been run without a filter, moisture has entered the system, or your ductwork has a leak on the return side, duct cleaning should not be necessary.

Other sources speculate that the cleaning process could cause or increase air leaks from the ducts. If your ducts do need cleaning, you should have the cause of the problem determined and removed first. We recommend that you ask the air conditioning and heating company you trust with the regular maintenance of your system—not a company that only offers duct cleaning.

(5) When you have work done on your system, ask about an electronic programmable thermostat
The timer function saves unnecessary wear on your heating and cooling system plus saves energy. Thermostats that cover both cooling and heating can deliver more comfort and lower bills year around.

(6) As A/C and heating systems get older, they usually require more service calls. Since your system works hardest during periods of extreme heat or cold, when it does develop a problem, it is more likely to occur on a day you need cooling or heating the most.

(7) Annual maintenance agreements are often a good value in air conditioning and heating. Why? (a) Maintenance agreement costs are mostly for labor. Without regular maintenance, you are more likely to later pay for labor and parts in repairs. (b) Maintenance helps prevent unplanned, inconvenient repairs, which are more likely to be needed during the first hot or cold days of the season. (c) Maintenance includes cleaning and adjustments that cause your HVAC system to run more efficiently. This lowers your monthly cooling and heating energy costs. (d) Maintenance will help prevent related damage such as A/C drain line or pan water leaks through your ceiling or dangerous carbon monoxide gas producing malfunctions within your heating system.

(8) A well-maintained air conditioning and heating system can last up to 15 or 20 years, however… Due to improvements in energy efficiency, if your A/C system is more than 10 years old, it often makes sense to replace your old system before it quits or repair frequency increases. Some components in the heating system can last even longer. Much of the time, you are better off if you can afford to replace both the A/C and heating components together.

(9) Repair vs. replacement on an older air conditioning and heating system. If you are “on the fence” in your decision to repair or replace your HVAC system, you can ask your air conditioning and heating contractor if they can send a technician(s) who can both repair the system and give a price quote for a new one. If you do this, the company might refund the service call or trip charge on the repair if you buy a new system from them soon after. It should not hurt to ask. If the contractor agrees, have them write the arrangement on your receipt.

(10) When negotiating a contract to buy a previously owned home
you may need a heating and cooling professional to evaluate the status of the air conditioning and heating system. Since you do not yet own the home, this creates some special circumstances. To get the information you need and keep your options open, you can request a combination repair and replacement estimate. For more details on this topic, go to expanded page on this topic.

(11) Take a “whole house” approach to heating and air conditioning your home or business. Energy conservation measures cause your heating and A/C system to work less while keeping you comfortable. Be sure to consider energy conservation improvements whenever you review your heating and A/C needs. The contractor you choose might do all the related work or work closely with an energy conservation company. You might be able to get local rebates or federal tax credits on energy conservation improvements. Refer to the link to your city on right side of this page.