Air Conditioner Inspection: What You Need To Know

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It’s officially summer, and you know what Summer means in the inland parts of the San Francisco Bay Area! You’ll soon be switching your thermostat from heating to cooling, but you might be remembering those crazy energy bills from last summer and are dreading turning your AC unit back on. Before cranking the AC to the max, first make sure you do a thorough air conditioner inspection.

You rely on your air conditioner to keep your home cool and comfy during those scorching months so you want to ensure it works at peak performance before you need it. That’s where an air conditioner inspection comes in handy, it’s preventative!

An AC inspection helps avoid those costly, last-minute repair calls when it’s already sweltering outside. I will tell you what you can expect and what I look for when conducting a professional air conditioner inspection.

Key Takeaways:

  • Preventative Maintenance: Regular AC inspections prevent major malfunctions and ensure efficient performance.
  • Cost Savings: Inspections help lower energy bills and avoid costly repairs by addressing minor issues early.
  • Extended Lifespan: Routine checks prolong the AC unit’s lifespan by preventing strain and premature failure.
  • Better Air Quality: Inspections improve indoor air quality by removing dust, pollen, and mold from the system.
  • Comprehensive Checks: Inspections include thorough checks of all AC components to ensure optimal operation.

Why AC Inspections Are a Smart Move

Think of it like taking your car in for a tune-up. You get regular oil changes and check-ups to ensure everything’s running smoothly. That prevents major breakdowns down the road.

It’s the same concept with an air conditioner inspection. A yearly inspection not only keeps your air conditioner running efficiently and in many cases keeps your warranty valid, it also helps identify any problems before they become serious issues. Let’s take a closer look at why an air conditioner inspection is a smart move.

Prolonging Your System’s Lifespan

Want to get the most out of your air conditioner investment? Regular AC inspections are your secret weapon. They can extend the life of your AC system significantly. How? 

Well, I look for minor wear and tear that could lead to major malfunctions if ignored. Tightening electrical connections, checking refrigerant levels, making sure coils are clean… it’s about addressing small issues now so they don’t become expensive headaches later.

If I catch these minor problems early, you avoid strain on your entire system. A strained system is forced to work harder, using more energy, and ultimately, failing prematurely.

Think about the condenser fins that run along the outside of your unit; thin metal slats. I have found that if more than 20 percent of these fins are bent, it makes your unit less efficient. An AC inspection is about maximizing the longevity of your cooling system.

Lower Energy Bills, Happy Wallet

Are you tired of seeing those sky-high summer energy bills? Let me tell you a secret – a neglected, inefficient air conditioner is often the culprit. When dirt builds up on coils or air filters get clogged, it makes your AC unit work harder.

A well-maintained AC unit doesn’t have to overwork. It operates at peak efficiency, saving energy, and keeping your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

I can tell you, that a lot of homeowners are unaware of how much air can escape through leaky ducts. It’s staggering to see it can be as much as 20 to 30% of the air that passes through.

An AC inspection includes checking for air leaks, proper insulation, and other energy-saving aspects. These help your system function efficiently and cut down on those energy bills. Everybody likes a smaller electricity bill.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Think an air conditioner is just about keeping you cool? Not so fast. There’s something most people don’t consider: the air quality inside your house.

Here’s the thing – your air conditioning system circulates the air you breathe. A properly maintained system circulates cleaner air.

Think about it. The dust, pollen, and mold spores in your home collect in your system. An air conditioner inspection checks the filters and coils inside the home, and other parts for potential air contaminants.

We’ve worked with lots of families who struggle with allergies or asthma. An air conditioner inspection gives homeowners peace of mind by addressing concerns about indoor air.  A service tech will take a look at your HVAC equipment and check for dirt and dust buildup, as a build-up can impact indoor air quality.

Catching Issues Before They Explode Into Bigger Issues

Catching those tiny problems early can prevent catastrophic (and costly) system failures. Let me explain. 

A refrigerant leak, for example, may go unnoticed at first. But left unchecked, it causes your system to work harder and eventually the components break down completely.

Regularly inspecting the compressor, refrigerant lines, coils, and drain pan means I spot problems before they escalate. This saves money and the stress of unexpected breakdowns. 

Understanding The Air Conditioner Inspection Process

Here’s the breakdown of what a typical air conditioner inspection looks like. When you book an appointment with Bellows Service, expect a skilled technician who has years of experience. You want to make sure they come equipped with tools to perform various tests and a detailed checklist of components to check.

Inspection of Components

I like to break the inspection process into several key areas. Each plays an important role in ensuring your air conditioner’s optimal performance. Here’s the rundown:

Component What the Inspector Looks For
Air filter Cleanliness, obstructions, proper airflow, need for replacement
Thermostat Accurate temperature readings, calibration, responsiveness to settings, programming for smart thermostats
Evaporator and Condenser Coils Dirt buildup, debris obstructions, cleanliness, impact on heat transfer
Refrigerant Levels Proper charge for system specifications, signs of leaks or depletion, and performance impact
Electrical Connections Secure wiring, signs of corrosion or damage, tightness and integrity, safety risks
Drain Pan and Line Clear and unobstructed drain lines, cleanliness of drain pan, potential leaks or blockages, risk of water damage
Condenser Unit (outside) Clear space for proper airflow, no debris obstructions, general condition, functionality

Functionality and Performance Tests

A good air conditioner inspection goes beyond a simple visual check. This includes:

  • Measuring air temperature difference to determine cooling capacity
  • Checking fan motor for smooth operation, amp draw, and lubrication
  • Monitoring refrigerant pressure for proper system charge

These checks help evaluate how efficiently your air conditioner works. They highlight potential areas that need adjustment. This gives you peace of mind, knowing that every part of your system has been looked at and addressed by an expert.

Frequently Asked Questions About Air Conditioner Inspection

It’s important to be armed with knowledge when it comes to your air conditioner’s health. You should understand all that is involved. It’s natural to have questions.

I’ve worked with a lot of homeowners in the Bay Area area, and they often ask the same ones. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions.

FAQs about air conditioner inspection

How Often Should You Inspect an AC?

It’s generally best to schedule regular AC inspections at least once a year, ideally in the spring, before the summer heat kicks in.

What Does an Air Conditioner Check-Up Consist Of?

A technician examines different components for cleanliness, proper operation, and potential signs of wear and tear. They perform tests to make sure everything is in working order, ensuring that things like:

  • Your electrical components (including wiring)
  • The condensate pump
  • Evaporator coil
  • Drain pan
  • Service agreement
  • Condenser fan
  • Labor warranty
  • Refrigerant charge
  • Cooling season
  • And the blower motor all look good and functions correctly.

They also make sure that things like refrigerant levels, air filters, supply registers, drain pan, electrical connections, condensate pump, and blower motor are clean, well-maintained, and not causing issues.

How to Self-Inspect HVAC?

While it’s great to be hands-on, always prioritize your safety. Make sure the AC is OFF and unplugged when conducting an inspection. Start by examining the outdoor unit, and checking the condenser fan.

Look at your condenser fins, too – straightening bent fins very gently with a fin comb. Inside, check your air filter for dirt and dust and replace it as needed, paying close attention to your evaporator coil, electrical components (including wiring) drain pan, supply registers, refrigerant charge, condensate pump, safety features, and blower motor.

Be careful. If something seems amiss or out of your comfort zone, immediately call an expert.

Let Bellows Service Handle Your Air Conditioner Inspection

An air conditioner inspection is essential to making sure you have a cool and comfy summer. Scheduling this will help protect your investment and make sure everything is in great working order. To schedule your service or for more information, contact Bellows Service today.

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