When you bring someone in your home to check your AC, you only expect the best, right? Your air conditioner is a complex system made up of two parts, the outdoor condenser and inside furnace. Believe it or not, your furnace does double duty all year. That’s why two inspections per year are critical for HVAC maintenance. If you’re wondering what’s included in an AC tune-up, we’re sharing everything below.
Just like our furnace tune-ups, there are 3 key parts of an AC tune-up: inspection, cleaning, and testing. Our HVAC experts conduct these in-depth tests to ensure the safety of the unit and to make sure your HVAC system is running at peak efficiency. If there are any problems with your AC system, the tech will let you know what’s going on and any suggested next steps.
What’s Included in An AC Tune-Up:
Fan Blade for Balance
- The fan blade is an essential part of our AC condenser. It creates air motion and is responsible for any cool air making it into your home.Anything that spins or rotates needs to be balanced. Without that balance the fan blade can’t operate properly and could potentially do serious damage to your system. For example, a fan blade that’s off balance can potentially hit and break the refrigerant line, damage aluminum parts, or fall off completely.The fan blade has weights in it. During an AC tune-up, your HVAC tech will adjust the weights as necessary to make sure the fan blade is balanced and spinning as it should.
Duct Supply and Return
- All the air in your home needs an entry and exit point. This is where the supply and return ducts come in. Your HVAC system will pull air from the home, essentially supply the system with more air. The supply duct will guide that air to the HVAC system.After temperature treating your air, the HVAC system then returns that air to your home. This journey is made through the return vent.During a tune-up, a tech will make sure air can flow freely in the supply and return ducts.
Indoor Coil and Blower Assembly
- Most homeowners don’t know that their furnace does a lot of work during AC season. The same system that heats your home is also responsible for cooling it. Central heating and cooling systems have two coils, one indoor and one outdoor.The indoor coil is above the furnace. Our techs will take extra care to check your indoor coil for issues and give it a nice, professional cleaning. They will also check the blower motor in your furnace.The blower motor that propels warm air through your furnace and into your home is also responsible for distributing cool air into your home. It gets checked twice per year because it’s always in use.
Bearings for Wear
- Bearings are an important tool for keeping the fan blade balanced. These small devices allow fans and wheels to spin smoothly. Bearings essentially bear the pressure. However, they need to be checked every year. Over time and with enough use, bearings can get dirty and will need to be cleaned, oiled, and sometimes even replaced.
- The rotating of the fan and the air compressor can cause a lot of vibrating. Over time and with enough use, this can dislodge some critical wiring. Service Champions techs are trained to fix that wiring on the spot. They will also make sure to secure electric connections and conduct a thermostat evaluation to make sure everything is working correctly.
- You wouldn’t have cool air without refrigerant. It’s an important part of the whole system, and it’s all delivered to your condenser through one single line. During an AC tune-up, our techs will inspect the refrigerant line for any cracks or damage.
- Technically the heat exchanger is part of your furnace, but our techs still make sure to look it over during an AC tune-up. Our techs do this because they want to make sure the heat exchanger made it through a season of use and it’s ready for the next fall and winter. We also want to see how your heat exchanged held up during the winter. It’s something you should fix or replace long before the fall.
- After the initial inspections, it’s time for cleaning. Your outdoor condenser coil is open to the elements. We advise against keeping it covered, so there will be some dirt and debris hiding in there. Our techs will take out the condenser coil and give it a professional cleaning.
HVAC Air Filter
- The biggest reason we change the air filter twice per year is because both warm and cool air go through it. Just like your furnace, it’s used throughout the entire year. After a season of use, your air filter can be full of dust, dander, dirt, and any other indoor air contaminates. For your safety, it’s important to be changed twice per year. The HVAC air filer also needs to be changed because a full filter can restrict airflow and cause unnecessary wear and tear to your system.
- The process of taking warm air and making it cool creates a lot of condensation. Your condenser is designed to flush that condensation through a drain. Southern California winds also kick a bunch of dust and dirt into your condenser. That debris can be flushed down the condensate drain with any lingering condensation.This mixture can clog the line like a backed up sink. And just like a backed up sink, it can spill over and leak. These leaks can cause drywall and property damage. We want to do everything we can to avoid these issues.
- One of our biggest cleaning jobs of an AC tune-up is the outside condenser. Your condenser tends to look a little worse for the wear after a season of rain and wind. During a tune-up, a Service Champions technician will use a hose to spray out and clean your entire condenser. After everything is washed down, they will apply a wax sealant. Think of it as a wash and wax you get for your car, but for your condenser.
Test and Measure:
- After all electrical wiring is put back into place, our techs will conduct tests to make sure everything works. As we mentioned above, if something is out of place, our techs will fix it right away.
- After checking all the wiring, the next thing our techs do is make sure the thermostat is properly communicating with the rest of your HVAC system. Think of the thermostat as the remote control of your HVAC system.Our techs will take a baseline reading of the thermostat, make sure it’s communicating correctly and make sure it’s in proper working order. We make sure all our techs have batteries so your thermostat can get some fresh juice.
- TXV stands for thermal expansion belt, a small name for a small part that has a big job. The TXV, sometimes called a metering service or device, regulates how much liquid refrigerant is coming into the system at any given time.This is important because sometimes you don’t want the AC on at full blast. You’ll want a moderate temperature. The TXV will make sure your system is only getting what it needs. This saves you a lot in operation costs and it helps prolong the lifespan of your equipment. During a tune-up, our techs will make sure to test the metering service/TXV and make sure it works to our high standards.
Service Valve Operation
- Are you familiar with the valve that’s used to test your tire’s pressure? AC units are equipped with a similar valve. Our techs test this valve because refrigerant could come leaking out of it if the valve is corroded or broken.Our techs are all equipped with electronic sniffers and soap bubbles to test the service valve. They’re looking to see if any refrigerant or gas is leaking from said valve. Fortunately, if something is wrong, our techs are outfitted with replacement valves and they will change yours on the spot, free of charge.
Safety Devices Operation
- Over the years, HVAC systems are outfitted with new safety devices to make sure nothing goes wrong with your equipment or does harm to your home or family. One of the safety devices we check is related to the condensate drain mentioned above.Up to 5 gallons of condensation can be flushed through that line. When the line is clogged, and that condensation has nowhere to go it can just build up in your system. If there is too much water in your condenser, the system will shut itself off to prevent damage to the condenser and damage to your home. We’ll test and make sure that safety device is working.
Refrigerant Charge Evaluation
- This evaluation makes sure the proper amount of refrigerant is being piped into the condenser. We like to compare this to blood pressure. High blood pressure can put someone at risk for a heart attack. While low blood pressure can weaken the system. We test to make sure your condenser receives the right amount of refrigerant.
Primary Motor Control Operation
- As with most other machines, your condenser has a motor that keeps it running. And just like most other machines, that motor has a lifespan. Fortunately, it’s easy for our techs to conduct a visual inspection of the motor to see how it’s holding up.They look for charred surfaces and soot remnants. These are telltale signs the motor is on its way out and should be replaced. We check things like this because catching a faulty motor early in the season could potentially save someone from investing in a whole new condenser.
Fan Motor Amperage and Voltage
- Every fan is engineered to have a specific amp and voltage average. We like to make sure everything is at the correct setting. When a fan motor is running too fast it means an equipment failure is on the horizon. Our techs are outfitted with special meters that will let them know the exact amperage and voltage of your fan motor.
Secondary Motor Control Operation
- The secondary motor control is responsible for the electric that’s released into your condenser. It stores electricity and releases it in specific intervals. It releases the electricity in spurts to keep the fan motor spinning at a specific rate.If the secondary motor control isn’t working correctly, it could negatively impact the compressor and the fan. While the fan and compressor are not cheap to fix, the secondary motor control operation is. We check this because we would rather catch and fix a small problem than a have it turn into a huge issue.
Compressor Amperage Draw and Voltage
- This is very similar to the fan motor. The compressor has specific, manufacturer provided numbers its amperage and voltage should be at. The amperage needs to be at a certain level because the electric company will charge you more when its too high. When the compressor is running more than it needs to be, it’s using a lot more energy and it’s sustaining a lot of unnecessary wear and tear.
Temperature Difference at Supply and Return
- Finally, when everything is checked, we go start the AC system and go into the home. Our techs take temperature readings at the supply and the return vents. There is a specific temperature ratio where each of these should be. Checking the temperatures is the last step of our AC tune-up.
Want the Best AC Tune-Up in Southern California?
At Service Champions, we like to live up to our name. We are the only Diamond Certified plumbing and HVAC company in Southern California, and we proudly serve our Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino communities. To schedule your own AC tune-up, dial the number at the top of the screen or click here to request an appointment online. Don’t forget, members of our CHAMP-Rewards program receive discounted tune-ups and courtesy calls when it’s time to service their system, no extra effort required.