How Soon Does Your New Air Conditioner Require Service?

Installing a new air conditioning system can be exciting, especially if you've been dealing with an old, unreliable, or poorly sized system for many years. Of course, no one wants to think about maintenance and repair requirements after spending plenty of money on a brand-new air conditioner. If you're like most people, you probably want to set your thermostat and forget about it.

Unfortunately, deferring maintenance is one of the best ways to turn your new and reliable system into a potential trouble spot for your home. Keeping up with maintenance will ensure that your new system functions as you expect for many years, but how can you know when you need to start worrying about maintenance and service? The answer is more straightforward than you might expect.

The Homeowner's Checklist

First and foremost, it's critical to understand that there's no such thing as a "set it and forget it" air conditioning system. Your home's air conditioner cycles air throughout the house all summer long, so there's always wear occurring on its essential components. In particular, dust, debris, and contaminants continually pass through your ductwork where your filter traps them.

Your outdoor condenser unit is another maintenance must-do. This unit rejects heat collected inside your home, but it needs clear and clean condenser coils to do so efficiently. The fan on the condenser unit constantly pulls air through the coils, which can cause them to become gunked up over time. Weeds may also grow around the unit, reducing airflow efficiency.

Regardless of your skill level, these two items form the core of your AC service checklist. No matter how new your system is, you'll need to replace your air filter on a regular schedule according to its size. It's also a good idea to check it at least once per month. Additionally, you should keep the area around your condenser clear and gently rinse the coils with water at least once per season.

Stepping Up to Professional Service

Filter changes and condenser cleaning will get your new system off on the right foot, but they won't give it the best chance of leading a long, trouble-free service life. The best way to avoid problems is to schedule annual maintenance visits with an experienced HVAC contractor. You may be able to schedule these at the same time as your furnace maintenance, saving some money in the process.

It's best to begin scheduling these services as soon as possible, so the ideal time to start is within the first year after installing your new system. This initial check-up will ensure everything is working as you expect, allowing your contractor to make adjustments as needed and begin the valuable routine of servicing your system at least once per year.

It's also worth keeping in mind that some air conditioning manufacturers require annual service visits to maintain a basic or extended warranty. You should check with your installer to determine if this applies to you. However, the benefits of annual service are worthwhile even if a professional visit isn't necessary to keep your warranty up-to-date. 

For more information on air conditioning services, contact a professional near you.