People tend to take their air conditioners for granted. They turn them on, let them run all hot season long, and then turn them off in the fall. Only the hypervigilant homeowner will do anything else about his/her air conditioner. However, there are multiple common and uncommon air conditioning services you need now and maybe a few you will need later on.
Services You Need Now
All air conditioners need maintenance, with the exception of geothermal units, which do not need as much maintenance as the rest. During a maintenance visit, the HVAC technician does a full inspection of all components to make sure that they are in excellent working order with no holes and no leaks. He/she may refill refrigerant as needed, check pumps and lines, and run electrical tests, if applicable. Regular maintenance on your unit ensures that it will continue to run for a long time to come.
Replacement of Worn Parts
If your unit is older than five years (as many are when you buy a house), there may be a part or two that need to be replaced. Discovery of worn parts often occurs during a routine maintenance visit. If your technician tells you that a part is worn and needs replacing now, replace it now rather than later.
Less Common Services You May Need Later
Dead Animal Removal
Unusual smells coming into your home may be the result of an animal crawling into the unit's outdoor components and dying there. Subsequently, the smell finds its way into your home and continues until you either turn off the air conditioner or call in the technician to find out what is going on. He/she will open things up, find the carcass, remove it, and then your home will smell better when your A/C is turned on again. The most common animals in these instances are small birds and mice.
Complete Removal/Replacement of Your Unit
About once every two decades (or sooner!), most A/C units need a full removal and replacement. They are not designed to last forever, regardless of how well cared-for they are. If you buy a home with an air conditioner already in use, there is a good chance that it may give you another five to ten years at best, or one to five years at worst. Be prepared for it by finding out how old it is when you buy the house, and having a plan to replace it when you need to replace it.
For more information, consult with an air conditioning service in your area.
A few years ago, I could tell that we were having serious furnace problems. In addition to dealing with a house that was constantly too cold or too warm, we were also plagued by a noisy, smelly furnace that seemed to have trouble on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough about furnaces at the time to spot the problems quickly. One day, the entire system died, and it was beyond repair. After having that experience, I learned a lot about HVAC systems, so that I could troubleshoot future systems. This website is all about teaching you what you need to know so that you don't end up in the same situation.