Regular maintenance is a standard part of owning an air conditioner, and there are a variety of services you need to keep your system in good shape throughout the year. If you find yourself dreading the hottest months of the year because of what maintenance might cost, here are some ways you can spend less on maintenance and gain some peace of mind in the process.
Sign Up for a Maintenance Contract
There are a few ways to handle AC maintenance and repairs: you can call a contractor for service every year or call them on an as-needed basis. A potential drawback of this method is fluctuation in pricing that can be affected by multiple factors like high demand and availability of parts. A good alternative here is a maintenance contract, where you sign up to receive specific services every year for a flat fee.
The first benefit here is that prices won't fluctuate, so you won't suddenly be charged more for surges in service calls in your area. It also encourages regular maintenance, which can help your air conditioner last longer. Finally, you can often find discounts and other specials for maintenance contracts, which means even more money saved. Do some research and find out which contracts offer what you want at a price you like; some specific services may vary depending on who you're looking at, so double check everything.
Do Some Work Yourself
There are many things that only trained HVAC contractors can do, but you can save a little money here and there by doing some very basic routine maintenance. For example, you can keep your air conditioning unit clean, make sure the condensate drain is free of any blockage, and check for any visible signs of wear and wear to any of its parts. This can include checking the dedicated circuit your air conditioner uses to check for any fraying wires, any odors of smoke, or walls that feel warm to the touch. If you notice any signs of a damaged circuit, avoid using your air conditioner until an electrician can take a look; this will prevent the problem from getting any worse, and can save you much more expensive repairs down the road.
You can also do things like replacing your air filter on a regular basis. You should replace it every two to three months with heavy use, and while filter changing is offered as a service by many contractors, this is something you can do yourself.
Buy Spare Parts to Save
Many air conditioner issues are caused by a single component failing, many of which can be easily replaced. The only problem is that during seasons of peak demand, contractors and even stores find themselves out of stock, causing what might be a simple fix to potentially take days to fix.
You can get ahead of this problem by buying some common and inexpensive parts early on. Some of these common parts include fuses, capacitors, and air filters. If you want to be extra safe, you can buy components like fan belts and an extra thermostat with batteries to spare. Not only does this ensure you have several common parts for if your air conditioner suddenly stops working, but some of these parts you can even replace yourself. Either way, you save money by buying components before they hit high demand, and you save time by keeping spare parts readily available.