Is it necessary to service the AC every year?

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Wondering how essential it really is to have service done for your air conditioner? While every homeowner can ultimately be the judge on how often regular maintenance tasks should be performed for their cooling system, if you ultimately want to save money on repairs that could grow large and expensive if not caught early on,. It also only takes a couple of hours, so it is a small project that will not intrude too much on your schedule. Not regularly servicing your AC system could lead to higher energy costs as the air conditioner loses its efficiency and strains itself trying to provide cool air to the house.

Young Asian technician checking conditioner in kitchen

Today’s article will look at the signs that you need to have a maintenance check on your air conditioning unit, when the best time to get maintenance done would be, what services you can expect from professional maintenance as well as what preventative maintenance you can perform on your own, and specifically how all of this work can ultimately help your central air conditioning system.

Signs Your Air Conditioning Unit Needs Service

Before your AC system heads towards completely breaking down, there could be several signs that you could detect that will tell you maintenance work is needed.


If you find that your air conditioner blows hot air instead of cool air, it could mean that you have a refrigerant leak or a faulty compressor. Also, if the airflow is weak, it could mean there is a blockage somewhere that is preventing the AC from moving the air efficiently into your house. This could lead to you cranking the thermostat lower and lower, using up more energy that could be saved.

Strange sounds/smells

Hearing any unusually loud sounds from your unit, especially if they are new, definitely means it is a good idea to get your air conditioner serviced. Depending on the type of sound you hear, the problem could range from something minor and easy to fix to something major and potentially hazardous. Strange odors can also be a warning sign that something is wrong, like mold growing from built-up moisture or a burning scent that could indicate something overheating.

Unit turning on and off

An AC unit shutting on and off frequently definitely means there could be a problem. The temperature in the house will begin to fluctuate, and the system shutting on and off again means it is struggling to meet and sustain your cooling temperature setting. This will also raise your energy bills since the system is operating so sporadically.

The Best Time For Air Conditioner Maintenance

Twice a year is really ideal for routine maintenance on an HVAC system, but once a year at least can suffice to make sure your cooling and heating systems operate at full capacity. But when is the right time to schedule service for air conditioners?

It is best not to wait for the summer heat to officially begin before getting a tune-up scheduled for your AC system. If there are issues found within your air conditioner, you could be forced to wait a while until an HVAC contractor is able to schedule a repair or order you new parts, leaving you without a functioning cooling system during the hot weather season. This can be especially problematic if a heat wave happens to occur.

It is also not recommended to schedule AC maintenance in the winter months. The oil within an air conditioner grows thicker if exposed to cold outside temperatures, which decreases the circulation and increases the danger of your AC unit malfunctioning if run during the colder months.

Spring is the best time to schedule AC service, before any extreme weather begins. Before we officially enter cooling season, it is best to have any tune-ups done beforehand so that you enter the season with your AC running at optimal performance for the summer months.

AC Unit Services

There are multiple areas that professional air conditioner maintenance will cover to make sure your unit operates at maximum efficiency. Regardless of how many times you have a service done for your HVAC system, the following jobs will usually be included:

Air Filters

When an air filter is dirty, it can seriously restrict air flow in your system and put a strain on all of the major components as they try to work to achieve your desired temperature. A filter’s job is to prevent debris from entering the air handler, and when this debris, like pollen, dust, pet hair, etc., builds up, it can create severe blockages. If left unchecked for a long period of time, dirty filters can eventually cause a major breakdown. Regularly changing these filters before they become overly clogged with debris is very important for maintaining air conditioner health.


The debris that collects within ductwork can linger for decades if not cleaned, and since that air blows back into your home through your air conditioning system, it is extremely unhealthy for your home’s air quality. A professional HVAC company can use the best cleaning tools to get your ducts cleaned and sanitized from the various dust and allergens that build up over time and can circulate through your system and your home.


Since your thermostat essentially acts as the main controller of your air conditioner, it is very important to know that it is working correctly, or your electric bill could suffer. Changing batteries at least once a year or when you get a weak battery notification is important. It is also recommended to install a programmable thermostat so that you can set temperatures for different times throughout the day and save money on energy.


Your air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil are important parts of the system that can also become dirty without regular maintenance. The condenser coils in the outdoor unit work to cool the refrigerant that the evaporator coils within the indoor unit remove heat and moisture from. These can collect dirt as well and will need to be cleaned in order for the air conditioner to work with the proper level of efficiency.

DIY AC Maintenance

Though having annual service performed by a certified technician is an important and safe way to maintain your AC unit, there are also some areas of air conditioning maintenance that you can perform yourself. You can also do things like take a fin comb to straighten out crooked and bent fins on a small air conditioner in your room. The steps above can be performed on your own if needed, but it is still best to have a professional take a look at your unit at least once a year to make sure there are no serious problems, and in case there needs to be work done, that can be more safely handled by an HVAC technician. It is also helpful to get expert advice on steps to take to ensure continued energy efficiency with your HVAC system.

Why Air Conditioner Maintenance Is Crucial

It is important to know just exactly what annual maintenance can do to benefit your cooling and heating systems and how it can contribute to an AC’s efficiency in the long run. These are the biggest reasons why annual air conditioner service is vital to your system:

1) Avoid Expensive Repair

A yearly tune up will be far less costly than an AC repair job, and such pricy repairs can be caught early on with continuous check ups. Most air conditioners will be able to avoid any malfunctions in the first place simply by receiving continuous service that can keep them in tip-top shape before the beginning of every hot weather season. Going through a service job before getting into the summer months is also a great peace-of-mind guarantee that you will have a well-prepared cooling system that will be able to help you stay cool as the heat outside begins to rise.

2) Your AC Will Last Longer

Because of regular maintenance’s ability to get ahead of any possible problems that an air conditioner might encounter, pursuing constant service will help your system to work efficiently for the entirety of its lifespan, and possibly even beyond. Preventing things like water damage, motor deterioration, or filter clogs can help save your air conditioner over time from repeated damages that wear it out for before it should begin to break down. If it continually operates at top efficiency, its length of life can significantly increase, helping you to stay away from frequent replacements due to faulty air conditioners.

3) Warranty

There are many home warranty options for air conditioners that can help you find a cost-effective way to keep up with regular tune-ups. Many warranties for air conditioner brands require scheduled maintenance for the unit. While prices may vary depending on the type of AC unit you have, plans can cover annual maintenance for anything from a heat pump to an air compressor unit. You can usually break the cost of a warranty down into either monthly or yearly payments, and the cost of the warranty will still be far less than the cost of frequent repairs or replacements would be for a neglected AC.

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Good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems are vital in every North California home. John Owens Services, Inc. is proud to be the expert plumbing company you can count on

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Our philosophy is simple, we always want to maintain equipment to give it the longest life possible. Next, we want to focus on repairing when something goes wrong. Then only as the last choice, we replace equipment when needed. That’s the John Owens Way.

San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464