Is your AC unit operating normally? Techs urge inspections to prevent stress, wear and tear

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Posted at 3:20 PM, May 19, 2021

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- When Jeremy Allen hears the sound of his air conditioning unit running, he knows it will mean relief from the summer heat for him and his dog.

"I think that unit is about 10 years old or so,” Allen said. “For it to be running at its best, I think it’s important that I get serviced and cleaned by a professional. "

He had Robert Hammond, the owner and operator of Puffin Mechanical, come to check it out and make sure it was running smoothly.

"It makes sense to have it running as efficiently as possible,” Hammond said.

That is why he is reminding homeowners to get their AC units checked now.

“You wouldn’t do that any different for your car. It’s important to have your oil changed,” Hammond said. “If not, stuff is going to run harder; it’s going to work harder. The same concept goes for the AC."

Without proper maintenance, an AC unit could run hotter and harder, which could damage the components inside the system. At that point, Hammond said you will have to replace the unit, and that could cost thousands of dollars.

“That’s one of the more costly repairs a homeowner can have,” Hammond said, citing that a new AC unit can cost anywhere between $6,000 to $9,000 depending on the size, model and efficiency.

Hammond said AC units should be checked by a technician now while it is still spring. He added technicians like himself get booked up fast as the summer approaches.

So, what can you expect from a technician?

“A technician is going to look at noticeable issues with the system, so they’re going to do a visual inspection,” Hammond explained. “The system should get a good cleaning on the coils because that’s one of the major elements to the system, as far as running efficiently."

The technician should do a thorough check both outside and inside your home. In Allen’s case, Hammond checked the electrical and the inside of the outdoor unit.

He removed dried-up debris that was inside the unit and then used a chemical to clean the metal grate siding. He then washed it down with water.

Hammond noticed insulation that needed to be replaced on the exhaust pipe. Hammond said replacing the insulation can help save energy and not force the unit to work as hard.

Related: Local homeowners getting ready to cut down on summer energy usage thanks to Home Energy Assessments

Inside the home, Hammond replaced an air filter and checked the coils inside an air conditioning component located in the attic.

Technicians should advise you of any issues. Unless you are a technician yourself, Hammond advises against repairing anything on your own.

“It’s one of those things you don’t think about, but you don’t want to wait until the unit is not running right,” Allen said.