Central Air Conditioning Repair or Maintenance

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How often should you have your air conditioner serviced?

You should have your air conditioner and HVAC system serviced at least once per year. This is especially important if you hear a strange noise coming from your system, if your energy bill is higher than normal or if the system just isn’t working well. 

However, preventative maintenance is less expensive than fixing problems. For this reason, it’s important to have a pro come in every spring (before the hot summer weather hits) and service your system. You should also keep the unit clean and change the air filter yourself.

Contact the best central air repair pros near you to schedule annual maintenance.

Also read, “The best HVAC maintenance tips.

Does central air need maintenance?

Yes. Due to a variety of moving parts, liquid refrigerant and the tendency for dirt and dust to collect on sensitive parts, central air requires maintenance. Air conditioner filters are the first line of defense for the unit, blocking dirt from entering the unit’s evaporator and causing damage. The coils of the evaporator and condenser can also collect dirt and lose efficiency. Coil fins can also become bent, and condenser drains can become clogged.

Contact a central air conditioning repair professional near you to schedule regular maintenance for your unit.

What happens if AC is not serviced?

If an AC unit is not serviced, your unit will not perform correctly and you’ll likely waste energy (and receive higher energy bills).

Your unit’s efficiency will decrease due to dust buildup on the evaporator and condenser coils, and the air coming from the AC unit will be dirtier. Fans and electric coils may lose their lubrication and burn out from friction. Other regular wear and tear issues will also occur eventually. 

Contact the best central air repair pros near you to schedule annual maintenance and prevent the need for costly repairs down the line.

How do I fix my central air conditioner?

Here are some tips on how to fix — or at least troubleshoot — your central air conditioner. Start by checking the circuit breaker. Turn it off and back on. If it trips, there’s an electrical problem with either the circuit breaker or the AC unit. Next, check to make sure that the air registers (metal grates through which air enters the room) are open. Check your furnace filter for clogs, and replace if necessary. Finally, clean off your outdoor condenser coils, as even a small dust buildup can cause problems.

If you run into obstacles, don’t hesitate to contact the best central air conditioning pros near you for help.

Why is my AC running but not cooling the house?

our air conditioning may be malfunctioning because of an electrical problem within the unit itself, but there are some other common causes as well. For example, you might not have enough refrigerant or there might be a leak. The air registers (floor vents, wall grates, etc.) may be closed. The air filter on the furnace or unit may be old or clogged and need to be changed. The outdoor condenser coils may also need a wipe down, which is recommended every few months. 

If you cannot identify the problem in one of these quick fixes, it’s best to contact a pro near you to assess and fix the problem.

Why is my air conditioner leaking water?

An air conditioner leaking inside the house is a common problem. It could indicate that the air filter is dirty. Or, one of the following may be the culprit:

  • Clogged condensate drain line
  • Leaky, damaged, cracked or rusted drain pan
  • Dirty or broken coils
  • Frozen evaporator coils
  • Broken condensate pump
  • Not enough refrigerant
  • Disconnected drain line

If your AC is leaking, contact a repair service to find out what the problem is — and how much it will cost to fix it.

Does an HVAC technician need to enter my home?

Because most HVAC systems are located in the home, it’s likely that an HVAC technician would need to enter yours when working on the projects. However, there might be exceptions. Some HVAC systems are located in garages or in areas of the house that are sectioned off. During the consultation, ask your technician if they'll need to enter your home.

When you contact local technicians, ask if they’ll perform a video call in place of a traditional consultation. Be sure to send all materials like photos and documents digitally, and comply with all relevant guidelines.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a HVAC technician during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up a safe consultation or appointment with an HVAC technician during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by comparing technicians in your area in an online search. Message or call technicians to ask whether they can perform a consultation over the phone or even over a video call. This way, they can assess the problem without increasing the risk of virus transmission by visiting your house. 

If it turns out the service is essential, you’ll need to follow CDC guidelines as well as local government guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire an HVAC technician when social distancing?

If you decide to hire a technician for an HVAC repair or installation project, practice current social distancing guidelines. This may require remaining outside while the technician works or ensuring the technician can work in a sectioned-off area or outbuilding.

Comply with social distancing guidelines while the technician is performing work. Do not make physical contact with technicians, maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you at all times, sanitize all involved spaces and surface and pay using a digital platform instead of cash or a check.

Do HVAC technicians offer remote or virtual services?

Because HVAC technicians need to be physically present to do their work, they have not conventionally offered remote or virtual services. However, with the importance of social distancing due to COVID-19, the need for remote capabilities is greater than ever. If you come across a profile that states the HVAC technician or AC professional is offering remote services, message the pro to find out what those services include.

Consult with your technician to see if the technician will be able to perform a video call consultation. You can find local technicians near you by searching online.

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