You’ve heard HVAC professionals suggest that your air conditioning system should be inspected and tuned-up each year before the warm weather starts, but you may wonder how important an annual tune-up really is. Annual check-ups are as important for your air conditioning system as they are for your car. Having your air conditioning unit inspected and tuned-up can identify small issues with your system before they become larger ones and end up costing you a lot of money and aggravation.

Regular maintenance is known to reduce equipment breakdowns by as much as 95%. It can extend the life of your unit by as much as 7 years. An annual tune-up will also keep your system running more efficiently, saving you up to 30% on energy bills.

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How Much Does It Cost?

An annual tune-up of your air conditioning system will cost around $75 to $100, however, the savings that you incur by extending the life of your system, as well as reducing your energy costs, will more than pay for the annual fee.

Think about it the same way you think about maintaining your automobile with regular tune-ups, oil changes, and tire rotations. Like your automobile, your air conditioner is an expensive item and should be treated the same as any large investment. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.

What is Included in a Checkup?

The technicians should check how well the unit is functioning, clean the condenser coils, lubricate all moving parts to keep them from experiencing wear and tear and help them run more efficiently, inspect ductwork to check for energy loss, inspect and tighten all the electrical connections, evaluate the level of coolant and check that there are no leaks, and calibrate all thermostats to ensure that they are working properly.

An air conditioning unit that is well maintained and taken care of can last up to 15 years. One that is ignored and not taken care of may only last 7 years. It will also lose about 5% of its efficiency per year. Air conditioning units cost around $5,000 to replace, so if you can extend the life of yours twice as long by properly maintaining it, you will have saved the cost of an entire unit by the time you have to replace yours.


One of the most expensive repairs that you can incur on your air conditioning unit involves repairing a refrigerant leak. The most common refrigerant is R-22, also called freon. R-22 is being replaced by the more eco-friendly R-410A through a mandatory government phase-out. R-410A cannot be used in older units. For that reason, it is very important to prevent leaks of freon because, due to the phase-out, it has become expensive to replace. In fact, the cost of freon has increased by 60-70% in the last few years. It may be so expensive to replace a freon leak that it would be more economically sound to just purchase a new unit.

What Homeowners Can Do

Homeowners can play a part in keeping their units running efficiently by changing the filters on their heating, ventilation and cooling systems four times a year. This will help keep them running smoothly and improve the airflow within the home.

Who Should Provide Maintenance?

Homeowners should get a licensed HVAC company to service and maintain their units each year. A licensed, experienced professional can give you the peace of mind that they are trustworthy and know what they are doing. Also, warranty companies will usually only honor the contracts if you use licensed professionals to do the work. Make sure to check out reviews and ratings for the company prior to using them. If they tell you something that doesn’t sound right, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.

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