Once the heat of the summer has abated, getting your AC system checked out is a prudent thing to do. Not only will this help you address any wear from use that may have occurred, but it will also provide an opportunity to address other components of your HVAC system too. Identifying areas of particular importance will help you focus a contractor's efforts, and help you avoid paying for billable hours that aren't necessary.
Components of Cooling
Inspecting and performing maintenance on the key parts of your HVAC system that provide your air conditioning is a good way to make sure it continues doing its job. Focus should be on the condenser tray under your unit, which normally prevents moisture from coming in contact with your home's structure. This tray is designed to drain to the exterior of your home, but if it becomes clogged or damaged it can begin dripping onto the insulation, framing and drywall within your home, resulting in mold, mildew and dry rot.
Outside you will find either a heat pump or a compressor coil, which functions much like the coils on the back of your refrigerator. Copper tubing is filled with Freon gas, the expansion and contraction of that gas produces the cooling effect that allows your AC to function. Freon levels should be checked, and the compressor unit should be evaluated for signs of wind or hail damage, built up debris, or leaks.
Annual Ventilation Checks
Homes with central forced air can always benefit from annual maintenance and inspection of the air ducts, so it's a good idea to have these basic checks done when your AC system is inspected. Your ventilation system essentially forms the lungs of your home, so if they're not clean then neither is the air you're breathing. As such, it's important that any maintenance on it involves opening up the air ducts and looking inside.
It's not enough to just replace your air filter once a month and expect it to keep your air clean, so make sure you're taking steps to keep those ducts free of dust, pollen and mold. Most contractors, such as Economy Air Systems Inc, who offer ventilation service will be able to sweep the inside of your air ducts using a telescoping wire brush, much like a plumber's pipe snake. Once swept clean, the output vents throughout your home should also be cleaned out to ensure the air coming from them is as clean as possible.
It's easy to forget just how complex a central HVAC system is, but by staying focused on the components you can improve the performance of the whole. Better still, by breaking up maintenance between AC and heating functions, you can spread the cost over a wide period of time, making it easier to afford.