Home Maintenance

Air Conditioner Spring Cleaning

Our new house has two air conditioning units, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  One of the things that we knew the house needed, when we bought it, was an additional return for the downstairs unit.  (Technically, we have an HVAC, which provides air conditioning and air heating, but we just call it the air conditioner.)

While he was here adding the return, I asked the technician to give both units a good spring cleaning.  It was amazing – and a bit scary – to see just how much stuff had built up in the units over time.  Even though relatively new, they had still managed to accumulate quite a bit of dust and debris.  The tech was at the house for just a few hours, cleaning out the system, getting it ready for our hot Georgia summers, adding the return, and checking to see if the units were functioning properly.

I signed up for a twice-annual cleaning.  The tech will come back in the fall.  The total cost was just a few hundred dollars – and I think that both the service and the peace-of-mind, knowing that the air conditioning units will be clean, were well worth it.

Since the cleaning, the units run less and seem to be – though it might be my imagination – a bit quieter.  Also – and this could be my imagination, too – the air seems to smell better.  The whole house just feels cleaner.  One of the things that I think we forget, especially those of us who like to pinch-our-pennies, is the value of maintenance.  Sure, it cost a few extra dollars to have the units cleaned, but I feel like I am prolonging the life of the units, increasing their efficiency, and creating a cleaner home-environment, all at the same time.

What about you guys?  Do you have your air conditioning units serviced regularly?  Also, have any of you tried to do this yourselves?  Is it hard?  I’d love to hear from you, here in the comments, or over at at Twitter.  Rock on.

6 thoughts on “Air Conditioner Spring Cleaning

  1. Here in Texas we only pay $90/year for a twice yearly checkup and cleaning, plus that also gives us 15% off any repairs that might need to be made throughout the year. So, you might want to call around and make sure you are getting a good deal on your maintenance plan.

    (We only have one unit… if you have a big house with two different units, you would probably be paying more for the yearly plan.)

  2. Yes, I blanched a bit at that “several hundred dollars.” Locally (Omaha) I’ve got a subscription with a HVAC co. that comes in the fall and goes over the central heating, and in the spring to do the AC (central; outside unit); plus I can call them 24/7/365 for HVAC or plumbing work and I will pay their regular hourly rate even on holidays; and I get 10% off any parts they have to replace. This costs me $150 a year. I think you should hunt around for a better deal…

  3. Terry, I actually wrote “a few hundred dollars”… This is the cost for 2 annual cleanings, plus filters… The cost, year-after-year for the service will be less than the initial amount I paid, b/c the initial amount included the installation of the additional return and some insulation. I didn’t give a specific number, but the price I’m paying, annually, is in keeping with local prices. Rock on.

  4. I need to get this done myself. The unit in my rental property is about 11 years old and has never been cleaned.

    I have 2 units in my primary home that are about 4 years old. I’m in Georgia too so they work pretty hard in the summer.

    I should probably go ahead and get this done!!

  5. I just called to switch to a new company, one that is locally owned. It is an expense that is easy to skip, but so important. I’m always amazed at how grimy things are, plus I ask lots of questions to improve my understanding of the system.

  6. Here in Indiana they have a club with Dial One where you can prepay for years of maintenance at highly discounted rates. The wise take advantage of this, as opposed to going out to eat every night or partaking in other things.

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