When to service your air conditioning system

You probably don’t give your air conditioning system much thought during the winter months, or even when it’s working properly in the summer. But maybe you should.

In most US climates, the air conditioner doesn’t run all year long, so in its inactive time, your AC unit may accumulate dust and dirt in the filters, fans and intake components. This buildup can cause your air conditioner to lose up to 5% efficiency every year. Without regular maintenance, your air conditioning unit can get to the point that it can’t cool your house at all.

Most professional heating and air companies offer preventative services. They will come out and inspect your unit for any major problems for $100 or less. They will also change out filters and clean fans and electrical wires.

This service is far less expensive than the cost of repairs when your air conditioning system breaks in the middle of summer, so many people find that it’s well worth signing up for an annual contract, which may save them even more money. The cost of replacing an air conditioning unit can run in the thousands. You’ll be glad that you paid the money upfront for regular maintenance services when you consider that replacing an air conditioning system is so expensive.

The question of how often to service your air conditioning system has to do mainly with how much it runs. If your air conditioning runs all year long, it stands to reason that you will probably need to have it serviced more often than someone who only runs theirs a few weeks out of the year. However, there are as many things that can go wrong with a system that doesn’t get enough use as there are with one that is overused.

There are a few general guidelines about servicing your air conditioning system:

  1. It’s recommended that you have your AC unit checked out once a year. This is adequate for most air conditioners. Some experts suggest that you should change your filters often during the season it is being used most. It may be necessary to change your filters once a month if the weather is very hot. Otherwise, changing them once a year should be enough.


  1. The ideal time to have your air conditioning system serviced is in the spring, just before it kicks into high gear. This ensures that your air conditioner is in tip-top shape at the beginning of its most-needed season. This may be February for some parts of the country and May for others. Just make sure it’s done before you start using the system daily.


If you feel like your air conditioning system isn’t performing at maximum capacity, trust your instincts and have it serviced. You never know if a piece of debris or excess dust from a nearby construction project may have your unit working at a sub-par level. As we mentioned earlier, it isn’t going to cost that much to have it serviced compared to the price of replacing the entire unit.