As temperatures start to rise so does the amount of advertising from AC contractors. Every day your mailbox and inbox are filled with offers to inspect and “tune-up” your AC system for the season. Is a tune up necessary? How can you tell the true professionals from the scam artists? We will try to clear the air on this topic.

Just like your car, your AC system is mechanical in nature. There are electrical and moving components. Like everything mechanical, these components can wear out over time, become loose, or operate inefficiently. It is a good idea to have your system inspected once a year to see how it is functioning. This can save money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs. That being said, there are unscrupulous contractors that will use the lure of an inexpensive “inspection” or “tune-up” to get their foot in the door and sell services that are not necessary.

At a minimum, this service should include the following:

  • Checking coolant levels and pressure
  • Inspecting and tightening all electrical wiring, contacts, and relays
  • Inspecting the condenser including the fan motor blades
  • Inspecting the thermostat and calibrating if necessary
  • Inspecting the blower fan and motor for debris

Some companies will change your filter if you provide them with a new one. Others will remove debris from around the compressor. The above checklist is the minimum the check up should include. The technician should be looking for signs of wear and tear, for debris and dirt, and if the system is working efficiently.

You can expect to pay about $130 for this service. Keep in mind that you are paying for the technician’s time, expertise, insurance, travel expenses and other overhead items. Beware of ads that promise $39 check up service to tune up service. A licensed, reputable technician cannot afford to spend an hour of his/her time plus travel and overhead to be in your home for $39. These ads are using a low price to lure you into making the appointment and when the technician shows up you will be sold a number of other services that will probably costing you well over $130. So keep this in mind.