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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    13

    Annual "tuneups" - necessary or sales pitch

    Are these annual or bi-annual tuneups necessary for HVAC equipment or is it just a money making service for companies?

    I hear from some people that only the filter needs to be changed while everything should be left alone unless there is a change in the way the system performs.

    Other people say things should be checked.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,483
    If you do a good job with filtering the return air & keep the outdoor coil clean, & know how to check the ballpark performance of your systems, then a semiannual or even an annual may not be critically important.

    Initially, after the original install every aspect of the entire system needs to be thoroughly checked for all proper design aspects & the Actual Delivered Performance of the System to the conditioned areas.

    It depends on a lot of factors, as a thorough checkup when performed properly, potentially could prevent future high dollar costs...as well as reduce monthly utility costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    1,018
    For most residential systems I don't think they are necessary. In fact, "tune-ups" can often cause more problems than they prevent. If you keep your filter clean and the system seems to be operating normally and you utility bills seem normal, then you should be okay. If you live in a harsh environment and your outdoor unit gets really dirty or you can't remember to change your filters, then a annual cleaning/inspection may be necessary.
    For commercial systems I think a maintenance program is absolutely necessary. Commercial systems are often neglected and are subject to heavy duty use and should be inspected/cleaned more often.
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten". --Benjamin Franklin
    "Don't argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience". --Mark Twain
    http://www.campbellmechanical.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,625
    You call them Tuneups, They are also could be called Preventative Maintenance Visits

    For Example this Saturday will be my Annual Cottonwood Saturday.

    I visit a number of customers who live in a cottonwood zone and clean out their condenser coils
    of that dreaded cottonwood......gonna be upper 80's this weekend. Imagine those a/c's that
    will run at higher than normal temps and pressures if they didn't get the cottonwood cleaned
    out.

    Or I can't tell you the number of Contactors I replaced at at reasonable cost because there contacts were pitted and blackened that after replacement I am certain allowed better trusted voltage to the compressor

    Granted they do bring income to the Company but they also provide a service to the folks who do want them done

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,625
    Want to extend the life of your a/c system

    Not to Hijack the thread but

    Other than a properly installed a/c system (proper evac, llfd, nitrogen flow while brazing) would be to have a digital
    thermostat with a short cycle protector or time delay enabled on that thermostat.

    It keeps the thermostat off for a preset period of time to allow for equalization of pressures in the system preventing excessive wear and tear on compressors, the blowing of fuses or the tripping of circuit breakers
    and prolonging the life of an a/c system

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    13
    Thanks for the info. I live in Los Angeles. Our AC is used maybe 2 weeks a year, mostly in the late afternoon, and before bedtime to get to a comfortable temp. Once in a while it'll run a bit at night if it's really warm.

    Our heater is used more often since we have a cold house and a sensitive member of the household. This might run for a few hours every day for a couple of months.

    The reason I asked my question is not just about saving the $ or so per visit, but also because I read some other posts where people's systems were unnecessarily "adjusted" and caused further problems.
    Last edited by beenthere; 06-19-2013 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Price

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Beach
    Posts
    648
    After two years it should be check once a year. Condensate drain-all elec. connection-check for rust-clean the condenser coils-points on contactor-amp draw on all motors. Also check all duct work for leaks and supports. Look at those take off and make sure they are still sealed. Had three last week in one attic that were laying loose in the attic. Check that charge also. And about 12 more things. Its like your car if you want it to last-Change the oil-and check all other fluids-keep it full with gasoline and check the tire pressure. You might even wash it own in a while.
    Blue Fox

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    66,824
    There are some small parts that should be checked every year(don't have to be checked), if they go out. They may or may not cause major damage. often they don't. but more then one compressor has died because a couple cheap parts weren't checked.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,420
    Depends. Some companies use them as a loss leader to see what else they can con you into.

    Ours aren't cheap. Most of the techs are long experienced and most are NATE certified. They are looking to clean your unit and get it running at its peak. They aren't on commission so if they tell you a capacitor is weak, you need it. The biggest thing is keeping the outdoor coil clean. I checked out a Trane in a friend's new rental house. Talk about FILTHY. Gonna cool so much better now that it can remove some heat and since I slowed the blower down, she says the humidity level is so much lower.

    But finding techs that aren't just there to sell you something can be a problem. Maybe avoiding those under say $60? Below that most companies aren't making any money and have to sell you something to break even or make a buck.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,022
    I often receive this question as
    Well.. Here is my opinion,,,,I feel (especially on a gas appliance) that the unit should be looked at by a qualified person with training and proper instruments to make sure that the unit is safe to operate each and every year. The cost involved to have such a person travel to your home is probably 2/3 the cost of having him also do a full maintenance while he is at your home. Companies do not give you the option of this and do a maintenance visit only. As it just does kit make sense otherwise. Commission based technicians are more likely to take advantage of customers. Companies that offer free or ridiculously low prices need to offset there true cost of being there and generally will make that up on repairs. The company I work for allots a certain number of cleanings in a day that varies on the season and offers a fair cost for the service while allowing room in the schedule for repairs calls that come in as well. We often find issues such as out of value capacitors, worn contactors, dirty filters and such and recommend replacement on these parts. We make a FAIR profit on these items and everyone wins. The philosophy of the company is to provide excellent service at fair prices with. Fair profit and when the day the unit needs replacement we will have built a reputation with the customer that we will also get the replacement thus the cycle continues..... I feel that an annual cleaning/safety inspection is worth every penny. I cannot tell you how many times I have run service calls for no heat and found conditions that were very very unsafe that could have been found proactively.
    ...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,650
    How about a check list of work performed and measurements taken?

    Anybody leave such a thing with the consumer? Got one of those to share?
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,022
    Here is a screenshot of a random ticket I pulled (sorry about the writing) this is a generic list for gas furnace and ac.. Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1371691697.334818.jpg
Views: 586
Size:  82.0 KB
    ...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    332
    Man that service ticket looks familiar
    RSES CM Member
    NCI Certified Air Balancer and CO/Combustion Analyst
    NATE Senior technician - Energy efficiency analyst and 7 other NATE Service certifications

    Never stop learning!

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