Loading, please wait...
Being caught in the middle of the summer without air conditioning is extremely uncomfortable if you live in an area where it gets hot. In addition, repairing an AC can be expensive if you have not performed the required maintenance regularly. Annual air conditioner maintenance keeps your system running better and helps it last longer.
Air conditioner maintenance is a valuable investment in your home. The cost of an AC checkup can run as low as $75 for a simple filter cleaning or as high as $360 if you need to have your refrigerant recharged. The average AC annual maintenance cost range is between $100 and $150. The average homeowner spends around $125 on cleaning and a tune-up, including inspecting, tightening and testing all parts, and minor part replacement, such as air filter or cleaning coils.
|AC Maintenance Price|
|National average cost||$125|
Some tasks could be added to your AC service. These add-ons range from as low as $25 for a thermostat replacement to as high as $1,000 for duct cleaning. These additional tasks may be recommended after the inspection portion of your AC maintenance and are likely necessary to improve function and prevent larger problems. Below are some of the most common add-ons and what you may anticipate paying for them.
|Maintenance Task||Cost (Labor Included)|
|Clean Evaporator or Condenser Coil||$45 - $350|
|Air Filter Replacement||$75 - $195|
|Thermostat Replacement||$150 - $480|
|Drain Line Cleaning||$75 - $200|
|Refrigerant Recharge||$200 - $500|
|Duct Cleaning||$350 - $1,000|
The price of AC condenser or evaporator coil cleaning is $45 to $350. The evaporator coil is located in the unit inside the home. Its job is to cool the heat from the indoor air. The second coil is the condenser coil, which is inside the outdoor unit. The condenser coil moves energy in and out of the home. Both these coils are vital to the operation and efficiency of your system. When they become clogged with dirt or debris, it lowers the output of the system or even causes it to break down. Some HVAC companies include this service during their maintenance visit without additional charge. You should inquire with your HVAC company to determine their policy.
Replacing a filter costs from $75 to $195. Home AC filter replacement is by far the most crucial step to maintain the integrity of your system and provide a long life. Clogged filters can lead to poor airflow, which can damage parts and lead to breakdowns. Homeowners are encouraged to change their filters every month. Your technician will check and replace your filter if necessary as part of their routine maintenance visit.
MERV rates the amount of dust and particles allowed through the filter. Choose a filter with a MERV rating of at least 11 to 16 for your home. Lower MERV ratings result in lowered energy efficiency and may not provide the allergy protection necessary for all members of your household.
Replacing a thermostat 1 run between $150 and $480. There are many AC thermostats: programmable electronic, touchscreen, smart thermostats that range from $130 to $300, and voice-control. Gone are the days of the dial thermostat where you moved a small wheel to choose your temperature. Thermostat replacement can be a common occurrence both during maintenance of an AC unit or the repair process. Thermostats can break, which can fail to signal the system properly, causing it not to respond when needed.
Your technician may inform you that you need your drain line 2 cleaned, which costs between $75 and $200. As dirt, allergens, and debris circulate through the evaporator coils, they can become clogged by moisture and buildup. Eventually, this debris travels through the drain line, where it inhibits the flow of water leaving the system and eventually creates a clog. A clogged line inhibits function and results in rust in the system.
A home AC recharge costs $200 to $500, including checking the freon level in the home AC. Freon 3 is the coolant in your air conditioner. It is normally a lifetime supply unless leaks or repairs allow the freon to leave the unit. To recharge the freon, the contractor first checks the temperature with a pressure gauge. Once it is determined you need more freon, a tank of freon is hooked up to your system’s pressure ports and fills the system with the freon needed.
A licensed contractor must perform this procedure because laws are in place to protect the environment. After 2020, no freon will be produced as it is harmful to the environment. Newer systems have already made the switch to a new product called Puron. Older systems before 2010 will be replenished with recycled freon and eventually phased out. Most homeowners cannot obtain freon legally because you need a professional certification to do so.
Duct cleaning costs range from $350 to $1,000. Ducts are cleaned by vacuuming out all the dust and debris from the ducts located in the house. The buildup can cause allergies and make your system less energy-efficient. In addition, your AC will need to work harder, and more repairs will be needed. You should have your ducts cleaned every three to five years or more often if someone in your home suffers from severe allergies.
The AC unit type influences how much you will pay to have it serviced. You can pay anywhere between $50 and $400 for maintenance, depending on the type of system. The price varies because each type of unit has its own specific parts required for functioning. Additionally, different units require different types of cleaning and maintenance and refrigerant levels. Below are the costs you can expect to encounter for each type of unit:
|Type of Unit||Maintenance Cost (Labor Included)|
|Portable AC||$50 - $85|
|Window AC||$50 - $100|
|Central Air||$85 - $150|
|Packaged Unit||$90 - $200|
|Swamp Cooler||$100 - $150|
|Geothermal||$175 - $350|
|Ductless Mini Split||$200 - $400|
A portable AC can be moved from room to room or mounted on the wall. The maintenance cost is $50 to $85. A portable AC is similar to a window unit and has some of the same problems. When it comes to maintenance, your technician will change your filter, drain the water, clean the exterior and check for any parts that may need repair. Annual maintenance is sufficient for most portable units
Window AC systems are fairly uncomplicated and only require an annual tune-up at the cost of $50 to $100. During your maintenance visit, the technician will inspect and clean the evaporator coils that likely have built up dust throughout the year. They will clean or replace the filter and check the coil fins, making sure they are clean and straight.
It costs about $85 to $150 to service a central air system. Maintenance of your central air system should be done once a year to keep it operating efficiently and reduce your risk of a breakdown. Maintenance involves a thorough inspection of parts, such as belts, bearings, and the motor. Your technician will clean or replace your filter. During the process, they clean the dirt and debris off of all the components. Once this is complete, they check the refrigerant and adjust the levels, if necessary. During the inspection of your outdoor unit, they will remove any debris from your fins and straighten any that may have become bent.
Packaged HVAC Units cost a little more to maintain than an AC unit on its own, running between $90 and $200. These systems have both the heating system and AC system in one unit. Your technician will perform the same tasks as they would for a central AC unit. But they will check the components of the heating system since they are one unit.
Maintenance on a swamp cooler 4 runs between $100 and $150 and should be done annually. These units are not meant for humid, hot environments. They require a cracked window and a steady supply of water. The maintenance on these units is minimal compared to others but often includes pad replacement in the cost, leading to an overall higher price. In addition to pad replacement, your technician will empty, clean, and inspect the drain pan.
Geothermal systems can be more costly than others to install, repair, and maintain. On average, maintenance costs run between $175 and $350. These systems usually go long without needing repairs, but having annual maintenance ensures the system operates at peak efficiency. Maintenance involves filter changes, inspection, cleaning, and lubrication.
Maintenance costs of ductless systems can be more expensive, running between $200 and $400. Ductless systems operate without ducts, eliminating any duct work problems or the need to have them inspected. Yet, the fact that ductless systems have separate indoor units means that each one needs to have maintenance performed during the technician’s visit. During the visit, they will inspect and clean the exterior unit, change filters, and apply a fungistat or bacteriostat to prevent the growth of bacteria in the system.
The cost of your maintenance plan depends on the frequency of your visits. Prices range from as low as $75 per visit to as high as $250 per visit. Regular maintenance extends the life of your AC unit. Regular tune-ups could cost less if you have an air conditioner maintenance plan. You can choose an option that best meets your needs, from annual tune-ups to quarterly plans.
|Frequency||Cost per Visit|
|Quarterly||$75 - $150|
|Semi-Annual||$100 - $200|
|Yearly||$150 - $250|
A quarterly maintenance plan costs between $75 and $150 per visit and provides you with four visits throughout the year. Visits will be broken up with one each season. Each visit costs less than other plans as the major maintenance projects will only be done once or twice a year. Coil repair and straightening will likely be done in the spring, and lubrication of the parts will likely be done in the fall. Every visit will include a thorough inspection, cleaning, and filter replacement, and one or two other maintenance tasks that should be done throughout the year. This plan is a good option for those with older systems that are more likely to have efficiency problems
AC semi-annual maintenance runs between $100 and $200 per visit and includes a visit in the fall and spring. Aside from the normal inspection, cleaning, and filter replacement, these visits often include a refrigerant check and replacement at each one, if necessary. It will also include a cleaning of the outdoor unit and repair of exterior unit fins, if necessary. This option is great for units still under warranty as it can help you catch repairs while in the warranty period.
Yearly AC maintenance plans are the most common and run between $150 and $250 per visit. These plans are sufficient if your system is not too old and has not had many repair issues. An annual visit includes all items on the tune-up list and helps keep your system running as efficiently as possible. Since these plans are only once per year, they will likely include both the maintenance of your AC unit and heater.
Servicing an AC unit can become a lengthy and complicated process. Unless you have extensive knowledge about the operation and repair of an AC unit, it is probably best to hire a professional. It can take anywhere from an hour to several hours to service the unit, depending on the amount of dirt buildup, unit size, and how easily accessible it is. In addition, if the system requires any repairs, this adds to the time spent on the service call. Routine maintenance is usually done at a flat rate of between $75 and $300. This cost includes the AC diagnostic cost. If the call turns into a repair situation, expect to pay $60 to $75 for the AC technician’s hourly rate plus parts.
Another consideration is an extended maintenance plan. Suppose your system is out of warranty, an HVAC unit, or over ten years old. In that case, you may want to purchase a plan that includes priority service, any home AC diagnostic costs, discounted services and cleanings, refrigerant recharges, winter checks (off-season discount), inspections, and tune-ups. An extended service contract costs $175 to $450 annually. The cost depends on the type and length of the contract. If you are concerned that your system may require extensive repairs, a maintenance plan is a wise choice.
On average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $150 to have an AC unit inspected. It is recommended to have your AC unit inspected at least once a year, even if you aren’t having problems. This helps keep the unit functioning as efficiently as possible. If you have a regular maintenance agreement, the inspection cost will usually be covered in the plan.
Besides regular inspections, you may need to have your system inspected if you feel that the output is less or notice your energy bills are higher than expected. It is also a good idea to have a unit inspected when deciding whether or not to purchase a home to make sure there are no surprises when you move in.
During the inspection, your technician thoroughly examines all of the system components to make sure they are clean and working properly. They will also check for any possible hazards and ensure all of the safety features are functioning properly. Finally, they will check the components connected to the unit, such as the flues, vents, and ducts, to see if they are built up with dirt and debris. After the inspection is complete, they will make recommendations for cleanings and needed repairs.
Tasks included in an AC tune-up vary according to the professional you hire and the type of system you have. Here is a standard checklist for a tune-up:
You should have your AC unit serviced at least once a year. However, HVAC technicians may steer you to bi-annual maintenance in some areas. If you live in hotter climates, your system will likely get much more use, leading to earlier wear and tear. Having service twice a year helps you stay on top of minor repairs before they turn into major problems. Bi-annual service can catch any possible defects within the warranty period.
Technicians also recommend that older units have bi-annual service to help them operate as efficiently as possible and reduce the risk of breakdown.
AC maintenance cost factors vary according to several circumstances, including:
There are many benefits to having your AC unit regularly serviced. For newer units, it helps you catch potential problems while they are still covered under the warranty period. For older units, it keeps them functioning as long as possible. But no matter the age of your system, regular maintenance helps you keep your system running as efficiently as possible, save you on energy bills, and help you catch problems while they are still minor.
Everybody likes to save money. Saving on your electric bill can be accomplished by simply changing some habits. Open the windows on cooler days and keep drapes and blinds closed to keep the heat or cold out when appropriate. The closer your indoor temperature is to the outdoor temperature, the less your system will have to run.
Use auto modes with a programmable thermostat to ensure your system only runs as needed. Programmable thermostats keep the air from running when you are not at home and kick on about an hour before your arrival. Many AC systems include an ‘eco’ mode. This setting allows your compressor to increase the fan speed while choosing a temperature that is two degrees higher than the thermostat setting. The room will still feel just as cool, but your energy bill will go down.
Another way to save energy is to circulate the air by keeping your fans running. This is true even during the winter. Ceiling fans have a setting for winter circulation.
You can reduce the overall heat in your home. Using energy-saving light bulbs and avoiding using the oven on hot days, you can reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home. The heat from a clothes dryer makes the house hotter. Make use of the great outdoors and hang your clothes outside.
When you schedule your air conditioner tune-up, be prepared for additional costs, particularly if you have not had it serviced in a long time or if the system is older. These costs are most often associated with repairs that need to be made to ensure that your system is safe and continues to function efficiently. In addition to repairs, your technician may have to perform a more extensive cleaning, especially if you have not had your system checked in years. Below you will see some of the most common additional costs you may encounter after your system has been inspected.
|New Thermostat||$50 - $450|
|Unclog Condenser Line||$100 - $150|
|New Circuit Board||$200 - $600|
|AC Drain Pan Replacement||$50 - $100|
|New Capacitor||$220 - $500|
|Repair a Refrigerant Leak||$400 - $1,500|
|New Evaporator Coil||$200 - $6,000|
|Replace a Condenser||$500 - $1,100|
|New Condenser Coils||$500 - $2,500|
|Replace a Fan Motor||$400 - $755|
|Compressor Replacement||$1,000 - $2,500|
Emergency calls can cost $135 to $200 per hour to have your AC system serviced. Calls are deemed emergency calls if a technician has to come out aside from normal business hours, either on the weekends, evenings, or holidays. While most emergency AC repairs can wait until normal business hours, certain repairs warrant emergency attention, such as refrigerant leaks or problems with the motor. For homeowners in areas with high temperatures, sometimes discomfort can be a motivating factor for an emergency AC maintenance call. No matter the problem, it is best to shut your system off and wait for your technician to arrive to avoid more severe or dangerous problems.
General maintenance keeps your system clean and functioning properly. In between service calls, change out or clean the filter monthly and keep the area around the condenser free of debris, plants, trees, and shrubs. A programmable thermostat ($25 to $85) monitors the temperature and keeps the system from running unnecessarily. If you are a little mechanically inclined, you can clean the coils and fins on the outside unit and the vents inside the house regularly.
There are many parts in the AC, but the most important part is cleaning or changing the AC filter regularly. It is suggested that you do this monthly or quarterly, depending on the amount of dirt and/or allergens in the air. Other things that prevent excessive dirt and debris are to keep trees and shrubs away from the outside unit, clean the vents and intake regularly, and flush with a bleach solution. This regular maintenance avoids straining your system.
The cost for maintenance on an inverter AC unit is between $150 and $250. A non-inverter unit runs around $125 to $200. These units are more expensive than traditional central units to maintain because it requires more cleaning, and the parts are a little more difficult to reach. The price is higher for inverter units due to the more complicated compressor, which takes longer to inspect and clean.
The primary difference between these and traditional systems is that your traditional system will run your blower at a fixed speed and be controlled by an on and off switch that your thermostat can trigger. Inverter and non-inverter units have the power going constantly based on the demand for cool air.
Both types of systems have similar maintenance tasks. You can expect your technician to change the air and bacteria filters, clean the cooling fins and coils, apply an antifungal spray, and flush the drain lines.
Both inverter and non-inverter systems are extremely efficient and great for small spaces. The primary difference between the two is that a non-inverter cannot regulate the compressor speed.
A non-inverter system runs on high until the desired room temperature is reached. This can make it extremely noisy to operate.
Other benefits of these two systems include their ability to control heat and humidity and their variety of installation options. The main drawback is their cost.
|Type||Average Maintenance Cost (Labor Included)|
|Non-Inverter||$125 - $200|
|Inverter||$150 - $250|
Insulating your ducts helps your unit run more efficiently because it keeps the heat out and the cool in. Duct armor is a rubberized liner that goes inside of the duct via spraying. The cost is high at $2,000 to $10,000.
A MERV 8 rating is a good rating. However, for better dust filtration, a MERV 11 to 16 air filter is recommended.
Signs you need freon include ice forming on the outside unit, the unit is not cooling the house, any hissing sounds coming from the unit, or warm air coming out of the vents.
While bi-annual service provides you with the best chance of catching possible repairs before they become major problems, annual maintenance on most systems is enough to keep them running efficiently. If you choose bi-annual service, it is best to have one in the spring and one in the fall. If you choose annually, spring will be your best option.
Choosing an air filter is important because it helps the system run the best it can. The basic recommendation by professionals is to find a filter with a high MERV rating, around 11 to 16. MERV refers to the amount of dust and dirt allowed through the filter.
AC maintenance includes a thorough inspection of the system components, filter changing or cleaning, a system cleaning, and a check of all safety protocols. Depending on the system, adding refrigerant may also be part of the process.
Yes, the fan will run if the compressor is bad. However, if the AC fan is working, there may be another problem unrelated to the compressor. This could include a faulty thermostat, coils, or filter that needs to be cleaned, a capacitor or relay switch that needs replacing, or other issues.
An air conditioner consists of many moving parts. If the unit is regularly serviced, there is less chance those parts will become broken or inoperable. There are no guarantees the system will last longer. However, the chances go up when it is properly maintained.
Many arguments say pleated air filters restrict airflow. However, most professionals agree that pleated filters are a great choice for those with allergies or who are more concerned with trapping dust and dirt.
There are many possible reasons that an air unit is not cooling. You can perform several checks yourself before calling in a professional: check to see if the filter needs to be changed, check the outdoor unit to make sure it does not need cleaning, and check the thermostat and make sure it is on auto and not in the ‘on’ position. Also, make sure the circuit breaker did not trip. If none of these seem to be the problem, it may be best to call a professional.
A dirty filter can make it more difficult for your unit to operate and cool correctly. Therefore, it has to work harder and run longer to reach the temperature you want. This creates a higher electric bill.