AC Cleaning & Maintenance – What’s Included
What’s included in an AC Cleaning & Maintenance visit? Is there any difference between AC maintenance & an AC tune up, and which do I need? How much does an air conditioner maintenance visit cost?
I answer all these questions in this article, but before you skip ahead, I recommend you read the whole article. You’ll save money and not fall for gimmicks when choosing who to hire for your AC cleaning & AC maintenance.
Take Care of Your Air Conditioner So It Takes Care of You!
Having a dependable air conditioner in the Phoenix, AZ area is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Scheduling routine AC cleaning & maintenance is undoubtedly your best bet to assure your air conditioning equipment doesn’t fail you. Knowing what’s included in an AC cleaning & maintenance and how much it costs are common questions we receive. Well, we’ve got answers!
AC Maintenance vs AC Tune Up vs AC Check Up
As summer approaches, our mailboxes fill with flyers from nearby air conditioning companies and AC tune up offers galore. Some say get your AC tune up, others say AC checkup, and in recent years I’ve seen air conditioner rejuvenation. Some mention AC cleaning, others don’t, some say includes 1lb of refrigerant (if needed), others don’t – sound familiar?
Adding to the confusion, we see these services offered at $19.99, $29.99, etc., up to $189.00 or more. How does a homeowner sort through the nonsense and know they’re getting what they pay for? Like I said, we’ve got those answers covered in this article.
Then we have, AC cleaning & 16-point tune up, 25-point tune up, 3-billion point tune up maintenance and rejuvenation extravaganza. Okay, I made that last one up but if you live in Arizona, you know exactly what I mean!
Regardless of whether they call it AC cleaning, AC maintenance, air conditioner tune-up, or rejuvenation – it’s all the same. Correction, it should be all the same procedures. However, who you call and how much you pay, makes a big difference in what’s included – and the result.
Personally, I like to call it what it is, AC cleaning & maintenance. While I’m guilty of using industry lingo like, tune up, checkup, etc. myself, I try to avoid it when possible. Car’s get tune ups, doctors perform checkups, spas and massage therapists rejuvenate. Your air conditioner requires routine cleaning & maintenance to keep it performing per manufacturer specifications – it’s in the Owner’s Manual.
AC Cleaning & AC Maintenance – How to AVOID the Gimmicks
My professional advice after 3 decades in the HVAC business – don’t call an air conditioning company that uses gimmicks to attract customers. If they start with gimmicks in their marketing and advertising, what’s going to happen when you invite them into your home?
I’ll start with perhaps the easiest way to spot which air conditioning company not to call for your AC maintenance.
“Includes 1 pound of refrigerant (if needed)”
Advertising “the first pound of refrigerant is free,” is not only gimmicky, but also misleading. Most importantly, you can bet your last dollar it is certainly not free!
The Real Deal:
Unlike your car which consumes gas and needs to be refilled or “topped off”. Your air conditioner never needs refrigerant added periodically. Refrigerant does not go bad, it does not evaporate, and it does not need “topping off”. The only reason to add refrigerant to an air conditioning system is if it has a refrigerant leak. And, if your air conditioner has a leak, the leak should be located and repaired. If your car’s gas tank had a leak, would you locate and fix the leak, or add a gallon of gas?
“Free lifetime washable filter”
Prior to starting Magic Touch Mechanical 26-years ago, I worked for several companies for my first 10-years in the HVAC industry. One of them regularly promoted a “free lifetime washable filter” included with every AC cleaning & maintenance visit. You get what you pay for – and then some in this case.
Not only are these filters not “lifetime,” they literally fell apart after a few washes. The media fibers would come out and stick to the indoor coil! So, rather than preventing dirt and debris from reaching the coil … they were the source of dirt & debris!
The Real Deal:
After completing a thorough AC cleaning & maintenance, you want to keep it clean with a good filter. As the saying goes, nothing good in life is free, and I can undoubtedly confirm – free filters aren’t good.
“19.99 AC Maintenance”
A qualified, experienced HVAC Technician earns approximately $30-$50 per hour in the Phoenix area. Add $15-$20 for taxes, benefits, overhead, and other business expenses, and that technician costs the company $45-$70 per hour. That’s not including the direct costs for your air conditioner maintenance – gas alone at $3.50+ per gallon (for example). Bottom line, at a very conservative minimum, it costs an air conditioning company at least $50 to send that technician. For most companies, that number is probably closer to $65 or more – and that’s with 100% efficiency. I can assure you after ¼ century in business, even the tightest run organizations never achieve 100% efficiency!
The Real Deal:
Companies are in business to turn a profit and they’re not going to lose money to “earn your business”. Low price tune ups, checkups, AC maintenance or whatever it’s called in the ad are a “suckers bet”. If you pay $19.99, $29.99, $39.99, etc. for an AC Tune Up nowadays – you’re not getting a deal. To the contrary, you’re paying for a “selling tech” to come to your home and “sell” you things. Quite often, these “technicians” are not even experienced technicians, they’re well-trained salespeople disguised as service technicians.
Magic Touch Mechanical currently charges $75 for an AC cleaning & AC maintenance service. That amount covers our costs for that visit but is by far not a profit center. Ultimately, we want to have a lifetime relationship with our clients, so when repairs are needed or it’s time to replace the unit, our clients already know and trust us.
What’s Included in an AC Cleaning & AC Maintenance Visit?
When someone asks what’s included in an AC cleaning & AC maintenance visit, we explain what Magic Touch Mechanical does. I’ve included a photo of the checklists our technicians use below as an example of how extensive it is. It would be a lot to type and frankly, most of it would be “Greek” to anyone other than an HVAC technician. However, I’ve also provided a broad summary of what our AC cleaning & AC maintenance includes below as well.
As there are many different types of equipment, brands, and components, we test all measurable components. We then compare the test measurements to the manufacturer’s specifications for that model and report our findings to our client.
For non-measurable items, we inspect, photograph, video, and document all conditions and again – report those findings to our client.
Magic Touch Mechanical AC Cleaning & AC Maintenance Procedure
Condenser & Coil Cleaning
Magic Touch maintenance procedures include a condenser & coil cleaning. As Phoenix is a very dusty area, condenser coils should be kept clean to avoid components from overheating. AC cleaning is an important step to keep your equipment running efficiently and help prevent premature equipment breakdowns.
Electrical Component Testing
Perhaps the most important part of a thorough AC maintenance is inspecting and testing all electrical components. There are many electrical components in your central air conditioner. Premature failure of one component can cause a domino effect and lead to additional components failing. Catching failed or failing components early is the reason all manufacturers require semi-annual maintenance as a condition of their parts warranty.
Check Refrigerant Levels
There are several measurements that tell our technicians how your air conditioners refrigerant system is operating. Small problems in the refrigerant system can go unnoticed by the home’s occupants at first. These problems can be found and corrected during a routine AC maintenance visit before becoming a bigger, expensive problem.
Test Drain System & Safeties
Condensate drain clogs are common in the Phoenix area. We physically test the condensate drain line to ensure proper drainage. When equipped, we test overflow safety switches, condensate pumps, and other accessories in the drainage system for proper operation.
Motors, Blades, & Wheels
When performing AC maintenance we test all motors, fan blades and blower wheels for proper operation, condition, and balance. We also inspect blades and wheels for visible signs of cracks, breaks at welds and rivets, etc.
Wiring & Circuit Boards
Modern air conditioning systems consist of a lot of sensitive electronic components. Printed circuit boards, wiring harnesses, connections, and all associated relays, diodes, etc., are carefully inspected and tested for proper operation.
Gas lines, Valves, and Safeties
Did you know Magic Touch also owns The Fire Place? That division handles our fireplace, fire pit, and fire feature client’s needs. Of course, we are well-versed and very experienced with all types of gas-fired HVAC equipment and inspect / test these components where applicable.
Circuit Breakers, Disconnects, Fuses, Whips, and Surge Protectors
In HVAC you must think “outside the box” when completing an AC clean & maintenance. Pun intended, as electrical circuits outside the air conditioner can and do cause failures inside the machine. Magic Touch service technicians inspect and test electrical circuits and components that deliver power to your air conditioning system.
Airflow, Static Pressure, Registers, Vents, and Ducts
Like your electrical circuits, our service technicians are trained to inspect and test other things outside your air conditioner that can cause failures. You know your home better than anyone, so we encourage our clients to tell us about comfort issues when we arrive to complete their AC cleaning / AC maintenance.
- There’s Much More – As you can see by the checklist in the photo, there are many test and inspection points completed during AC maintenance. The summary above is a broad overview so you know what to expect if you hire Magic Touch. If you live outside of our service area, I recommend printing and using this article to know what to expect.
No Risk – Cancel Anytime, Savings Plan Club
Our longtime clients know we do things a lot different and a lot better than most Phoenix air conditioning companies. Like offering a NO CONTRACT – CANCEL ANYTIME MAINTENANCE PLAN which includes 2 FREE MAINTENANCE & CLEANING VISITS! We know we must perform and must deliver on our 5-Star Service Guarantee, or you can dump us – no questions asked!
That’s okay, we’re confident you won’t! How can we be so confident? We’ve been offering our no-contract, cancel-anytime, pay as you go plans for over a decade. 90% of our club members have been members for years – and the few that have cancelled simply moved out of our service area.
Are we perfect? Nope – just ask my wife, I’m pretty sure she keeps a spreadsheet on all the times I goofed up! Seriously though, my promise as the owner of Magic Touch and our core company values dictate that we’ll always make it right when we make a mistake. Give us a shot and let us prove it. Schedule AC Cleaning & Maintenance.
Magic Touch Mechanical
There's Magic in the Air! AC, Heating, Fireplaces & Fire Pits since 1997 Article Author: Rich Morgan, CEO - Magic Touch Mechanical