Does My AC Unit Need to be Flushed?
After finding out I owned an air conditioning company, a woman asked me: Does my AC unit need to be flushed? She had received a call that morning from a solicitor telling her they had an “AC Flush Special for $89.”At first, I thought maybe they were referring to flushing out the condensate drain line which would be acceptable. However, what they told her was they would “flush out her Freon and refresh it for summer.” Luckily, she ran into me as she thought that “sounded like a pretty good deal,” and scheduled an appointment! I’ll get back to the question of flushing your AC unit, but first a word of caution.
Running an Air Conditioning Company in Mesa, AZ
I founded my air conditioning company, Magic Touch Mechanical, in Mesa, AZ over 20-years ago – 1997 to be exact. In that time, Magic Touch has grown exponentially. What started out a one man show operating out of my house, has grown into a much larger business.
We employ dozens of people, have a large fleet of trucks, a large commercial building with a warehouse, forklifts, etc. To achieve that growth, naturally, we’ve had to utilize marketing & advertising. But, we’ve never once in two-decades needed to cold-call strangers to acquire new customers! So, I’ll share with you what I told her:
If an air conditioning company you’ve never done business with solicits you over the phone, hang up!
Let me explain: Phoenix alone is the 6thmost populous city in the country. Cities like Mesa & Glendale are in the top 50 largest cities in the US. Frankly, this is the desert… practically every home in the Greater Phoenix area has central air conditioning. There’s no shortage of customers or work for a well-run air conditioning company in Phoenix.
If an air conditioning contractor near Phoenix needs to run a call center to solicit business from strangers, beware! Any honest, reliable HVAC company in Arizona should have more than enough business to not need an outbound phone center. If they do need to cold-call to get calls, there’s probably a very good reason, and it’s probably not good.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’ve done business with an AC company previously & they call you to remind you it’s maintenance time, that’s great. I would go far as saying that’s good service… it’s easy to forget your AC unit until there’s a problem. However, we all get enough spam and robocalls from scammers already, & there’s a reason they earned the name scammers! Traditional marketing and advertising should be more than enough for any good business to acquire new customers.
Back to, Does My AC Unit Need to Be Flushed?
In a word, NO. Freon, or more accurately, refrigerant, does not evaporate, expire, go bad, or need to be replaced…ever! Your home AC unit is a “sealed system,” so shy of a few problems we’ll discuss now, the refrigerant lasts forever. There are a few exceptions. There’s also one reason you may need to add refrigerant.
- Refrigerant Leaks: As I said, your air conditioning system is sealed. If your AC was properly charged initially, only a leak will cause the loss of refrigerant. If that’s the case, a leak search will be required and the source of the leak repaired.
- New AC Unit Installation / Replacement: When replacing an A/C unit, old refrigerant should be recovered and sent to a recycling facility. New refrigerant is then added to the system. In this scenario, the existing refrigerant lines, aka line-set, should be flushed to remove all impurities. There’s more to this process, but the point is, only then, a “flush” is required.
- Air & Non-Condensable Contaminants: If a system is not properly flushed, or other vacuum and charging procedures aren’t followed, air & contaminants can remain. In this case, the best thing to do is to flush the refrigerant system and start again with new refrigerant.
- Acid & Compressor Burnout:In very rare instances compressor failures occur as a result of what we call a “dirty burnout”. Without getting into the minutia of HVAC 101, the refrigerant changes to an acid and can destroy a replacement compressor. In this case, you could hear your technician say he’s going to flush the system as part of the repair.
Does My Condensate Drain Need to be Flushed?
Yes, probably, maybe. For now let’s just agree that making sure your air conditioners drain line can actually drain is a good thing. A clogged AC drain can cause a lot of damage to your home. This is especially important if your air handler or evaporative coil is in your attic.
I personally flush my own AC drain lines at least once a year… because I’ve seen the results of not doing it. Some applications and drain line designs may even need more frequent cleaning. If you’re not good about changing your air filters regularly, this can exasperate the problem. Bottom line, if your service technician recommends flushing, cleaning or “blowing out” your drain line, you should probably do it.
Growing an Air Conditioning Company
I want to circle back to marketing and advertising to grow an air conditioning company. Customers move, young people buy their first home, and companies need to always be growing. There’s nothing wrong with marketing and advertising to acquire new customers. Heck, it’s my responsibility to my team to make sure they work every day to earn a living. Even this blog is a form of marketing.
However, like I said, Phoenix is huge and people need air conditioning in the desert. A good air conditioning contractor doesn’t need to use phone solicitors to grow his or her business. Best Buy doesn’t have phone solicitors calling to maintenance your computer or TV. But, how many Best Buy commercials, and advertisements have you seen this month… a lot right? That’s because they want you to find them when you do need a computer or television!
My experience has taught me that the AC companies in Phoenix that use these tactics are not the “good guys”. They offer a low price special and “have someone in your area” so they can come sell you stuff. In many cases, such as the one this article is about, they’re selling you snake oil.
Sometimes, the scammers are caught. Unfortunately, most are not. You don’t have to dig too deep to see some who’ve been caught preying on homeowners in recent years. Here’s two recent examples:
AC Tune Ups & Maintenance Are a Must
Don’t let the scammers discourage you! You should schedule to have your AC maintained regularly. There are dozens of great air conditioning companies near Phoenix and around the country. Just do your homework and find them, instead of them finding you!
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