What should be included in an air conditioning and heating tune-up?

If you live in the Phoenix-Metro area of Arizona you already know that having a central air conditioning and heating system in your home is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. The last thing you want to deal with on a 110-degree day is an air conditioner breakdown!

You probably already know how important it is to make sure your air conditioner is ready to handle the Phoenix summer, but how do you know what your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Contractor is doing and if he or she is doing a thorough job?

We all see and hear the TV and radio commercials, receive the mailers, and every other form of advertisement talking about “16-Point A/C Tune-Up just $39.99”, “21-Point Tune-Up, 44-Point Tune-Up…$29.00, $49.00, $99.00 and on and on…but how do you know if you’re getting a good deal, and how do you know you are getting what you’re supposed to be getting? After you finish reading you WILL know, because we’re about to tell you the no nonsense scoop on the Phoenix, Arizona air conditioning business and the well advertised, A/C Tune-Up.

What’s a fair price for an air conditioner tune-up?

First, let’s talk about price. Gasoline is hovering around $4 per gallon, the average service van gets about 14 miles per gallon. The average HVAC Service technician earns 18-30 dollars per hour (unless paid by commission which is a huge red flag and we will discuss how to know if that’s the case in this article), the workers comp. insurance rate for HVAC Contractors is amongst the highest of any job, employee training, company tools and ladders, etc., etc., etc., all make operating an HVAC Company very expensive.

On average it probably costs a good air conditioning company somewhere between $50-$75 to send a technician to your home. So you are probably asking, how can that company offer that service for anything less than that? They can’t!

What you will wind up with is one of two things, an inadequate 20-30 minute, “worthless” A/C check, or worse, a commissioned “sales” technician who’s about to attempt to (maybe even successfully) try to sell you a bunch of parts and services you most likely do not need.

Bottom line; you should pay between $75 and $125 for a “real” A/C Tune-Up.

How many “points” should an A/C Tune-up be?

There’s a big difference between a true A/C tune-up and a “check-up” and although the number of “points” (components tested or procedures) can vary based on the type of equipment in your home, a thorough tune-up should take approximately an hour to complete and range between 45 and 65 points.

Bottom line; advertisements for less than 45-points are probably nothing more than a quick check that may leave you with no cooling in the summer or, you are about to hear a sales pitch for parts you don’t necessarily need. Stick to companies offering 45 or more points and make sure the “tune-up” isn’t completed in 25 minutes!

But what should they check?

We receive calls on a regular basis from customers who have never used us before asking us to read them the list of procedures we use when performing our most popular, 66-point Super Tune-Up. Of course we are happy to, and do so all the time, BUT…does the average homeowner know what even half of those things are, probably not. And that’s OK, they shouldn’t have to…they should find a company they trust who does know what they are doing and is fair, honest and ethical.

So, here’s what should be checked; THE COMPANY!

If you’re reading this, you are already on your computer, go to consumer rating and review sites like Kudzu.com, Angie’s List.com, etc. and read what other people have to say about them. Go to the Arizona Better Business Bureau website and check out their grade and make sure they don’t have dozens of consumer complaints filed against them. Contact a professional trade organization and ask for a recommendation, in Arizona you can try the Air Conditioning Contractors of America – AZ Chapter, or The Arizona Heat Pump Council for a list of reputable companies.

Bottom line; a little research will go a long way towards protecting your wallet and making sure you keep your cool during those hot Phoenix summers!

Find more information about proper air conditioning maintenance and tune-ups here!