A few years ago I purchased a new home. This year I decided to hire an
HVAC service firm to get my HVAC serviced/checked. Given I'm new to
all of this, I don't know what is "normal" service.
Is the following considered normal service? I'm asking because I want
to get a better sense of whether or not I should hire this firm again
next year. This is what they did and didn't do.
1. checked the inside unit: electronics. This did not include looking
at the evaporator coil to see if it needed to be cleaned, and it did
not include removing the blower fan to visually inspect it or clean it.
He simply put his finger into the blower fan, said it looked clean,
and left it at that. They indicated that cleaning the evaporator coil
was an extra service that I would have to get a separate estimate for.
He indicated that it was likely clean, and that it would not need to be
cleaned until maybe after 7 years of service. He said they needed to
put a chemical on it to clean it, which is why it was a different
2. outside, he checked the compressor unit. He checked the Puron
level, and added a bit. He also checked the outside electronics. Last,
using a hose, he washed down the inside and outside of the unit
including the fins.
This cost $99. I live in California if that helps with the prices.
Is this normal servicing?
How can I personally check if the condensor coil is clean?
In general and using common sense....
-So far as electronic things found in a home, electronic things do not
break - and if they do, then something will stop working. So I have never
heard of the need to service anything electronic. About the only thing to
do is clean around the circuit boards if there is dust. Vacuum or use
compressed air. Also I suppose you could take a look at the wiring while
doing this - be sure no wires have lost their insulation, and moving parts
have not rubbed against wires causing them to lose their insulation.
-Mechanical things and moving parts do need maintenance and lubrication.
Read the instruction or service manual for whatever it is and lubricate the
parts as suggested and use the *recommended* lubricant. Belts can become
worn and need replacement or tightening. Also vibrations from moving parts
can cause bolts/nuts to come loose. Check to be sure the "thing" is not
going to fall apart. Mechanical things can become dirty. Clean if needed.
-Freon/Puron levels can become low, so good to check that.
-So far as the evaporator coil needing cleaning or not, I would think that
a properly maintained air filter would prevent most dust from getting to
the coil. So I would not consider this as something to check unless there
was a problem with the air not flowing as it should. There are companies
which do "duct cleaning" as a specialty though. If I were to hire someone
to do this, I would expect them to inspect/clean the coil as well as the
-In general so far as servicing things (preventive maintenance) goes,
instruction manuals or service manuals will say what should be done, when
it should be done, and how it should be done. The idea is to extend the
life of the thing by lubricating moving parts, to find worn parts and
replace them ahead of time, and to make adjustments/tighten loose parts. So
ideally you would have periodic scheduled downtime to perform preventive
maintenance, then this should keep the thing operating properly.
What is "normal" in my area for HVAC installation/service is for them to
not return calls, then I wind up learning how to do it myself if I want it
What is normal for HVAC where my elderly dad lives is for them to come
right out, then tell him he needs an entire new air conditioning and
heating system every 5 years or so. (Unfortunately he listens to them,
which I suppose is why they give his such good "service"?)
And what seems normal on the group alt.hvac, when asking questions, is for
them to not be willing to give you the time of day (there are a few on that
group who know what they are doing and give intelligent helpful answers).
"Jack" wrote in message
I think you have most of that right with a couple
of exceptions. The evaporator coil can need
cleaning; it depends on your use and the climate.
With the right conditions you can get mold and
algae, and that may happen more in a system that
is barely used than one that works a lot. Your
nose will tell you when it is needed.
Second, many systems have no belts; the motors are
direct drive and many of the bearing are sealed,
so no maintenance is needed--it works or it
doesn't. Good point about loose screws, nuts, and
bots. Check and tighten every thing that loose
and is structural, watch out for turning stuff
that isn't structural.
Third, there is no point in checking the freon
level, it is either ok and the system cools, or it
is low and the system cools poorly. The only
potential problem is that with a new system (new
house) one doesn't know what is normal for that
system. Not enough cooling, may simply mean the
system is somewhat inadequate rather than having
lost freon, so there is the possibility of
unneeded maintenance calls.
There just isn't much preventative maintenance
possible. Clean the outside unit, oil the fan of
the outside unit, change the inside filters. The
rest either works or doesn't and you mostly can
not predict failure of any part,i.e. you can't
find any "worn" parts.
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