what is normal hvac servicing?

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 service.
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?
Thanks,
Jack
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You got screwed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 ducts.
-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 done.
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

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Bill wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

California.
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.