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Average AC maintenance costs often vary depending on a range of factors and influences, such as what type of air conditioning system you have and what kind of repair or maintenance work it needs.
To keep your air conditioner running at its optimal capacity, it’s important to stay up to date with maintenance and servicing requirements. By looking after your AC system, you can help it last longer, ensuring that your home will stay comfortably cool for many years to come. You can also reduce long-term costs, keeping your AC as cost-effective as possible.
To help you plan ahead and budget effectively for air conditioner maintenance costs, here’s everything you need to know.
Factors that affect air conditioner maintenance costs
Maintaining your air conditioner can involve several ongoing costs, especially if your system is old or prone to breaking. In some cases, you can aim to reduce maintenance costs by adhering to regular service requirements, enabling you to catch and resolve problems before they become expensive.
Average AC maintenance costs depend on the following factors:
The age of your unit
The average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is between 10 and 15 years. As your AC unit ages, it may become more prone to shutting down or experiencing faults. Ageing AC systems often rely on old parts and technologies that can be costly to replace or repair as newer tech dominates the market. Typically, it’s a good idea to consider replacing your air conditioner every ten years or so or when maintenance costs are starting to exceed the price of a new unit.
Unit efficiency and size
Not all AC units are created equal, and your system’s efficiency and size can affect maintenance costs. In most cases, highly efficient AC units are cheaper to repair than low-efficiency models. In addition to this, larger units tend to be more expensive to maintain and repair because they often require more work and more expensive parts. These details are unavoidable once you own your unit, but they are worth considering if you’re planning to purchase a new air conditioner for your home.
Timeline of your repair
Repair timelines have an important role to play in determining average AC maintenance costs. Unfortunately, you’re often likely to start experiencing problems with your air conditioner when it is being used frequently throughout the summer months, which is also when maintenance demand is likely to be highest. Emergency repairs can incur extra charges, as can repairs that must take place during high-demand periods. Scheduling maintenance checks during winter can help you avoid the rush and unnecessarily high AC repair bills.
Just like taking your car to a mechanic for regular services can save you from car troubles later on, staying up to date with a regular AC maintenance schedule can help to reduce repair costs in the long run. Maintenance tasks that can help to keep your air conditioner working effectively include changing filters, cleaning frozen coils, and closing open spaces.
How to tell if your AC needs repair work
When your air conditioner needs repair work, you may begin to notice signs of strain or damage to the unit. Being aware of the signs that your air conditioner needs a service can help you spot problems early and address them before your system completely shuts down.
Relying on your senses is a good place to start. A damaged or broken AC unit may begin to make unusual sounds, such as whirring or clunking noises, when in use. You might also notice an unpleasant smell coming from your air conditioner when you switch it on. If you see or smell smoke at any time when using your AC, turn it off immediately until you can speak to a professional AC maintenance technician.
What average AC maintenance costs can you expect?
The cost of maintaining or repairing your air conditioner will differ depending on what issues you need to address and how bad the problems have become.
To fix an air conditioner leak, you could be facing a price tag anywhere between $200 and $1500. A refrigerant leak repair and recharge can cost as little as $250 or as much as $750. Thermostat replacements retail from $200 to $500.
Other AC elements that could potentially repair or replacement include:
- Control circuit boards
- Fuses, circuit breakers, and relays
- Metal or plastic drain paints
- Condensate drain line flushes
- Condensate pumps
- Condensing unit coils
- Condenser fan motors
To fix or replace these items, you could be looking at a low price of just $160, or you may need to splash out, paying up to $2500.
Average AC maintenance costs for different system types
AC maintenance costs may not be the same for all kinds of air conditioner units. Depending on your system type, repairs may be simple or difficult, with complexity heavily influencing price.
Ductless mini-split AC
Ductless mini-split ACs are complex units, relying on advanced and expensive AC technology. Often, these ACs need circuit board or air handle repairs, which can cost from $700 up to $1000. However, many of these ACs come with extended warranties to assist with repair costs.
Ducted air conditioners have several common faults, from clogged drain lines (about $160 to $200 to fix) to broken thermostats ($160 to $500) and refrigerant leaks ($200 to $500). Ducted AC systems are quite complex, which can lead to higher maintenance costs. However, if you maintain your AC regularly, you can usually avoid the need for expensive fixes.
Evaporative (swamp) cooler AC
Commonly, swamp cooler ACs need belt replacements, costing between $160 and $200 on average. They also often require pump replacements ($200 to $300). These units are complicated by design and may require the help of a specialised AC technician, which could drive up the cost of repair or maintenance work.
Geothermal ACs are relatively simple by design. Usually, when these units need maintenance or repair work, it’s for refrigerant leaks, which can cause issues if not fixed quickly. These repairs can cost anywhere from $200 to $700. However, other repair needs are usually fairly minimal, meaning that a geothermal air conditioner can still be a cost-effective AC choice.
Why is AC maintenance important?
AC maintenance is an important part of ensuring that your air conditioner can stand the test of time.
By committing to regular maintenance, you can avoid high repair costs as much as possible. Repairing your AC at the first sign of trouble can help you address problems while they’re still small instead of waiting until they become difficult and expensive to fix. You might even avoid having to replace the whole AC unit!
Regular maintenance checks also help to ensure that your AC works as well as it can to cool your home, ideally without draining excessive energy supply that will make a difference to your electricity bills.
In addition to this, sticking to an AC maintenance schedule is an important part of catching safety issues to prevent fires, electrical faults, and other potential hazards.
How often should you perform AC maintenance checks?
For most AC units, it’s best to schedule a yearly check with a professional maintenance technician. Checking your AC for signs of fault or damage should be a part of your annual pre-summer routine.
When a maintenance professional attends your property, they may complete minor maintenance tasks, which are usually simple, quick, and affordable. These tasks might include:
- Changing the AC filter
- Changing or replacing the thermostat
- Cleaning coils from debris
- Closing open spaces
Between professional tune-ups, there are also easy air conditioner maintenance checklists you can complete to keep your AC in good shape. Remember to regularly clean your air conditioner filters and keep outdoor units free from debris. Take steps to reduce your energy output, and be aware of the optimal temperature for your air conditioner.
Finding the right AC maintenance support
When it’s time to seek AC maintenance support, it’s important that you know where to find skilled professionals to help you.
Look for a trusted AC maintenance and repair company with good reviews and a good track record working with ACs. Work with professionals who undergo regular training and have the support of engineering and tech teams to ensure quality service.
Knowing average AC maintenance costs can help you prepare for any AC eventually. Armed with the right strategies and budget expectations, you can relax in the comfort of a cool home, all thanks to a well-maintained air conditioner!