How Much Does Central AC Tune Up Cost?

Common Range: $70 – $190 Per Unit

National Average: $120 Per AC Unit

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Updated: June 8, 2022, by: Steve Hansen

Average Cost for an AC or Heat Pump Tune Up

The average cost of a central ac unit tune up is around $90 per ac unit when you get it done annually, or part of a service contract. If you have more than one central air conditioner or heat pump system, you can expect a considerable reduction to get the second done at the same time.

A local HVAC company will come to your home and clean the exterior of the AC unit with a foam spray to remove all debris buildup. After washing it down, they’ll check the operating limits of your capacitor and other electronic systems including the thermostat. Finally, they’ll clean the evaporator drain line from the indoor coil if needed, check the refrigerant charge, and assure everything is running at optimal efficiency.

Average Cost Ranges

Average Do It Yourself Cost
$30 (If you already own the tools)
Average Contractor Cost
$120 / Unit
Typical Cost Range
$70 – $190 / Unit

Compare Central AC Annual Maintenance

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Overview of Central Air Conditioner Tune Up and Annual Maintenance

AC maintenance and tune-ups are not always clearly defined so you have to know exactly what will be done by an hvac service company during the service call. It’s the only way to accurately compare companies and their AC tune up costs. In addition to the services they provide, it’s encouraged for you to pay attention to your system and present any questions or concerns you have at the time of the visit as well, since it can help the technician look at small issues before they grow into something large and more costly.

Typical AC Tune Up Service Should Include

  • Cleaning the outside condensing unit coil and evaporator coil.
  • Checking air conditioning system pressures for signs of a refrigerant leak.
  • Checking and replacing insulation on the refrigerant lineset leading from the condenser unit to the wall of your home as needed.
  • Removing the fan top and cleaning debris, insect nests and other matter from the inside of the outdoor ac unit around the AC compressor, fan motor, etc.
  • Cleaning the condensate pan and line, and flushing out debris that might cause blockage and leaks.
  • Checking electrical components, capacitors, etc and checking limits, output and tolerances, and tightening connections.
  • Cleaning and lubricating the blower wheel for optimal efficiency if needed.
  • Servicing moving parts as needed and directed by the manufacturer.

Things You Should Tell the Technician About if Applicable

  • Any rooms or areas that aren’t cooling properly.
  • Vents that show signs of being wet with moisture.
  • Leaks, drips, or any water that accumulated (and evaporated) near the indoor air handler or furnace.
  • Noises, vibrations, squeaks, rattles or any odd sounds coming from any of your HVAC component.

Basically, now is the best time to address any questions or concerns you have about your home heating and cooling system. While there, the technician will briefly look and alert you before doing any unscheduled work that’s not covered by the tune up itself.

Did you Know? Most major HVAC brands require you to have your central air tune up on a regular basis. If you don’t, the company might not honor a warranty claim on the unit. Further, if your unit is not functioning at peak efficiency, energy bills are likely to be higher, and annual AC maintenance will help you save money when the unit is running, as well as avoiding high repair costs further down the road.

The wording in the Lennox warranty is similar to most others. According to Lennox, “Proper maintenance of your HVAC system is required for continued warranty coverage. Lennox recommends a twice-yearly service and maintenance plan.” In most cases, you’ll want to have your ac system checked in the spring, and heating system in the fall.

Check your warranty and it’s specific warranty conditions for the fine print, to assure you properly care for your AC unit, or you may risk losing warranty coverage.

Central Air Tune Up Cost Factors

Apart from potential low-cost scams, here are the most common factors that will determine the central air conditioner tune up cost.

  • Tune-up Checklist – The more maintenance is done, the higher the cost might be. See the list above for the most common checklist inspection and maintenance items. If you want a thorough tune up, you might have to pay more for it, especially during peak season.
  • If Any Repairs are Needed – The most common repairs performed during an annual air conditioner tune up are capacitors that are not at factory specs, fan motors that are showing signs of failure, and of course low refrigerant.
  • Time of Year – During slow seasons, which vary from region to region, AC companies offer deals on maintenance and tune ups to keep their crews busy. One company puts it this way, “The fee for a tune-up is seasonal.”
  • Perks Added – Expect to pay on the upper end of the cost spectrum for AC maintenance that includes discounts on repairs or replacements or offers similar benefits.
  • Number of Units – Expect a 25% to 50% cost break on additional condensing units. One local company charges $159 for the first AC and $99 for the second, nearly a 40% discount.
  • AC and Air Handler Location – The majority of condensing units are on the ground. If yours is on the roof, expect a higher tune-up cost. The same might be true if the furnace or air handler is in the attic or a cramped crawlspace.
  • Cost of Living – If prices are high for consumer goods in your area, as they are in the Northeast, Northwest and other major metropolitan areas, your costs might be on the high end of the range.
  • Whether you Have a Maintenance & Service Plan – HVAC companies encourage annual maintenance plans that include one or two seasonal inspections. They cost more than some charge for tune-ups, but most include discounts on repairs and new equipment. Since your system’s warranty probably requires annual maintenance, they’re worth considering.

In most cases, HVAC companies will service the other parts of your split system at the same time. This may add to your cost. Gas furnace maintenance is treated completely differently than a cooling system, since there are different components to deal with.

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hvac technician checking refrigerant with gauges

Cost of AC Tune Up Supplies and Part Replacement if Needed

If you decide to service your own AC or Heat Pump, the list of supplies below will give you idea of the overall cost and skills needed to complete the task. If something is broken or out of manufacturer specifications or refrigerant is needed, you may need to obtain a refrigeration license to get the refrigerant itself.

Supplies and Parts Average Cost (Not Including Installation)
Garden Hose and Nozzle $10 – $35
Foam Coil Cleaner $7 – $10 Per Gallon
Fin Combing Tool $5 – $10
Refrigerant Gauges (for checking refrigerant pressures) $50 – $150
Electric Multimeter (for checking capacitor(s) and other components) $25 – $100
Handheld Air Pump (Blowing out condensate drain line) $10 – $35

Permits and Inspection Costs

  • $0 – A permit is not required for AC cleaning, tune-up and maintenance.

Tune Up or Maintenance Completion Time

  • 1-2 hours per unit | A thorough cleaning and tune-up takes at least an hour. If your HVAC system hasn’t been cleaned in a few years, then a two-hour appointment is not unusual.
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We’ve found the following annual maintenance and heating and air projects listed below to be commonly related to having a central air conditioner tune up, or other HVAC repairs closely related to this type.

Are You a HVAC Maintenance Pro?

If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.

DIY or Hire a Pro

Handy homeowners can do most of what a pro does in terms of cleaning and maintenance. There are many online tutorials like this one from a Missouri power company.

What most cannot do is adequately check the refrigerant charge and in most cases, clear the condensate drain lines without special tools. Also, a refrigerant handling license is required to add refrigerant to the system.

In addition, recall what we said about your central AC warranty requiring annual maintenance. You might have to verify you had the maintenance done to have a claim honored. Receipts from professional maintenance will do that.

For these reasons, we recommend professional maintenance and tune-up of your air conditioning.

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Common Questions and Answers

How Often Should You Have an AC Tune Up or Maintenance?

At minimum, your AC should be checked thoroughly at least once a year. Most HVAC contractors suggest twice yearly.

Reviewed and Edited by Steve Hansen of Costimates

steve hansen of costimates-sm Steve Hansen is the Lead Editor of Costimates. (Learn more) An avid home improvement professional with more than 35 years experience in both DIY projects and working as a construction foreman in residential new home building, upfits, repairs and remodeling.

"Like most homeowners, I became frustrated with the lack of quality information available on specific home improvement repairs and renovations. In 2015, Costimates was formed to help homeowners learn as much as possible about various projects and their costs so they could make better financial decisions."