How Much Does HVAC Central AC Tune Up Cost?
$90 Per Unit
Average Cost of a Central AC 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.
Overview of a Central Air Tune Up and 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 hvac tune up or maintenance service call. It’s the only way to accurately compare companies and their AC tune up costs.
Typical services should include:
- Cleaning the outside condensing coil and evaporator coils.
- Checking air conditioning system for signs of a refrigerant leak.
- Checking and replacing insulation on the refrigerant line 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.
- Cleaning the condensate pan and line, and flushing out debris that might cause blockage and leaks.
- Checking refrigerant levels, looking for leaks and charging the system if needed (at additional cost).
- Checking electrical components and tighten connections.
- Adjusting the blower wheel for optimal efficiency.
- Lubricating moving parts as needed and directed by the manufacturer.
Reputable hvac maintenance companies use low-cost tune-ups to gain new customers, and they put their best foot forward by doing a thorough maintenance job. If you get a deal like that, you’ve done well.
The concern with cheap air conditioner tune-ups is that unscrupulous AC contractors might use them with the intent of making a lot of money off you. Once they are cleaning your AC, they “find” an expensive repair issue that they pressure you to have fixed. Or they suggest you replace your AC entirely.
It’s important to get second opinions and multiple estimates in cases like that. Once you do, hire a contractor with a proven reputation for integrity.
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 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 factors 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.
- 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% 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 push annual maintenance plans that include one or two 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.
How Often Does Home a AC Unit Need to Be Serviced?
Most often, you’ll want to have the home cooling system (Heat pump or Central AC) serviced at least once per year. In many cases, this is typically done in the springtime, before you need to put any strain on your central air conditioner.
For furnaces, boilers and heating equipment, the same holds true in a once per year service or maintenance. These are generally done in the fall before you need to turn on the heating system.
If you have more than one HVAC system in your home, both or all the units should be done on this same schedule. Central AC in the spring, and heating in the fall.
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.
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.