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the Cost of Air Conditioner Maintenance

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$ 253
Mar 2008
Phoenix, AZ
Preventive maintenance for air conditioner   more... close row

Description of service

The price covered preventive maintenance of a combination air conditioning and evaporative cooling system. The service also included cleaning of the air ducts and air filter replacement.

Other services are available, including 24/7 emergency repair at additional cost for odd hours, and longer-term service contracts at discounted rates. The company purports to serve a variety of clients from small residential installations to large commercial or industrial cooling systems.

Refrigerant (the environmentally safe freon alternative stuff) was about $23/lb.

Review of Service

In preparation for the forthcoming scorching summer temperatures here in Phoenix, we decided to make sure our 6-year-old air conditioner and 3-year old evaporative cooler would be able to handle the strain.

The maintenance company scheduled a broad range of time (a 7 hour block) during working hours, meaning I had to take a day off work, so, really, the service cost me time I had to make up at work as well as the $253 in service charges. Unfortunately every shop we called had the same scheduling policy and we were unable to find one that would work evenings or weekends except on (very high) emergency rates.

The two-man crew arrived toward the end of the scheduled block but made up for it with their their competence and how they made short work of the job. They cleaned debris from both units and replaced the pad in the evaporative cooler (cheap, but it's , and scoured the pad's housing (probably the only place you can expect mold and mildew to grow in Phoenix). They then made sure both coolers were in perfect working order, and even silenced a rattle we'd gotten used to hearing in the air conditioner. After fixing a slow leak in one of the compressor connections, they topped off the system with a couple pounds of refrigerant.

They cleaned dust and debris out of the ducts and vents and gave each unit a test run. No dust, and we didn't get the odd musty smell that happens when the ducts sit unused for a while.

I hesitate to guarantee it was money well spent, but I'm not adverse to paying the tab as it saved me doing the work.


Call around, maybe you'll have better luck than we did at finding someone who'll work weekends for the same money others charge for the inconvenient weekday .

Most of the maintenance tasks I suspect can be done by the homeowner (changing air filters or pads? Brushing off grass and twings? Easy!), it's just that they're not particularly pleasant and sometimes involve climbing on the roof, which can be dangerous to the inexperienced. Other tasks, like fixing leaks, can easily make things worse when done by people without experience.

Cleaning out the ducts is probably one of those things you want to hire someone to do, though. Getting all the stuff out of the nooks and crannies is nigh on impossible without the right tools. And is something you should have done once or twice a year, especially if you have allergies.

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Oct 2010
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