Although it may seem from time to time that scheduled maintenance is more of a hassle than it's worth, maintaining your AC in good working order is really worth everything to your comfort and even your health in the hottest days of summer. By scheduling a maintenance appointment each spring, you can ensure that none of these problems, caused and helped along by poor maintenance, will happen to your AC unit.
1. Bearing failure
Bearing failure isn't extremely common, but if it does happen, it may be as a result of maintenance neglect. If not properly maintained, your unit may become poorly lubricated. This allows friction to increase and heat builds up, which then damages the remaining lubricant until it doesn't function at all any more. If you've ever had a motor bearing replaced before, you know that the replacement is much more expensive than simply maintaining lubrication would be.
2. Higher cost of operation
Because a neglected AC unit can leak coolant and often has reduced airflow due to dirty filters, overall efficiency will suffer. In fact, you can expect a 5% decrease in operational efficiency each time you fail to schedule yearly maintenance. This lowered efficiency means that either your home will be less comfortable or, which is more likely, you'll simply force the machine to run longer in order to produce the same results. Not only does this put extra wear and tear on a machine that's not running optimally already, but it also means your energy bills will be higher.
3. Iced coils
Ice on the coils can stem from a number of different causes. Two common causes, however, are low coolant levels and overwork. This means that in the scenario above, not only will your operational costs rise, but you have two reasons for the coils to ice over. Iced coils indicate that a problem is present, so if you notice them, you'll then have to call for repairs. If you ignore your machine so much that you don't notice the iced-over coils, more serious complications may arise.
4. Compressor failure
Compressor failure can occur when coils are iced over because the ice causes coolant to back all the way up the line until it reaches the compressor. Coolant does not belong in the compressor, because it is not compressible. Therefore, when the compressor tries to compress it, the levels of pressure skyrocket to highs far above what the machine is designed to cope with. This often causes something in the compressor to break. Another reason the compressor may fail is simply because neglected, dirty coils and other inefficiencies cause the compressor to work constantly all day long. It's not designed to stand up to such long periods of use, so this may cause it to fail prematurely.
As you can see, there are a number of complications that may arise if you neglect or simply decide not to have your AC unit serviced this year. Because the repairs (especially compressor repairs) are so cost-prohibitive, you should try to remember to schedule your annual maintenance regularly in order to prevent these difficulties. For more information on air conditioning repair, click here.