Your air conditioner is a crucial part of your home. Without it, most homes in the US would feel unbearably hot during the warmer months, and even in areas with more mild climates, being comfortable without AC can feel impossible.

However, while your AC is usually just a “plug-n-play” solution, it will eventually need your attention. Whether it’s maintenance to keep it running properly for years or repairs, you will occasionally need to devote time and resources to taking care of it.

Today, we’ll go over the most common air conditioning types and the basic maintenance and repair requirements that you should expect.

1: Window Units

Window units are growing in popularity, and you’re probably well aware of what they are. A window unit is simply an air conditioning unit that slides into a window frame, the window is closed around it, and temporary seals are installed to prevent air from escaping. These are then plugged in like any other electronic, and they cool the area around them.

These are becoming more popular mostly because of their price. A window unit can be bought for just a couple hundred dollars, and when you compare that to the thousands that central air costs, the difference is apparent.

However, these also only really cool the room they’re in. So, you need to buy one for each room you want to cool in the vast majority of situations.

Repair and Maintenance Requirements of Window Units:

Different kinds of air conditioning systems.

Windows units are kind of unique in the air conditioner world. You mostly want to focus on maintenance. Due to them being so cost-effective, it’s often better to buy a new unit when serious repairs need to be done. It’s usually best to focus on maintaining your unit instead of waiting until it needs repairs.

For maintenance, it’s simple. Make sure you clean the removable filter regularly, and once or twice per season, remove the backing and wash the rear of the unit to remove debris and dirt that have accumulated.

Minor repairs that you can perform on these units include using a fin comb to straighten the thin metal fins on the front and replacing worn-out filters as needed. Leaks, broken compressors, and other issues can be handled by a professional, but it is usually better to buy a new unit due to the low cost.

2: Central Air

More than 50% of Americans have central air in their homes. So, this is likely another option that you’re extremely familiar with.

A central air unit is the best option for most homes currently. It balances price with longevity and performance perfectly. There are higher-performing options, but they tend to cost more, and there are cheaper options like window units that have major drawbacks. 

A central air unit is more complex, though. It uses an outdoor unit attached to your home, and then it attaches to your home’s duct systems. This allows the central air unit to cool the entire home at the same time by pushing cold air through your ducts.

However, a central air unit does cost between $4000 and $8000 on average. In exchange for the high price, you receive decades of high-quality performance.

Repair Requirements for Central Air Units:

Because a central air unit is far more complex than a window unit, it typically has more repair and maintenance needs. It’s also far too expensive to warrant purchasing a new unit every time you experience problems. So, you’ll likely have to deal with repair technicians at some point.

You can minimize that by keeping your air ducts clean and ensuring that you properly clean the outdoor unit regularly, as well. This will prevent debris and dirt build-up that can quickly destroy an air conditioning unit if left unchecked.

Repairs will need to be conducted by a professional. The most common repairs that are needed are coolant leak repairs and compressor repairs. However, there are some instances where exterior mold build-up and other minor surface-level issues can be handled by homeowners. If those issues enter the unit, a professional is required for safety reasons, and to prevent damaging the unit.

3: Wall-Mounted Air Conditioners

Wall-mounted air conditioners aren’t as common, but they are crucial for residents living in heritage buildings. Certain homes and multi-family housing units are old enough and significant enough to the area’s history that they are protected from alterations. This means that central air cannot be installed in these homes.

These units are mounted on a wall indoors, and for the most part, they are the same as window units. However, they are typically more powerful and costly.

Repairs such as coolant leaks and compressor problems can be dealt with in a cost-effective manner by contacting an HVAC specialist.

4: High-Efficiency Air Conditioners

High-efficiency air conditioners are basically the next step in central air technology. They function the same way, but they utilize the latest advancements in technology to provide cool relief to an entire home at a fraction of the energy cost. A high-efficiency unit is simply a central air unit with a SEER rating higher than 13.

Because these units are more advanced, they are more costly than your standard central air unit, but they can help you cut back on costs in the long run by lowering your energy bill.

Different kinds of air conditioning systems - high efficiency air conditioners.

Repair and Maintenance Requirements for High-Efficiency Air Conditioners:

Your at-home maintenance requirements are the same for these as they are for central air units. Keep your ducts cleaned, and make sure you clean the unit while checking for mold or dirt regularly.

Repairs are also fairly similar. Your main concerns will be the compressor and coolant lines. However, because they use more advanced electronics, electrical repairs can be more common. All three of these repair tasks require professional assistance.

Get Your Air Conditioner Repaired ASAP

The warmer season is approaching, and you’re likely getting ready to install your window units or turn on your central air to stay cool. If you go to cool your home, and something goes wrong, contact A&H Heating and Cooling. Our team will help you get a new unit installed, repair an existing unit, or answer any HVAC questions you might have.