Yearly tuneup


Old 05-19-14, 07:27 PM
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Yearly tuneup

I'm looking into setting up a yearly maintenance contract for 6 ACs (4 central, 2 ductless) and 4 furnaces. This is for a house of prayer with an attached house. I got a quote for about $1,000 (drops to about $750 after 2nd year) from a company that has a good reputation, and that we've used for repairs in the past. My concern is that looking through repair bills I noticed a few replaced capacitors and I had to clean a flame sensor, yet I don't see those listed on the contract (posted below). Is it common for yearly maintenance agreements to include

(1) measuring the uF on caps
(2) measuring uA coming out of flame sensors.
(3) some kind of check of the contactor

Is there anything else you'd expect to be checked? I plan to discuss this with the company, but figured I'd get some advice here first. Thanks

Check and adjust belts
Check thermostat operation
Wash condenser coil (if needed)
Check all electrical connections
Check and/or replace belts (if needed)
Check all operating and safety controls
Check air temperature supply and return
Adjust summer/winter dampers (if required)
Lubricate all motors and bearings (if required)
Check current draw on motors and compressors
Check and record temperature rise across condenser coil
Check and record temperature rise across evaporator coil
Check condensate drain line and blow clear (if accessible)
Check and replace filter if needed, standard
Check operating pressures and refrigerant level.(Recharge system at time of maintenance only up to 3 pounds included)

Check thermostat operation
Check air temperature output and intake (Cooling Season)
Check and replace filter standard (from our normal stock) 1

Check pilot
Inspect burners and adjust
Check thermostat operation
Check all safeties and limits
Check zone valves and dampers
Inspect all electrical connections
Inspect flue pipe and connections
Lubricate all motors and bearings
Check amperage draw on all motors
Check air rise across heat exchanger
Check and clean combustion chamber
Check all safety and operating controls
Check and/or replace belts (as required)
Adjust summer/winter dampers (if required)
Check and replace filter if needed, standard brand
Clean and inspect (up to 20) of dryer vent piping and make recommendations if required.
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Old 05-20-14, 05:41 AM
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Most companies will aggressively check things like capacitors and contactors on maintenance trips. Selling them are often a way for companies to make extra money. I would be just as concerned to watch that the company doesn't write up too many repairs on their maintenance visits. You say you have a company with a good reputation. That should help but as always keep one eye open.
Old 05-20-14, 11:07 AM
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Is it common for yearly maintenance agreements to include
(1) measuring the uF on caps. I would say no.
(2) measuring uA coming out of flame sensors. Yes..... measuring and cleaning is part of maintenance.
(3) some kind of check of the contactor. A visual check... yes. Can't always foresee failure though.
Old 05-20-14, 06:08 PM
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You can specify that you want the capacitors measured, the flame sensors cleaned and the microamp DC reading taken at least once annually when it is time to renew.

The company I work for also checks the furnace cap readings, cleans flame sensors and measures the external static pressure across the furnace in the fall check and measures the outdoor unit cap readings in the spring check.

I also measure the negative pressure reading at the furnace pressure switch and the microamp reading at the flame sensor with a heat check but this is not our company policy.

I visually inspect the contactor and shoot it with an infrared thermometer.
Old 05-21-14, 08:16 PM
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I would say most of the stuff on that list is either not applicable for residential or just doesn't make sense. Wash condenser coil if necessary??? Its always necessary, once per season!!! I would ask for a combustion analysis as well on your heating PM. That's a pretty solid price though for 10 units.

Microfarads should definitely be checked on inspections. Those can easily kill a component and become an expensive motor replacement or even a burned out compressor, all for a $10 part. They all need to be within 6% of their rating. When they get around 5% I usually suggest replacement. I would also see about a "megger" test to check the insulation on the compressor windings. This will help show you what type of life you have left with your units. Its not a guarantee on how long it will last for but its a good indication.
Old 05-22-14, 11:21 AM
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I don't know how you folks do your business. If My people have to do that much for 6 ACs, I'll charge at least $500 per trip. (Please note, most firms in my town charge $100 for just clean one condenser coil).
Old 05-22-14, 01:08 PM
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Do a nominal Btu/hr performance test on AC

Do a nominal Btu/hr performance test on the A/C system, leaving a permanent record. Only takes a few minutes when U know how & do it a lot.
Old 05-22-14, 01:57 PM
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I think three visits per year is a bit much - the cost is also really high.

One visit in the late spring to check everything over should be sufficient; by that time it should be warm enough to check the a/cs, and the furnaces can be done at any time.

Pretty much all that needs to be done:

1. Clean outdoor coils
2. Change filters (convince your church to use 5" thick media filters -> they only need to be changed once a year)
3. Check condensate drains
4. Check belts if applicable
5. Inspect furnace heat exchangers
6. Check blower - clean if needed
7. Cycle and check basic operation -> temp splits, exhaust for monoxide, etc.

Check operating pressures and refrigerant level.(Recharge system at time of maintenance only up to 3 pounds included)
This is a very bad sign - find another company. There's no need to put gauges on the a/c units every year unless a problem is suspected. Every time gauges are applied, you lose some refrigerant. A/c systems are sealed so if a leak is found, it must be found and fixed.
Old 05-22-14, 07:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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The cost is high? Not really... There's 10 units, thats only $100 a pop. If thats all you're checking during a tune-up i hate to say but that pretty piss poor. I typically just hook up the suction side, if I suspect any other issues then ill do a full hookup, but amperages usually tell the story.


How long do you think it takes to make all these checks? If your techs can't do it all in less than an hour, its time to find some new techs. All these checks are necessary in my opinion.
Old 05-22-14, 11:57 PM
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Location: Texas, California
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RDSTEAM, If you really do all those checks plus some maintenance work, I say 1 hour per AC at least. (for example, we need at least half hour to clean one coil. of course you can take a water hose and go around the unit in 2 minutes, but that is not the way we clean the coil. Also for example, check all electrical connections, there are so many connections inside of condensening unit, air handler, T-stat, etc? you really check every one of them? take 10-15 minutes just to get to the spot and open all those boxes. Remember we are talking about 6 ACs, not just one.
Old 05-24-14, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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By myself it takes me about 2 hours. 2 guys it takes about an hour. One guy to clean the coil and keep everything organized and tidy one guy to run checks. Most residential AC unit have very minimal connections so it doesn't take long especially since you're already checking capacitors and performing merger tests. 6 units, your looking at 2 guys for almost a full day. He's pretty close with a $1000 contract. Now if its commercial, then thats an even better deal.
Old 05-27-14, 01:09 PM
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Location: usa
Posts: 36
Not sure if it matters, but we usually have one or two AC's running even during the winter when we have our main room filled with people.

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