ADDITIONAL AIR-CONDITIONING CHECK 

Previously, our Maintenance Agreements have included one heating check and one air-conditioning check. We have been thinking about offering or converting our Maintenance Agreements to include an additional air-conditioning check for several years. From the middle of August until the end of September, we spend a large amount of time dealing with flooding air-conditioning systems. Most of the floods are because of low refrigerant, poor airflow and clogged drains. It is a bad thing to have a flood in a basement, garage or a crawl space. It is a horrible thing to have one in an attic. There are several reasons to have an additional abbreviated air-conditioning check in the summer but preventing a flood would be the main one**.

The additional service would be performed in either the months of July or August and would not be the same maintenance we perform in the spring. It would be an abbreviated service consisting of filter replacement, drain treatment (purge and chemical), and superheat (superheat is the correct method for checking refrigerant charge) check only.

 Some but not all of the reasons we are offering a Maintenance Agreement option of having the air-conditioning checked twice instead of once a year are as follows**.

1. During our more severe summers, several of our customers experience problems with drains clogging and causing floods. The warmer the weather, the more hours the system is running. There is a thick mold that has abnormal growth during these times. The mold grows, the drain clogs, you have a flood.
2. The indoor fan that serves the air-conditioning, which in most instances is the same fan for your heating system, runs a lot more during the cooling season. It could operate twice the amount of time as it does during the heating season. This extended operation time causes more dust to get caught in the filter reducing airflow. The reduced airflow can cause loss of performance and/or system damage. (Note: a dirty filter usually does not allow more dust to get through the system.)
3. Systems that have minor refrigerant leaks can cause several problems. A system that is 10% low on refrigerant (Freon) has a 20%+ loss of performance. This loss of performance causes the building owner to spend a lot more money than necessary on electricity. Additionally, this undercharged system is less able to remove humidity from the space and humidity removal in Georgia is a big priority.
4. As stated above, we have long wanted to add another air-conditioning service to our Maintenance Agreements. However, we have been afraid to seem too pushy about adding services and costs. This past summer was very hot and humid, we saw a lot of problems that might have been avoided with an additional air-conditioning check. We now feel compelled to give our customers an option to further protect their homes, comfort and energy costs.

Some but not all reasons you might want to consider the option of an additional abbreviated air-conditioning service are listed below (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy)**. 

 1. If your air-conditioning drain has flooded before you might need the service.
2. If you have to add refrigerant (Freon) to your system every two years or less then you might need the service.
3. If your comfort setting for your air-conditioning is 74 degrees or less and this is for more than 10 hour a day then you might need the service.
4. If you turn your fan on (there are two settings for your fan on most thermostats, on and auto) for extended periods of time then you might need the service. (Note: We believe that turning your fan on for extended periods of time is a great idea that can increase your comfort and helps with dust removal. Its benefits can outweigh the additional operating and maintenance costs.)
5. If your air-conditioning condensing unit (outside portion for most buildings) or evaporator coil is more than 10 years old then you might need the service.
6. If your air-conditioning drain has a long horizontal run then you might need the service.
7. If the inside portion of your system is installed in a finished basement then you might need the service.
8. If the inside portion of your system is installed in an attic then you might need the service.
9. If you are just unhappy with the risks of having a flood or an inefficient air-conditioner, then you might need the service.

Some but not all reasons you might be okay keeping the normal Maintenance Agreement option of a single air-conditioning check**. 

1. Your home is less than 10 years old
2. You have had no history of flooding.
3. You have no history of refrigerant leaking.
4. Your normal comfort temperature is 75 degrees or higher.
5. Your comfort temperature is only on eight hours or less per day.
6. You do not have any inside portion of an air-conditioning system installed in a finished basement.
7. You do not have an inside portion of an air-conditioning system installed in an attic.
8. Your inside portion of your air-conditioning system is in a basement crawl space.
9. You can go with the flow (pun intended) and you are not going to panic and/or be upset if you have a flood or have decreased air-conditioning performance.

Below, I give a few examples of the circumstances that people might have and what I might think about it

 1. My sister and her family live in a home that is less than 5 years old. Their comfort temperature is in the 74-76 degree range. They usually do not run their fan for extended periods of time. Last year they had a system that was low in refrigerant. They have had no history of air-conditioning drain flooding. One of their systems is in an unfinished basement and one is in the attic. The attic drain has a long horizontal run but it is graded well (slope of over ½ inch per foot of run in their case). This is a customer that is on the edge of needing the additional service. If their refrigerant were ever to be low again then they would definitely need the additional service to keep from flooding and insure operating efficiency. Otherwise it would be a case of whether or not they could stand the pain of a flood or additional operating cost. If my sister called me tomorrow and asked, I would probably say she would be okay without the additional service unless circumstances change**.
 2. My parent's house is less than five years old. Their comfort temperature is north of 76 degrees (we lovingly refer to their home as "The Furnace"). The inside portion of their single air-conditioning system is located in the attic. There has been no history of flooding or refrigerant leaking but the drain does have a long horizontal run with little or no slope. Normally, this would be a customer that I would think might not need the additional service but they have some unusal circumstances. My mother has breathing difficulties that are severe enough for her to have liquid oxygen in the home. Dust removal is a priority and there is an auxiliary central dust removal unit on their system. They run the fan probably more than 20 hours per day. Having a flood would be a health risk to my mother. She would not be able to live in the house if there was mold caused from a flood or if their was extensive construction to repair flood damage. They definitely need the additional service**.
 3. My brother and his wife are empty nesters. Both of their systems are located in the attic and have a history of flooding. Most of their equipment is over 10 years old. Though they attempt to operate their systems economically, if they are uncomfortable they are willing to pay the cost for electricity. They have one system that has a long history of refrigerant leaking. They have a horribly long horizontal drain on both air-conditioning systems. This one is so obvious that I will not even state my opinion**.
 4. My in-laws live is a house that is probably less than 6 years old, though they have only lived in it a few months. The single inside portion is located in an attic and the drain has a relatively short horizontal run. I don't know if the system has a history of flooding or refrigerant leaks but my initial impression is that it does not. Their comfort temperature is approximately 78 degrees. Assuming that everything checks out in the spring, this would be a home that would probably be okay with a regular Maintenance Agreement**.

**Disclaimer:

Regardless of how often air-conditioning units or systems are checked, there is always the possibility of refrigerant leaking and drain flooding. This information should not be construed to be a warranty from The Wellborn Company for Heating and Air or WELLCO1, Bring The Miracle LLC. It is our official recommendation that everyone has his or her air-conditioning system checked at least twice per year. The information contained on this page is informational only and is not intended to be a recommendation for or against additional services.