When Should You Schedule a Preseason?

The concept of a “preseason” can be misleading.

Preseasons are, more often than not, a ploy by the air-conditioning industry utilized as a means for giving their technicians something to do during the slow periods during the year. And, while it’s not necessarily a bad thing to get ahead of the game — especially at a discount — the outdoor temperatures prior to the season may be outside the parameters needed to accurately check the refrigerant charge in your air-conditioner.

If it’s too cool outside and there is no load “cool inside” your house, the saturation temperature may be too low and the load on the equipment too low to accurately check your refrigerant charge. If the system doesn’t have a history of refrigerant leaks, then a glance may be adequate and you may also be able to include a furnace/heat pump maintenance thanks to the mild temperatures — the good ole 2-for-1 deal.

In my experience, most techs will attempt to get out of washing the condenser coils. It’s no fun standing in mud and coil cleaner suds for an hour or more — and it’s even less fun re-installing the panels on a unit sitting in coil cleaner suds and mud.

But, for the customer to get the full benefit of a preseason, it’s a must.

If the unit is located on concrete or gravel, away from your lawn care company — where speed is all that matters — it may not be necessary to wash it every year. If you have trees, keep the leaves raked away from the condenser because they block the flow of air through the coil. If you have Cottonwood trees, you may not want to preseason at all. Just wait until it snows cottonwood fuzz, then have your condenser cleaned.

When this happens varies from season-to-season and from state-to-state.

On a large commercial property in Bentonville, we would wash their condenser coils in the spring, only to return later in the summer and find the condenser coils completely covered in the aforementioned fuzz. We moved their service to later in the year to get in sync with the Cottonwood fall.

As far as the inside service goes, frequency depends on the environment.

When my three sons lived at home with their dog, Roscoe, it was amazing how fast the filter needed to be changed. Once they all grew up and moved away — or, in Roscoe’s case, went to the doggie daycare in the sky — the filters didn’t need changed nearly as often.

So, ask yourself, “How much traffic is in my house?” Are your return air grilles at the floor or in the ceiling? If your returns are in the floor, your filters will get dirty much faster than returns on the ceiling. Do you have children or pets? Do you have allergies and a HEPA air filtration system? If so, your filter maintenance is going to need to be more frequent.

So, when should you schedule a preseason? The answer is different for everyone.

We prefer to call it preventive maintenance — not a preseason. Preventive maintenance is necessary. How much and how often is unique to each individual and/or family. Air Dynamics will gladly build a custom maintenance plan that’s right for you.

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