Maintenance During Major Repairs
Every contractor is different, I get that. we don’t all need to do everything the same way or include the same services with repairs but there are some “best practices” that can save you a lot of heartache before, during and after you make a big repair.
Catch it During Diagnosis
Let’s say you find a failed, shorted compressor on a 7-year-old system that still has manufacturer parts coverage. If you simply quote the compressor and leave you may be missing a lot of other maintenance related issues that can affect operation once the compressor is replaced. A short list of items to check would be –
- Look at the accumulator for signs of corrosion
- Acid test to see if a burnout protocol should be used
- Check the air filter
- Inspect the condenser coil cleanliness
- Look at the underside of the evaporator coil
- Perform a static pressure test on the system to check for duct issues
- Check the crankcase heater (if it has one)
- Inspect the contactor
- Check condenser fan and blower motor amps
- Test all capacitors
- Visually inspect wires and cap tubes
- Check high voltage electrical connections
And this is just for cooling side issues. If the system is a fuel-burning appliance you would inspect every part of the furnace operation as well.
Testing all of these things is commonplace AFTER a repair, but it makes so much more sense to do it beforehand so that you can either charge appropriately for any of these items that need to be addressed or let the customer know you are including them to differentiate you from the competition.
Things to Do Along With Major Repairs
There are a few things you need to do as a matter of course during major air conditioning or refrigeration repairs that just make good sense to prevent callbacks. You can include them in the price or not or not but either way, it will save you more than it costs to do it.
- Clean the drain line and condensate pan (seriously…. do this)
- Wash the condenser coil
- Clean the blower wheel (if it is dirty)
- Change the air filter
- Test both modes of operation
Do these things along with all of the standards tests you perform to make sure that you have no issues and that whatever caused the fault in the system has been rectified and you will save a lot of problems. When the customer spends a lot of money getting a system fixed, they don’t want to turn around and have it fail for an “unrelated” reason.
While this list is clearly tailored to the residential and light commercial air conditioning market, every piece of equipment has its common maintenance items. So what do you do every time when you make a major repair?
Bryan Orr is a lifelong learner, proud technician and advocate for the HVAC/R Trade