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Pre-Service Checklist

Working with an experienced air conditioner service professional is an important part of keeping your home's cooling system running as efficiently as possible throughout the summer. To make the most of an upcoming service visit, take these pre-service steps to prepare your home for the service technician's arrival.

Home Troubleshooting

Your service professional will be able to work much more efficiently if you have already ruled out some common causes of air conditioning issues. For instance, a dirty air filter is at the root of many air conditioning maintenance issues. Change or clean your unit's air filter as needed and see if that reduces or eliminates the problem. If it does not, the technician will be able to focus on other potential causes and diagnose the issue quickly.

Other common causes of air conditioning issues include refrigerant leaks, damaged wiring and improperly set thermostats. Even if you are not able to fix these issues without professional help, taking a look at the components of your air conditioner and identifying possible problems will help your technician get your system up and running quickly.

Setup and Organization

Although your dealer knows how to service an air conditioner, he or she cannot help you without knowing where your air conditioner is located. Take a moment to confirm that you know where all of your home air conditioning units are and be prepared to direct the technician to your equipment as needed. Likewise, your service professional needs to be able to physically reach your air conditioner, so confirm that the path is clear to each machine. This is especially important if some of your cooling equipment is located in hard-to-reach places, such as attics or crawlspaces.

Some of the most common issues with air conditioners and heat pumps involve freezing up. If your unit is frozen, be sure to shut it off the night before the visit and let it thaw to allow the technician to work on it easily. Finally, any pets in the home should be put in a separate room where they cannot get in the way or be injured during the visit.

If you rent your home, communicate with your landlord as soon as you notice an air conditioning issue to confirm that you have permission to have the machine serviced. It's also a good idea to let the landlord know when the technician will be coming.

Gathering Information

The more your technician knows about the current state of your system, the easier it will be to successfully diagnose and correct the issue. At minimum, know the model numbers of all of your units and have their documentation on hand. If you have had any previous service done on the system, be prepared with any documentation of that work as well. Your technician can use this information to get an idea of previous issues with the same unit and determine whether the current problem is related to those issues.

Even more importantly, your service technician needs to know as much as possible about the current issue with your system. Be ready to clearly explain the problem in as much detail as possible. For example, if your air conditioner is freezing up, be sure to mention when the issue tends to occur and how long the air conditioner usually runs before ice begins to form. In addition, tell the technician when you first noticed the problem, and explain any home troubleshooting steps you have already taken to try to address the issue.

Logistics on the Service Date

By the time the day of the appointment arrives, you should already have a clear path for the technician to reach your air conditioners and have all the relevant information on hand. The last step in preparing for the appointment is to make sure that the logistics of the visit are all set. Remember, an adult needs to be at home to legally let the technician enter the building, so arrange your schedule accordingly. Be prepared to answer the phone as well; many technicians call ahead to let the customer know that they are on their way. Connecting with the technician over the phone will allow you to confirm your address and otherwise make sure you are all set for the visit.

Once the technician arrives, be ready to show him or her where your equipment is located. Offer the pertinent information you have previously collected right away; if you remember any other details during the visit, don't hesitate to share them with the technician. Finally, unless you have previously made alternative payment arrangements with the dealer, be prepared to offer payment at the conclusion of the visit. If you are fully prepared for the visit, your technician will be well-prepared to keep your air conditioner running smoothly for the rest of its lifespan.