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Dear Angie: How often should a central air conditioning unit be serviced if there is no problem? My A/C unit is 10 years old. – L.O., Hopewell Junction, New York.

Dear L.O.: Even if you don’t suspect any problems with your air conditioning unit, heating and cooling experts on Angie’s List say it’s a good idea to have it inspected, serviced and cleaned once a year — ideally in the spring — to ensure it operates at peak energy efficiency and is ready to cool your house during the months you need it most.

As your HVAC system runs, it accumulates dust and dirt in key areas that affect its efficiency, like the condensing coils and air filters. Left unchecked, your A/C system can lose 5 percent of its operating efficiency each year because of this buildup, meaning it can’t cool your house as capably as it could if it were clean.”

Learn more about maintaining your central AC unit here.

Preventative maintenance is an often neglected aspect of HVAC. Many people assume that problems only occur when something breaks down. It’s important to think of your heating or cooling unit much like you would your car. After all, cars need to regularly have their oil changed. Other parts like belts, tires, and spark plugs need to be occasionally replaced after long-term use too. While car maintenance services are generally done for safety concerns they also help eliminate potentially costlier auto repairs. The same principle applies to your air conditioner or heating unit.

Temperature Control Specialties offers installation, maintenance, and repair services for many brands of HVAC equipment. Our professionals have years of experience in detecting the early warning signs of a failing part or component. Call us at (317) 247-7663 or visit our services page for more information.