Air Conditioner Maintenance – The How to Do It Guide by Homeowners Insurance Folks

There is a science to anything that goes wrong: things gone awry usually do so at the wrong time!

Ask the property and homeowners – landlords and renters as well – and they will emphatically tell you that, yes, when the air conditioning system goes, it’s generally during a heat wave, during the hottest times of the summer season!

How can the sorry situation be prevented? Your surest bet is by “taking the bull by the horns”. Begin a maintenance program that is consistent as it is proactive, say the cooling experts who are in the know.

Of course, the insurance agent who helped your with your home coverage will nod his head about this in total agreement. That’s because even though your plan may cover AC equipment breakdown in general, air condition claims that arise due to a lack of care will never be covered! To the indemnity industry, if you don’t take care of your home AC, it’s your liability (aka your own fault) and you will receive no compensation.

So, here we go with the important care and maintenance guidelines.

Number One: Ramp up your air conditioner’s Crankcase heater BEFORE you actually begin using your system. This is called ‘energizing’, an act that helps minimize the likelihood of having the system’s refrigerant leak into the AC oil.

Number Two: Cleanse the AC outside coils at least two times per year – once before the cooling system commences and once right before the hottest time when your air conditioner will be doing overtime.

Number Three: Check the compressor’s motor starter. Watch for any repair needs and particularly for corrosive electrical contacts that need replacement.

Number Four: Examine your AC’s moisture filters. Should the indicator show that there is moisture buildup, summon a technician that will check the source for it and repair any leak. As per protocol, technician workers will vacuum up and as necessary replace filters and driers.

Number Five: Check the air conditioner’s refrigerant charge. If you have experienced a shortage of the refrigerant before, you will need to conduct checks on a regular basis and do any necessary repairs.

Number Six: Make sure to be on guard for any air condition unit leaks. For checking convenience, utilize refrigerant additives that make checking easier.

Number Seven: Clean the air condition vapors so that air flow passage channels are not blocked. In general, make sure to also install new air filters regularly.

Number Eight: Attach surge protection to your air conditioning system. Additionally, you can install a thermostat which will allow your compressor to delay starting over once it has turned off. This should help prevent a breakdown from overuse.

Number Nine: Learn how to detect abnormal operation. If something doesn’t sound right, smell right, feel right or look right call your repair car ASAP before the problem becomes a major one!

The Importance of Insurance Reviews

Most people reach out to their insurance brokers or underwriters when there is a significant event in their lives that necessitates new or revised risk coverage – perhaps when they purchase a new home or it’s time to trade-in the old car. However, far fewer remember to review their insurance at regular intervals or when more subtle changes to their coverage requirements occur.

Reviewing your insurance regularly helps ensure your coverage is what you expect it to be in the unfortunate circumstance that you need to file a claim. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding coverage and being proactive about minimizing your insurance costs.

There are many different circumstances that could possibly change your coverage requirements and prompt a call to an insurance professional for a review. The examples below identify some of the instances in which you might want to review your coverage:

  • Renovations – If you perform renovations to your house, it is likely that you are also increasing its value. Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, pool, or even expensive landscaping, remember to check your policy limits to ensure they remain adequate in case of an insured loss. If you’ve recently renovated your basement, also note it is quite likely that your water damage insurance needs to be reviewed.
  • You’ve been accumulating possessions – Have you done a home inventory lately? Most people have more personal possessions than they think. Estimating the total value of your contents is vital to helping ensure your limits are adequate.
  • You’ve purchased a high value item – Remember that some of your personal possessions have to be scheduled to be properly covered. Jewellery, antiques, collectibles, wine collections, and art are a few examples of pieces that may require additional coverage.
  • New coverages have become available – The insurance industry frequently adapts to changing market conditions and offers coverage in areas that it has not in the past. For homeowners, insurance for overland water damage and home repair issues (such as broken furnaces) have recently become available from some insurers, in some areas. In addition, legal expense insurance, travel insurance, and pet insurance are available from brokers looking to cover more of your risk and insurance needs.
  • Laws changing to give you more or less choice – Changes to automobile accident benefits mean you should review your choices.
  • You become eligible for additional discounts – Changes in your personal circumstances may affect your eligibility for policy discounts. For example, if you install an alarm system you are likely eligible for a discount on your homeowner policy. If you use snow tires on your vehicle, many insurers offer a discount on your car insurance policy. If you pass the age of 50-55, you may become eligible for mature driver discounts.
  • If you change jobs and have a shorter commute – You should report this to your insurance broker as driving less typically correlates to lower risk and less expensive premiums. If you have a certain job occupation, you may also be eligible for lower insurance rates.
  • You’ve started a home business – A different use of your home, other than strictly residential, may require business insurance to properly cover liability risks.
  • Your personal circumstances change – If you get married or have children, you may want to review your coverage to ensure your coverage levels are adequate to look after your dependents in case of an accident.
  • Your child gets a driver’s licence – Always check to see if your child can be added to your policy. It is often the least expensive option for insuring them to drive. If they get their own car, you are also probably eligible for a multi-car discount.
  • If your child moves away to attend college or university – Check to see if your homeowners coverage can be extended to protect your child’s assets while away at school. It may be more cost-effective that purchasing a standalone tenants insurance policy.
  • If you haven’t had an insurance review in more than a year – Your coverage levels may be out of date. A key example of this is your home insurance. Property values and replacement costs can easily rise to the point that your existing coverage limits do not allow for the total reconstruction of your home in the case of a total loss.

Taking the time to speak to your insurance professional is always time well spent. Even if you don’t save on your insurance costs after the call, there is no substitute for having the coverage you expect when a claim becomes necessary. Since most insurance policies are for the term of one-year, it is a good idea to speak to your insurance professional before renewing your annual coverage.