Now is the perfect time to schedule annual air conditioner maintenance for your home, no matter what type of A/C system you have. Before the weather gets hot, have the system serviced and inspected. A qualified HVAC contractor will be able to identify and fix problems early, saving the cost of replacing an entire unit.
An air conditioner that is serviced regularly operates more efficiently. Simple maintenance tasks or adjustments within the unit can potentially reduce the energy consumption and lower your electric bill.
How an Air Conditioner Works
There are many parts of an air conditioner, and each requires some type of cleaning, adjustment, or lubrication.
Evaporator – this includes the cooling coils that remove the heat and humidity from the air, using a refrigerant. During normal maintenance, adding refrigerant may be necessary.
Blower – the blower circulates the air over the evaporator; and this is what sends chilled air into the room to make you comfortable.
Condenser – these are coils that carry heat to the outside. This area needs to be cleaned and free from debris, leaves, and dirt to allow for good airflow to the outside.
Compressor – moves the refrigerant from the evaporator to the condenser. This motor needs to be well-maintained, lubricated, and inspected thoroughly to be sure the systems work together.
Fan units – blow air over the condenser, assisting with releasing the hot air outside.
Filter – protects the unit from airborne particles, and can easily become clogged. Changing filters periodically can help improve how well the unit operates.
Thermostat – simple calibrations within the thermostat can make a difference in the temperature request inside the home.
Proper Refrigerant Levels
Refrigerant is inside the air conditioner coils, changing from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid and back again as heat is absorbed and cooled down while passing through the system.
Sometimes, refrigerant needs to be added during a service call. This is not because the A/C unit uses up the refrigerant, like your car uses up gas; but because of how the components are manufactured. Minute cracks can develop in the thin copper tubing or in the evaporator coil, and can cause refrigerant leaks.
Only licensed HVAC companies can purchase refrigerant for A/C units, and the technicians have been trained to install it properly. The type of refrigerant required varies, depending on the model of your air conditioner.
R-22 phase-out – Check the age of your air conditioner; the US Government has mandated that R-22 coolant will be unavailable within a couple of years. The more environmentally-friendly R410A refrigerant cannot be used inside an older system; so eventually an HVAC upgrade may become necessary.
Service Agreements Give Peace of Mind
Planned Service Agreements save money by providing annual check-ups on the A/C unit for one low price. The following areas of the air conditioner are serviced annually:
- Check and clean the condenser coil
- Check the electrical connections
- Check for oil and refrigerant leaks
- Check the safeties and controls
- Check and oil the blower
- Check the expansion valve
- Check the refrigerant pressures
- Check the evaporator temperatures
- Check the condensate drain
- Clean or replace the standard 1-inch filter
- Oil the motors as needed
- Adjust the system for optimum cooling
Of course, simple homeowner tasks such as making sure the external unit is free from leaves and debris, and brush is trimmed around the unit, will help operating efficiency. Frequently replacing the filter will also help airflow through the unit, giving it a better chance of cooling your home.
When you consider all the moving parts associated with an HVAC unit, it’s a good idea to rely on a professional to make sure the air conditioner is well-maintained. Call Naugle Plumbing & Heating to begin a service agreement contract or schedule a maintenance inspection on your air conditioner now, before the hot weather arrives.