The Importance Of Air Conditioning Maintenance

One of the many modern marvels we have today is that of air conditioning. With it, our family can be comfortable even when the temperatures are hot outside. Typically, we don’t even give this complex system much thought but there will eventually come a time when every homeowner must think about this system. This is because it’ll eventually stop working and this usually happens during the most inconvenient and hottest times.

Fortunately, you don’t always have to go to the expense of calling in a professional HVAC technician. All it takes is a little motivation and guidance for most homeowners to be able to fix some of the most common reasons why their air conditioning system is malfunctioning. This means that your system can be up and running again quickly.

When you take the time to fix your own air conditioning system you won’t only save yourself some money but your family will also think of you as a hero. Unfortunately, there may be some repairs that do require the knowledge and training of a skilled professional. Remember, you shouldn’t ever sacrifice your or your family’s safety just so you can save some money. This is why it’s important to know what common repairs you can make on your air conditioning system and which ones you should leave for the professionals.

The Air Conditioning Won’t Turn On

When you go to turn the air conditioning on because it’s hot outside but nothing happens it’s probably because the system isn’t powering on. You’ll want to look at your thermostat but don’t panic if nothing is happening there immediately. Instead, turn it down about 5 degrees and the condenser should kick on and the cooling cycle should start. However, if this doesn’t work, you should check the circuit breaker.

Since your central air conditioning system consumes a lot of power it’s possible that it may have tripped your home’s circuit breaker which will keep it from working. This is something that frequently happens in older homes. To fix this you’ll need to go find your unit’s condenser unit which is where the circuit breaker box is usually located. When you open this up and see that the circuit has been tripped, you’ll need to reset it. Afterwards, you can go to your thermostat and start the cooling cycle again. If this doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional because it’s likely you have a more serious problem such as a broken compressor or motor. These things can prevent your AC from working. Unfortunately, you can’t fix them yourself. You’ll need a certified HVAC technician to fix them for you.

The Air Conditioning Won’t Cool Your Home

When you decide to turn on your air conditioner and it kicks on but doesn’t seem to cool your home you should take a look at your thermostat. This is the most obvious place to start so take a moment to lower the temperature by at least five degrees. Give your system some time to register the change (about an hour) then check its temperature again. If you notice that it’s gotten cooler, you’ve discovered your problem. Otherwise, it may be time to perform some air conditioning maintenance and clean your system’s evaporator coil.

When the evaporator coil in your central air conditioner unit is easily accessible you can clean it yourself. Typically the coil will be located above the air handler so you’ll need to remove a few screws and some foil insulation tape. You can then use a stiff brush and a tablespoon of bleach to carefully clean the coil. When you’re done, make sure that you replace the screws and seal up any leaks with some duct tape.

Sometimes you’ll try everything that you can to fix the problem with your air conditioning cool your home and still, the problem persists. In this case, it’s time to call a professional because this may be a sign that you have a more serious problem. It’s possible that your system has a leak that’s caused it to become low on refrigerant which means that only an HVAC professional can fix the problem for you.

The Bottom Line

The easiest way to fix your air conditioning system is to keep it from breaking down in the first place. By taking the time to perform air conditioning maintenance annually you’ll make your unit work more efficiently and ensure that its longevity. The choice is up to you whether you want to perform the maintenance yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that offer specials on annual maintenance. The benefit here is that they’ll also perform tests (e.g. refrigerant measurements, amp draws) that you can’t do yourself.

When you decide to clean, repair, or maintain your own air conditioning unit you should always consult your owner’s manual and make sure that you’ve turned the power off before getting started. If you don’t feel like you can do this yourself, you should contact a professional. There’s nothing wrong with doing this especially since you could end up damaging your unit or injuring yourself.

Tips For Keeping Your HVAC System In Good Shape

Here’s a not-so-surprising stat from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency): the average American spends 93% (yes, 93%) of their time indoors. This is not only because of the restrictions imposed regarding outdoor activities but also because of the nature of one’s work. Although this may seem safe, staying indoors for long periods of time can also potentially affect one’s health, thanks to the issue of indoor air quality or IAQ. This refers to the condition of indoor air, whether it is safe to breathe or potentially harmful.

IAQ is significantly impacted by the condition of your HVAC system. If the HVAC system is working properly and every component is functioning as it should, you likely will not have to deal with indoor air quality issues. This is the reason why it is important that you work with professional HVAC contractors to help you find the right solutions for any heating and cooling issues you may have. If you want to improve the life of your HVAC system, preventive maintenance is key. The best time to get your HVAC system inspected is during spring or fall, prior to the hot and cold months, respectively. This will help you get ready for summer and winter.

However, there are things that need immediate attention, especially if you want to keep your HVAC system reliable throughout the year. The purpose of the HVAC system is to keep your home comfortable throughout the seasons. Although it’s built tough, you need to be able to take care of it regularly so it can keep working as it should.

To keep your HVAC system in tiptop shape, here are tips to help prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system and prevent premature breakdown.

1. Keep It Clean.

Dirt and debris can affect how the HVAC system works. Particulates tend to restrict proper airflow, hence preventing efficient cooling and heating. Make sure that not only is your HVAC system kept clean but the surrounding areas are trimmed and tidy as well.

2. Improper Installation.

Improper installation could lead to a system failure which could potentially set you back by a few hundred dollars (or more). To avoid improper installation and the damage it can cause, make sure to hire only a licensed and trained HVAC professional.

3. Size Matters.

Just because the AC is big does not always mean it is better. To determine the correct HVAC system size, call your local HVAC service contractor for advice.

4. Call a Professional.

The DIY approach can sometimes do more harm than good. If your thermostat is not registering the ideal temperatures during summer and winter, you could probably perform simple troubleshooting. However, if the problem persists, you will have to call an HVAC professional.

5. Cut Off the Supply of Water to the Humidifier During Hot Weather.

When the weather is especially hot, stop the supply of water to the humidifier of the furnace system. Set the humidity stat from 30 to 40 percent during winter. If you do not want to strain your HVAC system, make sure the registers are set over 20%.

6. Replace the Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries Regularly.

Carbon monoxide is a toxic type of gas. Make sure your detector is working properly and replace batteries at least once every year.

7. Avoid Improper Lubrication.

Keeping moving parts in the HVAC system lubricated helps prevent friction and premature wear-and-tear. Once these parts become damaged, they cause the HVAC system to become less efficient. Make sure to apply lubrication regularly to keep the system in good shape.

8. Keep the Condensate Drain Line Clean.

The drain line could collect potentially harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, as well as dirt and algae. Clean it periodically to avoid the accumulation of organic matter.

9. Watch the Color of the Furnace Flame.

A crisp blue flame means that the furnace is working properly. However, if the flame is burning a shade of yellow or orange, turn off the furnace and call your repair company right away.

10. Consider a Replacement.

If your furnace has been working for 15 or 20 years, you likely will spend more for repairs over the long term than for a replacement.

11. Watch for Power Bill Spikes.

An inefficient furnace will consume more energy than one that is in good working condition. It will also fail at keeping certain rooms comfortable. Even if you cranked up the thermostat, the rooms will still feel cold.

12. Call for Repair.

If your AC system short cycles (it switches on and off frequently within short periods of time), it is not cooling your home enough to complete one heating cycle. When this happens, you need to call a professional for help.