Top 5 List - Air Conditioning Maintenance
Most air conditioning problems don’t present themselves as obviously as a condensing unit laying on its side. Instead, it takes time to check out key areas of the air conditioning system to rule in or rule out factors causing a “no cooling” call.
The five most frequent causes of air conditioning problems that we have found are:
- Dirty filter – a dirty filter can restrict the system’s air flow, causing the indoor coil to ice up further causing even less airflow, or long-term, causing dirt to accumulate on the indoor coil and causing the same restrictive airflow.
- Dirty outdoor coil – dirt, grass and cottonwood seeds can restrict the amount of air going through your outdoor unit affecting its efficiency or worse yet, its ability to cool. Vines, shrubs, and plants too close to your outdoor unit can have the same affect.
- Refrigerant under charge – call it refrigerant or Freon, but when your cooling system is undercharged by just 10% it decreases your system’s efficiency by 20%! A 20% undercharge results in a drop of 52%! A study by Texas A&M suggests that 90% of systems are mischarged by 10%. While the Department of Energy says 74% of systems are mischarged by 20%.
- Electrical component fails – Typically this would be a contactor, capacitor or transformer that would fail due to age, power surges, or just wear and tear from short cycling.
- Condensate drain is blocked and dripping on components, causing them to short out or the water from the blocked condensate overflows and trips an overflow safety switch placed in the system to protect against water damage.
While many of these problems can lead to decreased comfort (not enough cooling and higher humidity levels in your home) they can also lead to decreased efficiencies, higher electric bills, and possibly an emergency service call to your hvac contractor.
Most of these problems can be avoided with routine maintenance. Change your 1” filter monthly or your higher efficiency 5” filter every 3-6 months. Trim plants and shrubs away from your outdoor unit as needed and pour a little vinegar into your condensate trap, at the cleanout tee, to avoid gunk buildup blocking the free flow of water through your condensate pipe.
For anything major like electrical, refrigerant, or a failed component, call your state licensed, NATE Certified, hvac contractor for a repair and see if they offer annual maintenance agreements to have everything taken care of at one time.
Posted on Fri, July 28, 2017
by Phil Gorjanc filed under