Florida’s summers are typically sweltering with oppressive humidity. Having your air conditioning system in prime condition is essential. As humidity builds, mildew growth is a risk. A working AC improves air quality within the home. It also helps prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion.
It’s hard to predict precisely when the hottest weather will arrive, but it won’t matter if you’ve taken steps to ensure your air conditioning unit is ready. Not only does this ensure your home stays comfortable throughout the summer, but a well-maintained unit also helps reduce your energy bills by maximizing performance. Keep cool in the hottest months with these tips for AC maintenance.
Areas to Inspect and Clean
Air conditioners work by capturing the heat and humidity within the home and transferring them outside. It’s an outdoor unit with a fan/blower, a compressor, and a condenser. Inside is the evaporator coil and another fan/blower.
Blowers and Fans: They push the cold air around the home through ducts and out of the vents to cool the house.
- Compressor: The compressor pump increases pressure to send the refrigerant to the condenser.
- Condensor: Coils inside the condenser release the heat that the coolant collected in the evaporator coil. A fan helps blow the heat from the condenser to the outside air.
- Copper Tubing: Coolant travels around the home and outside the house in these tubes.
- Ducts: Passageways for air to circulate around the home to reach each room.
- Evaporator Coil: The indoor heat and humidity are absorbed through the coil into the coolant, and an expansion valve helps regulate the amount of coolant entering the evaporator coil.
- Filter: A filter within the air conditioner collects small dust particles, pet dander, and other allergens to clean the air.
- Thermostat: This controls the amount of cool air that’s needed to match the indoor temperature you’ve selected.
The compressor, condenser, and evaporator coils work together in a continuous cycle to bring down the indoor temperature to the temperature set on the thermostat. At that point, they’ll pause until the room warms up again and needs more cool air. All AC components must be in great working order to ensure you’re not wasting electricity on inefficient cooling or leaks. To do this, you have to inspect and clean these areas regularly.
#1 – Clean or Replace AC Filters
When the air filter in the ductwork builds up dust, pet hair, and other dirt, it restricts airflow, which puts strain on the rest of the AC components. Plus, the excess dirt and dust may end up on the coils and make it harder for the evaporator coil to collect heat and humidity from the air within the home. A clean filter can decrease your energy bills by as much as 15%.
Reduce the rate at which you have to replace your filters by having the ducts cleaned when you have your AC inspected and cleaned. Duct cleaning helps ensure optimal airflow and reduces the chances of dust and dirt from reaching the coils and fins.
#2 – Diagnose Electrical Failures
The controls on air conditioners get a lot of use. Over time, electricals in the compressor and fans may stop working correctly due to corrosion or loose connections. Part of your AC maintenance plan should inspect the electrical connections to ensure they’re not loose or showing signs of corrosion. Contacts also need to be examined.
#3 – Inspect and Clean the Evaporator and Condenser Coils
The condenser and evaporator coils will build up some dust and dirt over time. While an air filter can help keep dirt from the evaporator coils, the outdoor condenser coils also get dirty. It would be best if you keep these clean.
To do that, you want to clean up the area outside to minimize the dirt, pollen, and leaves that get into the condenser unit. Verify that lawn mower chutes are turned away from the unit when you’re mowing the area. Improve airflow by planting shrubs and plants at least several feet away and trimming branches to keep them at least two feet away.
Evaporator and condenser coils have aluminum fins on the coins. They can get bent if you’re not careful. With the use of a special fin cleaning comb, dirt, hair, and dust are cleaned while the fins are gently bent back into shape.
#4 – Look for Leaks
Leaks in the ductwork may result in hot air not making it back outside. You’ll be running the air conditioner and doing nothing more than heating your house. Ducts should be inspected to ensure there are no leaks.
You also need to inspect for leaks in the coolant lines. Leaking refrigerant is not only detrimental to the system’s operation, but it also can impact the environment if the coolant leaks outside on the ground.
Refrigerant leaks can lead to the air conditioner not having enough coolant. Adding coolant isn’t enough. You need to get the leak repaired. That’s one of two coolant issues. There is also a problem of having an AC unit that is undercharged or overcharged. It can happen if the installer fails to charge the unit to the manufacturer’s specifications. Whether it’s overcharged or undercharged, improper charging impacts the air conditioner’s performance.
#5 – Oil Motors and Check Belts
Belts and motors that operate the fan and other AC components must be inspected and lubricated. This helps prevent the wear and tear of the motors caused by the friction of regular use. Replacing belts before they’re worn and broken keeps the unit running smoothly.
#6 – Unclog Drain Channels
Drain channels need to be kept clean of anything that can clog them. If they get clogged, the unit has a harder time removing humidity, leading to moisture build-up within the home. Too much humidity is a leading cause of mildew growth.
Schedule a AC System Evaluation
Can’t you do this work yourself? You can, but are you a trained professional who can identify and quickly correct potential issues before they arise? Can you tell if the location of your AC unit is affecting its efficiency? It’s unlikely you know all of the ins and outs of your home’s air conditioning system.
Don’t face a costly, frustrating breakdown in the middle of the summer. Arrange a complete system evaluation at your convenience. It’s the best way to know if something is wrong or about to go wrong. You’ll have plenty of time for parts to arrive and have the necessary repairs made. It also alerts you to whether or not it’s time to consider having your system replaced. The lifespan of a central air conditioner is often no more than 20 years. If yours is older and no longer cooling effectively, it could be time for an ENERGY STAR central AC.
The technicians and installers at All Year Cooling are rigorously trained and keep up with the latest technology and improvements in installations, repairs, and maintenance. It’s our goal to provide you with exceptional service and complete satisfaction. When you schedule an entire AC system reevaluation, you gain peace of mind with a full inspection that checks:
- The Ductwork
- The Air Handler
- The AC Unit
Schedule AC maintenance before the rush. All Year Cooling gets your AC ready before the hot weather arrives. If you need repairs or it’s time to replace your unit, we provide a range of coupons to help you save money. Contact us today for a free estimate.