HVAC Maintenance: How to Avoid Costly Air Conditioning Repair
Air conditioning does not only pertain to cooling indoor air but as a whole refers to an HVAC system responsible for both heating and cooling. Most homes have a central HVAC system in place to provide convenient temperature control during summers and winters. To understand simply the working principle of an HVAC system, it works by absorbing heat from inside the building and forcing it outside. An HVAC system contain refrigerant which absorbs heat from air. By removing heat from indoor air, sufficient cooling is achieved and maintained. The parts of a typical air conditioning system include:
• Fan or blower
• Condenser coil for heating
• Evaporator coil for cooling
• Coolant or refrigerant
The typical HVAC split system consists of an indoor and outdoor unit. HVAC systems also include the network of ducts and vents around the home as well as air filters. If you live in a part of the country with moderate winters, an air conditioning system is usually paired with a heat pump. On the other hand, a furnace often accompanies an air conditioning unit for homes located in areas with freezing climate. Furnaces, especially those fuelled with gas produce efficient heating and high temperatures.
Air conditioning service and maintenance: a homeowner’s dos and don’ts
An HVAC system is a significant investment for every homeowner. As such, you need to ensure that you are following recommended air conditioning maintenance and service schedules. By knowing how to care for your air conditioning unit, you can avoid spending on costly air conditioning repair. Here are the dos of keeping your air conditioning unit in good working condition.
• Routine air conditioning maintenance. This does not always mean scheduling a technician to check your HVAC system for possible air conditioning repair needs. Sometimes, routine maintenance which you can do yourself saves you time and increases the life expectancy of your HVAC unit.
• Check the thermostat. Calibrating your thermostat ensures that your HVAC system runs at peak capacity. If your system is still using a manual thermostat, you might want to think about getting a digital or programmable thermostat. One advantage of a digital thermostat is the option to program varying temperature settings for different days of the week. If you have a digital thermostat already, don’t forget to check it annually as part of your scheduled air conditioning repair and tune-up.
• Clean the AC unit. Cleaning an air conditioning unit is the first step to making sure that your HVAC system is ready for the coming season. A certified HVAC technician can do this for you quite efficiently, but this can also be a DIY job for someone who has some experience with this type of work. As much as possible, have a professional perform this task because it requires pulling apart and reassembling vital components of the air conditioning unit.
• Check refrigerant levels. Aside from servicing and cleaning an HVAC unit, the HVAC technician should also check the refrigerant levels. If the refrigerant levels are too low, the compressor may malfunction and you’ll end up with a broken AC unit in the middle of a hot summer season.
Now that you know what you should do to maintain and keep your HVAC system in good shape, here are some don’ts you should watch out for.
• The outdoor unit should always be clear of debris. If you see any weed or grass growing around the unit, you should clear it as soon as possible. Leaves may enter the unit and damage the fans if left unattended.
• In some cases, birds and insect may use the outdoor unit as their dwelling. This is also extremely hazardous if left unattended.
• Never allow air filters to get dirty or clogged. Dirty air filters reduce your air conditioning unit’s efficiency and may even pollute or contaminate indoor air.
• Don’t take chances and make DIY air conditioning repair work especially on wirings and electrical components. If you notice anything wrong with the unit, call a professional HVAC technician right away.
As a homeowner, you are every bit responsible for keeping your HVAC system maintained and properly cared for. Although your trusted HVAC contractor does most of the work, knowing what not to do helps minimize the occurrence of issues related to improper HVAC operation.
Signs you need air conditioning repair
Aside from routine maintenance, you should also have the ability to stop symptoms and concerns which can lead to further air conditioning damage. Knowing the right timing for air conditioning repair can save you thousands of dollars on replacement. The good thing is, it is not difficult to identify problems with your air conditioning unit. Here are six signs you might need to call a technician for repairs.
1. AC is not producing cool air. We are all familiar with this scenario. It is the middle of a hot day and your AC unit is on full blast, yet no cool air is coming out of the unit. This can mean several things and is a possible indication of a serious problem. It may be due to low refrigerant levels or the compressor is damaged. When this happens, contact a technician to conduct and assessment and emergency air conditioning repair.
2. Inferior air flow. Suppose your HVAC unit is indeed producing cool air, but the air flow is not enough. This can be attributed to problems with your ductwork and vents. Another possible cause is filter blockage. The worst case scenario is a failing compressor.
3. Problems with the thermostat. There are times when your HVAC system is working properly by your thermostat is not. You will notice there is something wrong with your thermostat if there is inconsistent temperature at different areas of the home.
4. Moisture and leaks around the unit. Whenever you notice leaks or moisture forming in certain areas of your HVAC unit, you should call an air conditioning repair technician right away. Leaks and moisture can point to more serious problems such as refrigerant escaping through the coils. Chemical refrigerant is a hazardous substance which can affect your family’s health. This should be fixed right away.
5. Unusual sounds coming from the AC unit. An obvious sign that you need air conditioning repair is when you start to hear unusual sounds coming from your air conditioning unit. It may mean you need to replace the unit entirely or in some cases may only mean there are parts that need tightening or repair.
6. Foul odor. Pungent smells coming from your air conditioning vents could mean wiring or insulation burned out. If the air smells musty, it is a possible sign of mold accumulating in your HVAC system’s ductwork.
Even if you don’t notice any of these signs, you should still consider a routine maintenance for your air conditioning unit. Preventing these issues from occurring will give you peace of mind ensure that your HVAC system remains reliable when in use.
Air conditioning companies: How to choose the best
Since air conditioning repair and maintenance are important aspects of keeping your HVAC system in good condition, you should know how to choose the best HVAC contractor in your area. Here are tips for every homeowner looking for a new HVAC contractor.
• Look for a contractor that provides a written bid. Over the phone estimates are never a good sign. First of all, every air conditioning unit is different and a contractor cannot give you a mere estimate by speaking to you over the phone. There are a number of factors involved in determining the right cost for repairing or replacing an air conditioning unit.
• When you are shopping around for a new air conditioning unit, a contractor should not offer to replace your old unit with the same brand and model. A good HVAC contractor should offer you several options to choose from and make a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.
• Choose an HVAC technician with notable years of experience. Aside from this, you should also consider a local company that can provide you fast and efficient service. Another indication of a good HVAC contractor is their licensing and professional training.
• Choosing the HVAC contractor with the lowest bid could end up costing you more money in the long run. You should invest on quality HVAC installation and air conditioning repair to ensure that your HVAC system works properly. There are many cases where homeowners who accept bids from bargain contractors end up paying more to have their HVAC systems repaired shortly thereafter.
• Check Google reviews. For reliable and unfiltered customer feedback, always check Google reviews. You can read about businesses in your area and find out if they are recommended or not. Beware of review aggregate websites that accept payment from business owners as these may not be as reliable.
Image Copyright: lopolo / 123RF Stock Photo