As we head into May 2010, you will begin to realize that you may be using your air conditioner sooner as this Spring has been unusually warm. Here are a few tips to keep your air conditioner running in good condition. Remember, Preventative Maintenance is key to get the most out of your air conditioning system and extend the life of your unit.
When it comes to the first time you start your system, look for the following items:
1. Tripped Breaker
One of the most common causes of no-cool calls is a tripped breaker. Try resetting it. It is possible that something is causing the breaker to trip. It could be something simple like a bad breaker, a loose wire, or a bad capacitor. If not addressed, some simple problems could lead to far more expensive repairs.
2. Dirty Filter
Dirty Filters restrict air flow and will keep your system from cooling properly. Dirty filters also reduce indoor air quality, make the home less comfortable, and can result in frozen indoor coils, eventually leading to serious repairs. Change your filters on a regular basis, monthly if necessary.
3. Refrigerant Leaks
An air conditioning system is a sealed system. It should never leak refrigerant. A leak will cause your air conditioner efficiency to fall resulting in higher electricity usage. It is likely your air conditioner may not cool. The coil may freeze. The compressor could become damaged. Plus, refrigerants are greenhouse gases. Often the problem is as simple as a bad Schrader valve or a weakened connection between a fitting and refrigerant tubing.
4. Switch Turned Off
Your heating and air conditioning systems may have a wall switch at the indoor unit for safety and convenience. It is easy to confuse with a light switch. If this switch is accidentally switched off or left off during mild weather, your air conditioner will not start. Always check the condition of this switch before calling us.
5. Thermostat Problems
Remember to switch your thermostat to cooling mode. If the switch is in the wrong position or breaks, your air conditioner won’t start. The switch may break, a voltage spike might cause a malfunction, and so on.
6. Dirty Evaporator Coil
Liquid refrigerant is sprayed into this coil to evaporate and draw heat from the air being blown across it. Periodically the coil needs to be cleaned or dust and particle build up will restrict the coil’s heat transfer capabilities and reduce system air flow down the duct system. Dirty coils increase operating cost while simultaneously reducing home comfort.
7. Dirty Condenser Coil
A dirty or restricted coil is inefficient, it will increase your electricity usage and reducing your system’s cooling capacity. An A/C tune-up performed by a quality HVAC contractor will clean & check your condenser coil as part of the maintenance.
8. Duct Leaks
Check for duct leaks! A heating and air conditioning system adds and removes heat to the duct system. The duct system is tasked with delivering it to the occupied areas of your home. If the ducts that supply conditioned air to the living space leak and are located outside of the living space, you’re essentially paying to heat or cool the outdoors. If the ducts that return conditioned air from the living space leak, you pull in unconditioned, unfiltered air.