Preparing Your AC For The Summer Season
As professional technicians, we go to many homes and businesses to repair our customers air conditioners when they are not working. Customers often state that they have taken care of their system’s maintenance by simply replacing their filter. They are totally surprised to hear that the air conditioner needs a lot more than just a simple filter replacement. In the same way, you wouldn’t expect the maintenance on a car to be done properly just by replacing the internal air conditioning filter.
Replace Your AC Filter
Many air conditioning failures in a home or a business are the direct result of improper or zero maintenance of the equipment. The air filter is generally one of the very first things to check, because a plugged filter can cause problems with the AC. Air conditioners have many other failures that are not directly related to a dirty filter. A filter in the HVAC system is primarily to protect the equipment from overworking. This overworking occurs when the inherited dust flows through the system while air is moving. When the dust particles build up, they plug things like motors and air conditioner coils. Those plugs cause the system to over work which eventually leads to equipment failure.
Dirt and dust inside your system motors can cause them to overheat. Overheating can then cause the bearings to expel their oil which, in turn, puts strain on the electrical windings. This will cause them to short out.
In addition, an overworked motor will cause the system to pull more current through the control board. More current will lead it to “shorting out,” ultimately leaving you with a system that is not cooling your home.
Dust And Dirt On Your AC Equipment
Dust and dirt on air conditioning equipment are also extremely bad for the system. Having dirty or plugged coils causes the system to have to overwork. This happens when the system is forced to have to run for longer periods of times than for what it was designed.
Coils are cooled by refrigerant moving through the system. In a healthy system, proper airflow goes through the coils to extract the heat from the air. Dust and dirt buildup on the coils of the AC causes the air to move slowly through the system. Slow moving air causes longer run times for the system because ultimately it is the thermostat that controls the on and off functions of the air conditioner. The faster the system is able to run all the air in the building through the coil, the more efficient the system will operate due to it’s shorter runtime. The air conditioner works by extracting the heat out of the air. It cannot do this if the air flow is being restricted through the air conditioning coil.
Check For Leaks In Your AC Unit
Leaks within the refrigeration system can also cause the air conditioner to over work. As odd as it may sound, the system loses refrigerant at the beginning stages and can cause the system to actually freeze up. When it does this, airflow is reduced through the coils because the air cannot move through a literal block of ice in the coil.
There is a built-in metering device within the coil that regulates the refrigerant flows. However, if the pressure is not adequate, it will cause the refrigerant system metering device to not properly regulate. If that happens, it can cause the system to get too cold which in turn causes the condensation produced naturally by the air conditioner to freeze up. In turn, this creates a restriction in the airflow moving through the air conditioning coils.
Remember that the air conditioner works best when you are able to move all the air in the building, passing it through the air conditioning coils. Doing this will properly extract the heat out of the air. So if we restrict the airflow, it forces the system to have to overwork with longer run times. Therefore, making sure we have the proper amounts of refrigerant within the system is vital to a healthy air conditioner and will avoid costly repairs.
Check The Vents
Checking the vent system throughout the home and workplace should be done regularly. Air ducts that are restricted, closed or not properly done will cause your system to over work. And, as we know by now, an overworked system could lead to costly repairs. At the very least, you will not get the desired comfort you are seeking.
Avoid The Domino Effect
Most AC repairs tend to have a domino effect of failures. For example, a dirty filter can lead to a system that overworks because of the lack of air flow… which then causes the motors to overheat and burn up… which also causes the control board to become damaged by all the added current the failing motor had to draw… which can lead the outdoor compressor (responsible for moving the refrigerant) to also have to overwork. Everything is at the mercy of the thermostat telling the system that it has reached its setpoint. Neglecting proper maintenance is the number one cause of air conditioning failures.
Should a failure happen to occur, though, you have options. Hiring a professional, friendly, and knowledgeable technician is always an option. You can also schedule a technician to do regular maintenance on your system to avoid expensive failures.