Summer Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips
Top Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Summer
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (better known as HVAC) systems are extremely complex mechanical systems, using difficult scientific principles, and sophisticated electrical/mechanical components.
Quality Air Conditioner Maintenance technicians complete extensive training and accumulate years of experience, in installing, servicing, and repairing various brands, types, and sizes of HVAC systems.
Reading an online article will not make you an expert on HVAC system function, but a little bit of information can help you solve minor problems, maintain the system better, and troubleshoot when things go wrong.
This article will cover several common Air Conditioner Maintenance problems, with the intention of Checking the major cause of common problems, and Preparing you to describe the symptoms to a technician should a problem arise.
Here are the Top Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips for Summer:
- Nothing Works. When the entire system will not engage, it is not receiving electricity. The first things to check are:
- The circuit breaker or fuse provides electricity to the system. Check the electric service panel for the breaker marked “AC” to see if the breaker is flipped to the OFF position. Make sure your hands and feet are both dry before touching the breaker, then flip the breaker to the ON. If the breaker flips OFF again, you will need a technician to troubleshoot further.
- The thermostat is a switch that turns the system to COOL, HEAT, and OFF. Make sure the thermostat setting is set to COOL, lower the setting at least 50 below the indoor temperature, and wait a few minutes. If the thermostat face is blank or the system does not engage, replace the battery in the thermostat and wait a few minutes.
- One more step—check the indoor cabinet for a switch or breaker. Also, check the outdoor AC condenser unit; find the metal box attached to the wall and make sure any switch is set to the ON position.
- The Air is Not Very Cold. If the system is working, but the air is not cool enough to make your home comfortable, check these things first:
- Most air conditioners use heat pump technology, which moves heat to the desired location—outdoors for the AC and indoors for heating. Heat pumps have an optimum efficiency when the difference between the desired indoor and real outdoor temperature is within 20 degrees. If we experience a heatwave, with 100-degree peak temperatures and you are calling for 70 degrees indoors, you are asking too much of the system.
- A poorly sealed and insulated home will also stress the AC; it may not be able to keep up with the heat moving into your home.
- There are also a number of component or system malfunctions that can result in insufficient cooling. If you have covered these two issues, you will need to call an Air Conditioner Maintenance technician.
- Blowing Warm Air. If the system is moving air, but it is hot, not cool, there are a couple of things to check before calling an Air Conditioner Maintenance technician:
- Check the thermostat to make sure the temperature is set properly. Lower the temperature at least 5 degrees and check the air again.
- A dirty air filter can restrict airflow. Hot air cannot pass over the refrigerant coils in the evaporator unit, causing the coils to “freeze up.” Replace the air filter and check the temperature again.
- There are a number of component or system malfunctions that can result in warm air. If you have covered these two potentials, you will need to call an Air Conditioner Maintenance technician.
- Short Cycles. A typical cooling cycle should last approximately 12 to 15 minutes and should happen once or twice per hour.
- If the AC turns on and off frequently and the cooling cycle is short, say under 8 minutes, this results in severe problems. The major cause of this problem is a system too large for the square footage of your home.
- Time the cooling cycles. Count the number of cycles per hour. Repeat this at different times of the day.
- If you have a concern, call a technician armed with the cycle information to help determine whether this is a problem.
- Loud Noises. New or unusual noises should capture your attention. Listen carefully and identify the location and type of noise. Category of noises include:
- Screeching noises can be caused by a number of problems and the location can help a technician identify the problem.
- A blower motor may have a bearing failing and screech loudly.
- Refrigerant gas can cause loud screeching noises. Too much pressure might cause noise in the network of copper tubing.
- A refrigerant gas leak might be localized and temporary—it will stop when the gas has all escaped.
- A localized bumping or thumping noise might be caused by a loose or off-balanced moving part.
- A thumping or popping sound that is hard to locate might be located in the ductwork.
- Frozen Coils. Refrigerant gas moves through a network of tubes, moving inside and outside between components. Humidity from the air can freeze on the copper tubing, either indoors inside the central cabinet or outdoors on the condenser unit.
- If ice develops on the evaporator coil inside the cabinet, first check the air filter. Low airflow can lead to a small amount of ice developing.
- If ice develops on the condenser unit outdoor turn the AC off. This condition can cause the condenser pump to overheat—this will lead to catastrophic failure.
- Both conditions are a preliminary indication of low refrigerant gas.
- Leaking Water. Water leaking from the indoor cabinet indicates a clogged drain line. If this happens, take these steps:
- Turn off the power to the AC
- Open the indoor cabinet. Find the evaporator coil, often an A-shaped coil of tubes with very fine fins.
- Under the evaporator coil locate the drain pan. If water is leaking at the base, this pan is most likely full of water. Use a wet/dry shop vac to empty the drain pan.
- Find the end of the drain line, perhaps resting on the floor drain. Use the wet/dry shop and suction the substance that blocks the drain line. Expect a rush of water when the clog is released.
- Before closing the cabinet, add a cup of vinegar or bleach to prevent algae or mold from developing in the drain pan.
We Can Help with Air Conditioner Maintenance
Let us help with your Air Conditioner Maintenance. Call Doctor Cool & Professor Heat today at 281-338-8751 or email Doctor Cool and let our professional Air Conditioner Maintenance technicians assist in keeping your HVAC system running at its best.