When is the last time you fired up your air conditioner?
Are you even sure it still works properly?
There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night sweating only to find your air conditioner unit is not working which could have been prevented with professional maintenance. Unfortunately, this is not a sure bet of preventing all problems. Your system can be running fine one day and completely burnout the next. Some things cannot be prevented. But with regular maintenance, your system will perform efficiently for many years.
Although spring is a generally mild season, summer is approaching fast. It’s also the ideal time to budget a bit of that savings for an air conditioning tune-up. Done now, it can prevent many small problems from becoming big, expensive problems later.
Q: How often should I recharge my air conditioner with new freon?
A: Contrary to popular belief, air conditioners do not consume refrigerant (freon) as a car consumes oil, so under ideal conditions it would never need changing or filling. Therefore, a low freon level indicates a leak which should be repaired before adding more. While most new system connections are welded to minimize leaks, many older units (8+ years) were connected with mechanical flared fittings which can vibrate loose over the years, causing leaks.
Problems with freon leaks:
- Low freon levels reduce efficiency of the air conditioner.
- They can freeze the evaporator coil, causing it to literally ice up.
- Freon is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) controlled substance, deemed hazardous if released into the environment.
- The heart of the unit is the compressor, which is cooled by the refrigerant. Over time, low freon levels can cause overheating and premature failure of the compressor, often requiring complete replacement of the compressor or the entire condensing unit. A very expensive proposition.
Q: Are regular check-ups worthwhile?
A: We do recommend annual air conditioning check-ups in the spring and heater or furnace check-ups every fall. Although regular checkups will not absolutely guarantee that a unit will continue to work perfectly throughout the season, they will reveal most small problems that can lead to major, far more expensive problems if left unattended.
Q: What is an air conditioning check-up?
A: It consists of the following steps:
- Check for proper refrigerant (freon) levels. A low level indicates a leak that needs to be found and repaired before adding more freon.
- Check all electrical components and controls.
- Clean evaporator and condenser coils, as needed.
- Oil motors as needed.
- Calibrate thermostat.
- Check condenser.
- Check filters.
A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency. However, homeowners are strongly discouraged from cleaning it themselves and should contact a licensed HVAC technician in their area.
Like most anything you own, regular maintenance is far less costly than repairs or replacement. Contact us today and we can send a certified HVAC technician to your home right away. The longer you wait the more trouble (and money) it will be to get your air conditioner running smoothly for summer!