Why pay me to flip the breaker?
If you are one of the lucky few to have central air conditioning, maybe it’s brand new to you or you bought a home with a system already installed. There are some basics that every owner should be aware of if you want your A/C to work its best and last longer.
First, and perhaps the most basic of the maintenance tips I could give you is to change your furnace filter often. I commonly suggest once per season. Your air conditioner has two main parts, the condenser which sits outside and removes the heat absorbed by the refrigerant, and the other is the evaporator. This one is really hard to access, and if it does plug right off it will be a costly and time consuming process to pull it out and clean it. The best thing to do is to keep your filters clean, reducing the chances that you will have to shoulder that bill.
Second would be to keep the condensing unit, the one that sits outside clean. This unit requires lots of airflow, never build and enclosure around it. While in most manufacturers specs the do say that you can if you follow a particular guideline of specifications, but in my experience it still ends up causing problems like overheating and premature compressor failure. The best tip that I can give you when it comes to the condenser is, other than using a winter cover, when you are mowing your lawn take a look at all four sides of the condenser through the louvers, if there’s poplar fuzz or any kind of build-up noticeably on the fins, while the fan is running, spray it with a garden hose until the water runs clear. Be sure to remove any kind of sprayer, too much pressure can damage the fins. Doing this will help extend the life of you’re A/C as well as it helps it to cool your house faster and more efficiently.
Now we get into the tricky realm of when to call a technician like us, or fix it yourself. For the most part, if it’s acting up or not running, the best thing to do is to call us, but there are a few times when this may not be necessary. If, when you set your thermostat to a lower temperature, asking the A/C to turn on and it doesn’t there are a couple of thigs you can look at before calling.
- Is the power on? This commonly happens at the beginning of summer, maybe at some point in the winter you had to do something inside your electrical panel and accidentally flipped the breaker.
- Is your thermostat set to “cooling”? Homes with A/C have heat/cool thermostats that can be switched from “heat” to “cool”, and even some have an “off” setting. Make sure it’s set to cool.
- Is it cooler inside than the temperature you are asking it to achieve? I know this sounds like common sense, but sometimes when we are in a rush we can miss a simple thing like that.
- Beside most furnaces, or at least in the immediate vicinity will be a power switch for servicing it, these often get bumped and mistakenly turned off. Depending on the age and model of your furnace this might lead to your condensing unit running while your furnace is not causing all sorts of problems with the A/C.
The next list of scenarios aren’t something the homeowner should attempt to fix, but they can be signs that you need to call us in. in these cases, shut the unit off and call 403-597-6778 before running it again.
If you notice that the large insulated line, in the couple of places that are bare have a significant ice/frost build up. A small amount can occur on humid days, but if you can chip it off, call us.
- The condensing unit is blowing HOT air out the top. It will always be warmer than ambient air, but if it’s HOT call us.
- Unusual sounds and rattles coming from the condensing unit outside.
- If you notice a build-up of an oil around the either the evaporator or condensers copper pipes or just at the base of the condenser.
- Finally the obvious… Punctures, tears or cuts in any of the wires or copper lines, or accidental damage to any of the equipment.
There you have it, a short list of some of the simple ways to help extend the life and increase the efficiency of your air conditioner, a few things you can check before calling us in for a service work plus a short list of common things you should keep an eye out for potentially saving you’re A/C from further damage.
As always, if you have any questions at all regarding your air conditioner, or any of your home or businesses mechanical or plumbing systems please do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Red Deer Heating and AC where we are always happy to help.