Air Conditioning Maintenance And Its Importance
Air conditioners are just as important to maintain in spring, as are furnaces during the brutal Chicago winters. In order for the air conditioners to operate efficiently and properly, yearly maintenance is necessary to an aging or even a new air conditioning system. With the development of air conditioners (like mini split ac systems) over time and with the added sensors this new technology has, it is especially necessary.
In a yearly maintenance for the air conditioner, these will be some of the steps we take to make sure your AC unit operates efficiently all summer long:
1.) Refrigerant Charge – It is very important for the refrigerant charge in the AC unit to be tested once before the cooling season starts. This is the most important test of the entire air conditioning system. If an AC system is 10% low on refrigerant it will cost the homeowner or business 20% more in electrical costs. An air conditioner that is running low on refrigerant will work longer to cool a space as it is relying on the refrigerant to remove heat out of it. If there are no leaks, refrigerant doesn’t get used up or burned inside an AC system. If a system does need air conditioner repair due to refrigerant leaks, it is highly advisable to call your HVAC contractor ASAP to perform a leak test.
2.) Check superheat and subcooling- While this might be alien to homeowners, to air conditioning experts this is the only way to check if the unit has proper charge. This is done by either doing it manually with psychrometer, thermometer, and gauges, but with the with advancement of technology we utilize digital gauges to properly check superheat and subcooling.
3.) Electrical Readings – Checking the readings of voltage and amperage is crucial. If a motor in the air conditioning unit isn’t receiving the right voltage, it will overheat and cause it to fail prematurely. Amperage will also rise if the AC condenser is dirty and also cause the compressor to go bad.
4.) Checking airflow – Airflow is one of the most important factors in a forced air system as it’s the only delivery of conditioned air. If for some reason the filter is dirty, or the A-coil (located on top of furnace) is totally clogged up, the air conditioner system will not only not cool you home, but it will also waste energy by trying to. We can check the A-coil with a camera system to make sure it is clean. If dirty, to properly clean the A-coil, we will need to remove it and wash it with coil cleaner outside o the home.
5.) Check thermostat operation – Sometimes thermostat reading can be off and can effect your comfort negatively. If it is off by 2-5 degrees you will feel a difference in comfort.
6.) Wash out air conditioner condenser with chemicals. We typically use non-toxic chemicals to wash out the AC condenser.
7.) Check capacitance on the capacitors. Capacitors are a vital part of a motor system. Compressors and condenser fan motors each have one, and most air conditioners now have a 2-in-1 capacitor. They typically will fail if the condenser coil is clogged up, due to extra heat placed on it. Heat is generally the #1 killer of anything electrical or electronic alike.