Tips from an HVAC Service Technician.
Hello all, Spring is here, and if you live in the South; or if you're starting to feel the effects of global climate change. . . .or even if you think that that is a bunch of bugaboo, Spring is here, Summer is on it's way, and it's probably about time for you to turn on your home's air conditioner, and pray that it's working correctly. I'm here to help you out. I'm here to save you money.
An air conditioner isn't the most complicated thing in the world-but it's pretty difficult for someone who's not familiar with the concepts of refrigeration to wrap his or her head around the basics of how the thing works. I'm not going to try too much to explain any of that, but I do want you to know about some ways in which you can perform some basic preventative maintenance, and hopefully, save yourself some $$$ by NOT having to call the local hvac repair people so often.
Let's have a look now, shall we?
Simple Residential Air Conditioning Tips For The Home Owner.
The first picture that you see is an example of a typical condenser. Your condenser is the high pressure, hot portion of your residential split system; and it lives outside. Your condenser contains the compressor-but the portion of the system that is outside of your home is called the condenser.
Your condenser cools down the hot refrigerant by sucking in ambient air through it, and blowing out the top via the condenser fan motor. So let's think about this, if it's sucking air through the sides of it,then every time your yard is mowed. . . . .dust, leaf particles, etc; get sucked right up inside the thing. These dust and leaf particles insulate your condenser, and prevent it from cooling down the refrigerant as it should. This also causes your entire system to run longer, burn more electricity, and cost you more money than it should to cool your house, and keep you comfortable.
What can you do about this???? You can do quite a lot! Take your garden hose, turn the water pressure on all the way, and using nothing more than your thumb-get right up close to the thing; and wash it. WASH IT. Don't worry about the electrical components inside-as long as the control panel is in place, you'll be fine. The thing is running outside during the Summer rains, right? I've washed untold hundreds, if not thousands of condensers-and most while they were running. I've never once shocked myself, or damaged one in any way by washing it.
I've also been on literally hundreds of service calls where either the primary problem, or the secondary problem with someone's home air conditioning was simply that the condenser needed to be washed. If you spend a good ten minutes of your time thoroughly washing your condenser-you will save yourself some cash on your electric bill, and your maintenance costs.
Equal in importance to keeping your condenser coil clean is keeping your evaporator coil clean. Your evaporator is a component of your residential air conditioning system that is found indoors. Your evaporator is in the same place, usually, as your furnace-meaning that it's either in a closet in your home, or in your attic.
Now let's be clear about this-you don't wash your evaporator coil, THAT is a job for an experienced HVAC mechanic; but you can certainly help keep your evaporator coil clean by keeping your system furnished with clean filters. A common misconception is that the air filter is to keep the air clean-nothing is further from the truth. Your air filter exists to protect your evaporator coil . . .and that is it.
It is far more costly for you, the consumer, to have your evaporator coil cleaned-compared to your condenser; so I just can't stress enough how cost effective it is to go down to your local Walmart, or hardware store, spend a few bucks on air filters(being sure that you know the proper size), and replacing the ones you have.
Here's a simple rule of thumb. If you can hold your air filter up to a light and see through it-then it's probably okay; but if it looks dirty-there is no reason to chance it. Replace it.
Sometimes a home's air filters are located in grills in the ceiling, sometimes the filters are in a furnace in the closet, and sometimes the filters are in the furnace in the attic If you are physically unable to crawl into your attic, or up a ladder to replace your filter-then I highly suggest you get a maintenance contract with an honest local hvac company.
Ask some of your local, longtime friends who they use; and ask them if the technicians seem honest, trustworthy-and if they felt like they were treated properly in their experiences with them. Word of mouth is always the best way to find a good contractor/technician for your home heating and air conditioning systems.
Finally, if you've washed your condenser, changed your filters-and you still feel that your system is not operating up to snuff-then call your technician of choice.
I hope that I've been of service to someone out there, and if there are any questions, feel free to ask!
For information on the best new equipment for home heating and cooling, follow the link below: