2 Things to Check if Your Air Conditioner Seems to Struggle


When summer arrives, you might assume that you will find solace inside your nice, cool home. Unfortunately, if your air conditioner isn't working properly, you might be left in muggy, sweltering heat throughout the day and night. However, with a little preventative maintenance, you might be able to help your system to sail through the warm season. Here are two things to check if your air conditioner seems to struggle:

1: The Indoor Cooling Coil

Most people don't realize it, but your air conditioner doesn't work alone. After that giant outdoor unit pulls air in from outside, your air conditioner pumps refrigerant to a set of evaporator coils indoors, which dehumidify and cool the air. Believe it or not, these coils are usually located inside the same cabinet that houses your furnace. That is why most air conditioners are referred to as "central" air conditioning—all of the important parts are in one central location.

Unfortunately, because most people assume that their air conditioner is doing all the work, they tend to ignore their furnace—along with those ever-important cooling coils. If dust and grime is allowed to accumulate on those coils, it can impact airflow, causing these issues:

  • Ice Buildup: When air doesn't pass through your system like it should, refrigerant can't absorb heat readily, which can cause ice crystals to form inside your refrigerant. When refrigerant gets cold enough, it can even freeze condensation around the pipes outside, turning your air conditioner into a giant popsicle. If your system freezes over, you will have no choice but to turn off your air conditioner and let things thaw for a while. 
  • Higher Energy Bills: Dirty cooling coils can also drive up your energy bills. Because your system won't be able to cool air as efficiently, your air conditioner might run more frequently than it should.

Fortunately, you can avoid these types of problems by cleaning your evaporator coil. Although it might sound like a complicated endeavor, coil cleaning is as easy as removing a panel on your furnace and spraying your coils down with an aerosol coil cleaner. These cleaners, available at most hardware stores, are even self-rinsing. The condensation that your air conditioner creates as it runs will wash away grime and debris—leaving behind a fully functional, sparkling clean evaporator coil.

Experts recommend cleaning your evaporator coils at least once a year. However, if you have pets or you forget to change your filters occasionally, you might need to perform deep cleanings more frequently. 

2: Your Outdoor Unit

As long as your system keeps starting up, you might assume that your system is okay. However, your outdoor unit has needs of its own. Here are a few things you should check outside, and what to do if you spot problems:

  • Shade Status: Does your air conditioner sit in a sunny spot? If so, your system might have to work extra hard to cool that air. However, you might be able to tip the scales in your favor by putting up an awning or a shade sail nearby. Research has shown that shaded air conditioners are up to 10% more efficient.   
  • Proximity to Your House: Although you might be tempted to tuck that air conditioner between your storage shed and the side of your house, every unit has clearance requirements. To preserve airflow, your unit needs at least six inches of clearance space on one side, and at least a foot on the remaining three sides. Experts also recommend keeping the service side of your air conditioner at least two feet from other surfaces, so that professionals can install replacement parts and clean your unit.   

While you are outside, don't forget to tidy up around your air conditioner. If tree leaves, twigs, or children's toys fall into that fan, they could damage delicate electric components.

By giving your air conditioner a little tender loving care, you might be able to ward off climate control problems all summer long. If you're experiencing more troubleshooting issues, visit resources like http://www.capefearair.com to contact local repair teams.


17 July 2015

Learning About HVAC Services

Hi there, I am Nadine Bachmier. I am going to discuss the various ways HVAC contractors can keep the temperatures in your business stable. HVAC contractors focus on maintaining and repairing the air conditioner, furnace, and ductwork used in your building. To keep the heating and cooling system in good shape, contractors may need to replace internal components, clean out channels, or simply perform a full upgrade. I will talk about the tools and techniques used to maintain and repair the equipment in your building. I will also share information about new products as they hit the HVAC market. I hope you will follow along and learn all you can.