Basic Maintenance For Your Air Conditioning
Every big-ticket appliance in your home requires some sort of maintenance. The air conditioning system is no exception. In order for the unit to operate as closely to the factory specifications as possible, it needs to be cleaned, lubricated and tested at least once a year. Professionals like those on our team at We Care Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Solar in Murrieta, CA, see it as a tune-up. Your car requires a tune-up at regular intervals, and so does your home cooling system. Here is what basic maintenance for your air conditioner entails and why.
A Clean Filter
First and foremost, a technician takes a look at the filter. If the cooling system is used, it will get dirty. Some people run their air conditioners more than others do. Those who operate theirs all day and night in the summer should expect a filter full of dust and other particles at the end of the warm-weather season. Filters should normally be changed monthly. A filter that is dirty is still able to catch about 90 percent of particles, including dust, but the layers of that dirt become a problem for the rest of the hardware.
Dust clumps within an AC unit are not good because they will eventually become loose and will float around. The fan could catch them. If they get tangled in the fan blades, the fan is going to overheat due to the obstruction. When any part of the unit overheats, it will stop working and potentially lead to expensive damage, which is wholly preventable and unnecessary. Some people change their own filters. Maintenance professionals, however, bring factory-approved parts that help the unit maintain its warranty and keep as close to the manufacturer specifications as possible.
The manufacturer knows its product the best because the business built it. Often, people at the manufacturer had a hand in the design, too. Included in the majority of products, especially big-ticket appliances, are the instructions. Within those instructions you are going to find the manufacturer’s specs. These are the specifications that tell you the best settings for the equipment. When the current condition of the unit is off from the recommended specs, it is less likely to operate at an optimal level. Therefore, during the basic maintenance process, an HVAC technician is going to get it as close to the original specs as possible. After significant time and use, even the most well-maintained system will no longer return to perfect calibration and 100 percent efficiency, but a professional can get it close. The efficiency partially depends on use. If you use it sparingly throughout the year, it will not experience as much wear and tear. Those who run the cooling system constantly during the summer should not hesitate to schedule regular maintenance.
Freon and Other Cooling Substances
All cooling systems require a refrigerant, also known as coolant. When the level of the refrigerant runs low, it could cause the coils to overheat. Refrigerant is a hazardous material. This is why it is only sold to professionals. During basic maintenance, a technician will top off the liquid. This professional will also examine the coils and surrounding parts while looking for corrosion. A tell-tale sign of corrosion is a leak. When there is a pool of liquid under the unit, that is a red flag.
You are not encouraged to attempt to top-off the refrigerant as a DIY project. Again, this is a hazardous substance that you cannot purchase over the counter. If you accidentally spill it, you could cause it to eat away at the coil’s material.
As an HVAC technician is inspecting the cooling system, if he or she believes the parts and components are in good condition, the unit will be tested. One of the things this ensures is that there is enough voltage. Insufficient voltage could cause the power to glitch or a circuit to trip. Believe it or not, if your property cannot handle the power of your AC, it can impact your neighbor’s power and electricity. So, to be a good neighbor, you want to see that everything is running soundly without any issues.
When you live in an area like Southern California where summer weather can arrive at any point in the year, it is tempting to go big on the air conditioning system. You want to be as comfortable as possible indoors because the outdoors can be either warm and muggy or hot and very dry. The Southern California sun does not help either. You probably already know that a sunburn can occur within minutes. You are not encouraged, however, to install a cooling system that your current electricity capacity cannot handle.
A technician can assess the situation for you. This person will also listen to your concerns and goals before making a recommendation. The HVAC field is driven by technology. Because electricity was not common then, older homes in your area did not always use a cooling system to bring down the indoor temperature. Now that everyone has access to electricity, things have changed. If you live in an older home, you probably have a makeshift cooling system. If it was not professionally installed, you could quite possibly have voltage issues, which could lead to worse problems than not being able to cool your home.
Technology has made several strides in both the HVAC and real estate industry. The focus since the 1990s has been energy efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency introduced the EnergyStar rating for consumers. If you purchase an appliance that is certified, you know that it is not going to eat up the electricity. You are also going to keep your energy costs at a manageable level. If your home does not have ductwork, it is a candidate for ductless mini-split AC units. The newest models are among the most energy efficient, and they offer several other benefits. If you want to try turning your house into a smart home, this is a great first step in that direction.
Answering Your Questions
HVAC technicians are available to complete basic maintenance. They are also your guides in this area. The goal is to get the hardware back to the manufacturer’s specs. This is a benefit because it means the unit is less likely to break down when you need it to run at its best. Regular maintenance helps extend the life of the unit, too. It is true that any cooling system is an investment. For that reason, you should be interested in ensuring it is going to last a long time.
Our goal at We Care Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Solar in Murrieta is to educate customers in this subject so that they understand why some steps are necessary. When you choose our team for your maintenance needs, you can have peace of mind. Our trained and certified technicians perform a full range of cooling and heating installation, maintenance and repair. We can also take care of all your indoor air quality, water filtration, water heater, duct and plumbing needs. Of course, we offer top-notch solar services as well. To schedule an appointment or discuss any of these topics, call us today.