Air Conditioning Tip from AC Express
Common End-of-Summer AC Repairs
Believe it or not we’ve been in autumn now for about two weeks. In some ways we’re still feeling the same effects of the summer heat though, in Austin. Air conditioning really feels the most of its burden during those hot summer months. The months of May through September are when our air conditioners are running for the longest periods of time day in and day out, and when they’re working the hardest. That’s simply because it’s the time in the year when there is the biggest discrepancy between the temperatures outside and the temperature we’d prefer to be inside.
Because of this, it makes sense that the end of the summer would be a popular time for repairs to be needed. After all that hard work your air conditioner puts in, sometimes things stop working as well as they should, or stop working at all. The transition between summer and fall is the perfect time to get a checkup on your system. Because even if there’s nothing immediately evident in terms of AC problems, regular checkups are great way to prevent those problems before they occur. Some problems can be sneaky and only become catastrophic over time. So, in this tip, we’ll look at some of the most common repairs that are done on air conditioning systems just at the end of summer, or soon after.
Cleaning Dirty Coils
This is a maintenance task that is relatively quick and easy for a professional to do, and normally will be done during a preventative maintenance visit. It’s extremely important though. If you’ve noticed that your air conditioner has lost some of its cooling strength over the summer, dirty coils may be the cause. Both the outside and the inside coils can get dirty, and both will lead to the same effect, less effective air conditioning. The indoor coil is the evaporator coil and the outdoor coil is the condenser.
The most common cause of the evaporator coil getting dirty is an air filter that isn’t changed often enough. If you take good care of your air conditioning system and change your air filter frequently, you won’t likely end up with a dirty evaporator coil. But if your evaporator coil does get dirty, which can happen regardless if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, this can cause ice to form on it. This will reduce its ability to properly absorb heat from the air. The outdoor coil, the condenser, is even more prone to getting dirty over the summer. That’s because it’s exposed to the elements day in and day out. Dirt, dust, and other small particles can easily find their way into the outdoor unit and clog up the condenser. This makes it unable to properly disperse heat into the air, which reduces cooling capacity, decreasing efficiency and costing you more, costing you because your air conditioner will have to work even harder to reach the same level of coolness in your home, raising your energy bill.
Luckily, both these issues are easily solved by a quick post summer maintenance visit. A professional technician can check both the indoor and outdoor coil for any dirt and debris and clean them thoroughly, leaving your system spotless and efficient.
Refrigerant leaks are a more serious issue that requires immediate attention if one wants to avoid more expensive and expansive repairs. That’s one reason why this is a common end of summer repair. Refrigerant is a liquid substance that flows all throughout your air conditioner system and acts as its lifeblood, the source of cooling. It changes from liquid to gas, high pressure to low pressure, and acts as the conduit between the coils and the air temperature.
A leak can occur for many reasons and in many places throughout the refrigerant tubing. Sometimes it’s because of a problem with the insulation. Sometimes it’s because of general wear and tear. Either way, it’s never a good thing. When your air conditioner was first installed, a very specific amount of refrigerant was put into place. This amount of refrigerant was calculated to be just the right amount for the cooling load of the various components of the air conditioner. The refrigerant then has been continuously flowing through your system without change ever since. Any loss of refrigerant because of a leak is going to cause an imbalance in the heating and cooling process. Leaks should be taken care of as soon as possible as they may damage your compressor, which is sized to handle a set load of refrigerant and could become overworked with low levels.
Refrigerant leaks can be very hard to spot though. Sometimes the leakage occurs at a very slow rate, making the effects hard to notice. That’s why the end of the summer is a perfect time to get your refrigerant line checked for leaks. All the hard work your air conditioner is doing over summer makes it the most likely time for a leak to start. A professional will be able to identify and locate the leak, replace the missing refrigerant, and fix the leak.
Fan Motor Problems
There are a number of things that can go wrong with your fans and the summer is a likely time for these things to happen. Your fans go through a lot of wear and tear over the summer as they consistently blow air out of the house and into the house. There are two fans in your air conditioning system: the evaporator fan, also known as the blower, and the condenser fan. They pull in warm air to get cooled, push the cool air through your home and also exhaust the heat from your system (in the outdoor condensing unit).
Sometimes these fan blades can get bent. Sometimes the motor belt will develop tears or other problems. Sometimes the problem will be electrical. It varies. But in all cases, the end result is a fan malfunction that can lead to there being no cool air being blown through your home. This will be immediately noticeable to you and will need attention just as quickly in order to provide relief. Sometimes a malfunctioning motor belt will start to make disconcerting noises. This can often be the first sign of fan motor problems and if you catch it early on, it can mean a less expensive repair, which is great. But even if you don’t suspect any fan issues, the end of the summer is a great time to have your fan motors checked out. That way a problem can be caught before it becomes a disaster that leaves you with no airflow, all because the hot summer months in Austin took too much of a toll.
On top of that, the post summer weeks are a great time to have your motor lubricated. This motor powers the compressor, the indoor blower, and the condenser fan and as such is very important to the smooth operation of your air conditioner. If the fan is moving too slowly, it could be due to a variety of reasons. It could be because of some electrical issue. Maybe the capacitor isn’t working at full capacity. Maybe the motor itself needs a replacement. A likely culprit, though, is that it just needs a lubrication to return back to full power. Low lubrication means increased friction, which will cause the AC to begin to drain power. Eventually the motor will burn out and need replacement. If you hear mechanical grinding and shrieking noises from the cabinets, call for a proffesional to look into the motors.
Clogged Air Filters
This is the only repair in the list that can easily be done by yourself. This makes it a convenient and inexpensive repair, but nonetheless, it’s a very important one. The air filters in your home are crucial to keeping your air conditioner in good shape. They catch the particles in the air that flow through the vents and keep them from clogging up the evaporator coil and other essential elements of the HVAC system.
When your air filter gets clogged, which it will, given time, it becomes less and less effective at removing those particles from the air. Over the summer months, a lot of air is flowing through your air conditioner because it’s going to be on much of the time. Because of this, your air filter is doing a lot of work. It’s collecting a lot of particles and will soon find itself clogged. That’s why the end of the summer is an excellent time to check and change your air filters. If you haven’t done that recently, now is a great time. The last thing you want to do is wait too long and let the clogged air filters to cause a greater issue within your air conditioner.
The thermostat is your direct connection to the air conditioner. It’s your interface for controlling the air in your home. So when it stops working it can be extremely frustrating. Luckily, most of the time, fixing the thermostat is a relatively quick and affordable repair. Usually it’s just a matter of recalibrating the thing. This is a common repair for the end of the summer because one of the ways the thermostat can lose its calibration is through often temperature setting and resetting. If you’re changing the settings of the thermostat multiple times a day it can cause things to go array eventually. During the summer months, people often find themselves having to readjust the thermostat frequently, making it a time that’s prone to thermostat malfunction.
Post Summer and Air Conditioning Repair in Austin
Summer may be over but it doesn’t feel like it quite yet. Its effects are still being felt and might continue to be, at least in the case of your air conditioner, if it caused any problems that need repair. There are a number of common repairs that are often done at the end of the summer. Some of them are highlighted above. Regardless, this is a great time to have a professional come and make sure everything is in place and healthy with your air conditioning in Austin. You never know how hard the summer has hit your air conditioner until you have a maintenance check.
AC Express is an AC repair company in Austin that performs a wide range of services including all the repairs mentioned in this article and many more. We would be more than happy to give you a maintenance visit regardless of the current state of your air conditioner. Call today! 512-452-COLD
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