AC Repair Basics
When a technician comes to perform AC maintenance, they will typically inspect equipment and clean system components. They can also replace faulty parts if needed.
However, there may come a point where replacing an air conditioner rather than repairing it makes more sense. For professional help, contact AC Repair North Hollywood now!
The compressor is the heart of an AC system. It’s the part that takes in gaseous refrigerant, compresses it to superheat it, and sends it through the condenser coils. It’s the most expensive part of the system to replace and it can be damaged by mechanical problems, electrical issues, or even just age.
The reciprocating compressor is the most common type of compressor used in home air conditioning systems. It functions like a car motor using a crankshaft to rotate up to 8 pistons inside a block of airtight cylinders. The pistons’ up-and-down movement draws in and compresses the gas before it is superheated.
This type of compressor is more reliable than a hermetic compressor. Hermetic compressors have a one-piece welded steel casing and cannot be opened for repair. They are designed to be replaced with an entire new unit if they fail. Semi-hermetic compressors have large cast metal covers that can be opened and can sometimes be repaired by an experienced technician.
Other types of AC compressors are screw compressors, liquid-ring compressors and polytropic compressors. Screw compressors are often used in commercial building but wouldn’t make sense in a home and use 2 intermeshing screws to draw in and pressurize the refrigerant. A liquid-ring compressor is a good choice in high-pressure applications such as industrial refrigeration. A polytropic compressor has several stages and is designed to operate at different capacities.
When a compressor starts to show signs of trouble, the first thing that a trained professional will do is check to see if the thermostat is set correctly. It’s possible that a simple setting change is all that’s needed to get the AC working again.
Another thing the service tech will do is inspect the suction lines that carry the refrigerant. If the lines are too small they will restrict the flow of refrigerant and can cause leaks. If they are too big, the refrigerant can escape and that’s also a problem that needs to be fixed.
Keeping up with routine maintenance is nearly always enough to squeeze some extra life out of your existing equipment, but there will come a time when repairing or replacing the compressor will be the best option for you and your home. Getting an accurate estimate of replacement costs from an experienced and knowledgeable HVAC contractor is the key to making that decision.
The condenser of an air conditioning system is a vital component of any AC unit. It collects and releases heat as it works alongside the compressor and evaporator to cool your space to your exact specifications. When it doesn’t work as it should alongside the other components, your air conditioner will not perform properly.
In addition to its basic function, the condenser plays a big role in how energy efficient your air conditioner is. This is because it is responsible for pumping refrigerant through the air conditioner, which ultimately impacts how much you spend on electricity bills.
Like most parts of an air conditioning system, a condenser requires regular maintenance to ensure it functions correctly. This can be as simple as routine cleanings or as complicated as replacing a fan motor. The key is to have a qualified HVAC technician oversee the maintenance and repair of your air conditioning condenser so you know you are getting the best service possible for your money.
The most common signs that a condenser needs to be repaired or replaced include:
High energy bills: If your air conditioning system isn’t working as efficiently as it should, it will have to run longer and harder to achieve the same results. This will inevitably lead to higher energy costs and a high electricity bill.
Unusual odors: A bad smell coming from the condenser may indicate that there is an issue with the electrical wiring or the fan motor. A professional can determine the source of the problem and remedy it before it becomes worse.
Frequent Blockages: If a condenser coil gets blocked frequently, it will impact the effectiveness of your air conditioning system. It can also cause a buildup of ice on the copper refrigerant tubes. Leaking: Refrigerant leaks are a sign that it is time to replace the condenser coil or entire unit.
If you’re going to do an impromptu maintenance check on your air conditioning condenser, make sure the power is turned off. If you don’t, it could damage your equipment or cause a serious injury.
Your thermostat is the brains behind your HVAC system, keeping track of both your home’s temperature and its overall energy efficiency. A bad or worn-out thermostat can lead to a variety of AC issues, from inaccurate temperature readings to higher than normal energy bills.
Whether your thermostat is manual or programmable, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure that it’s functioning properly. First, make sure that the unit is turned on and set to your preferred cooling mode. Then, if you have a digital or programmable thermostat, make sure that the date and time are correct. Then, if your thermostat has batteries, try replacing them with a fresh set. If this doesn’t fix the problem, it may be time to call a professional.
One common reason for a broken thermostat is that it simply needs to be reset. It is possible to do this yourself by going to your electric panel and flipping the switch that controls your thermostat or HVAC system off and then back on again. However, this should only be used as a last resort and only if you have already tried everything else to repair your system.
If you do decide to reset your thermostat, it’s important to understand that the process can take some time. Most thermostats have a built-in delay that can cause the system to take up to 10 minutes to reboot. This is an important part of the design, as it prevents the system from constantly cycling on and off.
In addition to a faulty thermostat, other reasons that you may need to replace it include the following:
Upgrading to a newer thermostat is an easy DIY job for most homeowners. The only caveat is that you must be comfortable opening up the unit and tinkering with electrical wires. Otherwise, this is a great way to save money and improve the performance of your HVAC system. It’s also an option for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of paying for a heating and cooling service. Just be sure that you choose a thermostat that is compatible with your system before beginning the installation.
An AC filter is one of the most critical components in the whole system, as it keeps dirt and debris away from internal AC equipment like the evaporator coils and blower fan. This protects your equipment, improves air quality in your home, and extends the life of your unit. It’s important to change your filters regularly and have them cleaned by a professional at least twice a year.
A dirty filter restricts airflow, which can cause the HVAC to work harder to circulate cool air throughout your house. Over time, this puts a strain on your system and increases energy consumption. If left unchecked, this can lead to expensive damages and premature AC replacement.
If you’re thinking of upgrading to a better air filter, ask your technician for suggestions. They’ll help you find a filter that fits your home’s needs and budget, and they’ll also be able to recommend the right size for your unit. There are many different kinds of air filters, including pleated filters, fiberglass filters, electrostatic filters, and HEPA filters. Each type has its own unique characteristics, but all of them are designed to trap different types of pollutants.
Before you change or clean your filters, it’s important to first turn off the power. This will ensure that you don’t touch live voltage and that dust or other debris won’t be sucked into your unit while you’re working on it. You can usually shut off the power at the unit itself or the circuit breaker.
Once the power is off, you can proceed to remove the old filter. Be sure to have a large garbage bag on hand, as you’ll want to place the dirty filter in it immediately after you remove it from the unit. Doing so will prevent all of the germs, pollen, dust, and other contaminants from recirculating back into your home.
When washing your filters, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some filters can be cleaned in the sink using a mild detergent, but other filters should be washed by a professional to prevent damage.