Outside of your home is an outdoor unit, which is called a condenser. Inside the condenser is a compressor, a condenser coil, and a large fan. The compressor pumps cool refrigerant to an evaporator coil located either in the air handler or just outside the furnace. The evaporator coil gets really cold so that when the blower or furnace pushes warm air past it, the air is cooled. This cool air is then distributed throughout your home through a series of air ducts. Heat is absorbed by the evaporator coil, which warms the refrigerant moving through the coils. This warm refrigerant is then pumped back outside to the condenser coil, where a giant fan cools it off allowing the warm air to escape. This cycle is repeated until your thermostat detects that your home has reached the temperature you set it to.
Ventilation, air conditioning and heating systems require regular maintenance for them to work efficiently. You’ll likely need tune-ups and repairs for them at some point during their lifespan. However, no matter how much preventative maintenance you put into your HVAC system, there comes a time when repairs aren’t enough anymore and it’s time for a replacement.
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Here’s a simple test to try on your own: When it’s hotter than 80 degrees outside, turn on your AC unit, and set it to well below room temperature. Let it run for 15 minutes, then use a thermometer to check just outside the return duct (the area where air flows in to be cooled). Now take a temperature reading just outside the strongest, most easily accessible vent (where cool air should be flowing out). Subtract the second reading from the first. If the difference between these two is fewer than 14 degrees, your HVAC unit might need work.
You should also have air ducts cleaned after recent water contamination or water damage to prevent mold; after renovations or remodeling to ensure debris and dust didn’t settle in the vents and ducts; if you are having problems with allergies or asthma; or when you are moving into a newly purchased home, especially if the previous owners smoked or had pets. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every three to five years, or every two to three years in regions where homeowners use their air conditioning and heater for many months of the year, while the EPA suggests homeowners have duct cleaning done as needed.
Fast forward 1 year and 1 week and the circuit board that HVAC Service had installed has failed again. They came out and said that it failed from water condensation dripping onto it, so we needed to replace it and reroute the pipes to prevent future water damage. That would cost double what I paid last year. Why didn't they fix the problem last year at the initial repair instead of putting in a circuit board that was bound to fail again?!? They were strongly recommending that the furnace be completely replace for a huge fee to avoid the same thing happening again. I paid $59 for them to tell me they didn't fix it right last year. This didn't feel right, so I sought a second opinion. I'm very glad that I found another guy to come replace the circuit board and put it away from the water, fix the water leak, and also find and fix another impending failure. All of that was for much less than HVAC Service wanted to charge for repair or replacement. The other guy did a great repair, so I'm confident it will not break down again, but if it does, I will not call HVAC Service. Don't get suckered by their Yelp Deal.