An air conditioner's filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. Check out our Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Cooling for more ways to help improve your comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioner.
Poor dehumidification can also be caused by excessive humidity in the home. This may be caused by water leaks or open windows during humid periods or by a lack of proper condensate drainage from your evaporator coil in the furnace's plenum. A properly functioning cooling unit produces condensate and drains it away. If your unit is not producing condensate its cooling and dehumidification functions are not working properly.
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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.
The condenser fan moves air across the coil to increase the transfer of heat. It is critical to the system. Obstructing the flow of air will not only reduce efficiency, but can lead to compressor failure. Keep debris and objects away from the coil and fan to allow maximum air flow. Some condenser fan motors have sealed bearings, others need lubrication. Damage to the fan can occur if removed improperly. Have a qualified serviceman handle the lubricating if needed.
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In 1992, a non-governmental organization, Greenpeace, was spurred by corporate executive policies and requested that a European lab find substitute refrigerants. This led to two alternatives, one a blend of propane (R290) and isobutane (R600a), and one of pure isobutane. Industry resisted change in Europe until 1993, and in the U.S. until 2011, despite some supportive steps in 2004 and 2008 (see Refrigerant Development above).
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When signs of serious trouble arise, it is best to call a professional HVAC technician immediately. Waiting can allow the problem to worsen, which can lead to a higher repair bill. Finding a qualified technician can be as easy as asking family, friends and neighbors for recommendations or consulting online review websites and choosing a service provider that has received a significant number of positive reviews. Consumers must verify that any professional who is hired to do HVAC repair and maintenance has been properly trained and certified. Many service providers list licensing and certification information on their website.Last updated on Jul 11, 2018
Central home air conditioner service systems consist of two major components: a condensing unit that sits outside your house, and the evaporator coil (often referred to as an A-coil) that sits in the plenum of your furnace or air handler. The refrigerant in the A-coil picks up the heat from your home and moves it to the outdoor condensing unit. The condensing unit fan blows outside air through the condensing coil to remove the heat. The condensing unit houses the three parts replaceable by a DIYer: the contactor, the start/run capacitor(s) and the condenser fan motor. The condensing unit also houses the compressor, but only a pro can replace that. The A-coil has no parts that can be serviced by a DIYer.