Evaporative coolers tend to feel as if they are not working during times of high humidity, when there is not much dry air with which the coolers can work to make the air as cool as possible for dwelling occupants. Unlike other types of air conditioners, evaporative coolers rely on the outside air to be channeled through cooler pads that cool the air before it reaches the inside of a house through its air duct system; this cooled outside air must be allowed to push the warmer air within the house out through an exhaust opening such as an open door or window. These coolers cost less and are mechanically simple to understand and maintain.
In the fall you should prepare your HVAC unit for winter. Turn off your air conditioner’s circuit, then hose it off to remove debris. It must dry completely. Do this when it’s warm enough that there’s no risk of the water freezing. Cover the exposed pipes with foam pipe insulation ($1-$3), and protect your entire unit with a weatherproof cover ($20-$50).
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You can keep your air conditioner running efficiently with some preventative care measures. Shut off the power to your AC before cleaning it or performing any of these tasks: clean your filter at least twice a year; remove leaves and twigs from cages; clean the fins with a garden hose or special spray, then use a butter knife to straighten any that are crooked; keep your yard clean so the fins won't get blocked; cover the unit up for winter; and make sure it's level or you run the risk of damaging the inner workings of the unit.
If so, you may want to consider replacing your entire AC system. After your AC system reaches a certain age, it makes more sense to invest in a new AC system altogether rather than repairing it one piece at a time. To learn more about John Moore’s AC replacement program, our warranty, and the cost-advantages of replacing your AC system, visit our AC Replacement page.
Per hour service charges are not the only way companies charge their customers. There are also service companies that flat rate their services. Either way, you pay, you want the service and troubleshooting done in a quick and efficient manner with a guarantee. Do your research before selecting a company to provide reliable, honest service to your home. If you know what the problem is then the company can likely give you an estimate over the phone. Some will while some do not. Why? Because they likely want to verify the problem to make sure it is a correct assessment. It can be a complex issue and what you think it is it may not be the problem. So you can expect to pay for a service call and troubleshooting charge. Most HVAC service companies do not give free estimates on repairs.
Some systems include an "economizer mode", which is sometimes called a "free-cooling mode". When economizing, the control system will open (fully or partially) the outside air damper and close (fully or partially) the return air damper. This will cause fresh, outside air to be supplied to the system. When the outside air is cooler than the demanded cool air, this will allow the demand to be met without using the mechanical supply of cooling (typically chilled water or a direct expansion "DX" unit), thus saving energy. The control system can compare the temperature of the outside air vs. return air, or it can compare the enthalpy of the air, as is frequently done in climates where humidity is more of an issue. In both cases, the outside air must be less energetic than the return air for the system to enter the economizer mode.
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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.