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Ice Cold AC? Not Without A Tune-Up

April 14, 2015

Your air conditioning unit gets used more than the engine in your car so it is crucial to remember to get your A/C serviced before the hot summer days hit. Without regular maintenance, an air conditioner loses 5% of its efficiency every year and therefore does not produce the coolest and cleanest air in your home or business.  The frequency of your A/C tune-ups depend on the age and condition of your system but, generally speaking, you should get a tune-up every spring a couple months before it gets hot enough for constant usage.

outdoor ac unit

Although there are ways that you can check your AC on your own, there’s a high chance that you will miss something and it could also lead to more problems and damage especially if you aren’t greatly knowledgeable about your unit so it is always beneficial to get help from a professional. Keep reading to learn about A/C tune-ups, DIY checks, as well as common signs that your air conditioner is not working properly.

Air Conditioner Tune-Up Checks

There are several parts and elements of an air conditioning unit so it is important to go through each aspect so that you can ensure it is running at it’s highly efficiency and catch any issues that may be present. Here are some things that should be maintained and checked to guarantee you and your family will stay cool throughout the entire summer:

  • Clean the condensing unit coils
  • Replace the air filter
  • Check the coolant (a system that is only slightly low on coolant will cost more than 20% more every month) and other fluid levels
  • Clean and drain the condensate line
  • Clean the amp draw of the compressor
  • Oil the fan motors and other moving parts
  • Make sure the belts are adjusted
  • Check the system operating pressures and temperatures to make sure they are meeting specifications
  • Inspect the ducts and insulation
  • Check other parts of the system like the thermostat, refrigerant, evaporator, condenser, expansion valve, compressor, and wiring.

DIY Air Conditioning Check

Only perform this test if you are highly familiar with your air conditioning unit because, if done improperly, more problems and/or damage may arise. Keep in mind that it is still recommended that you call a HVAC expert to assure your system is properly maintained:

  1. Wait until it is at least 60 degrees outside before testing and cleaning your outdoor unit
  2. Turn off the main power source to your A/C system
  3. Use a vacuum to remove any grass, leaves, garbage, or any other debris that has accumulated in the exterior fins
  4. Use a narrow knife to straighten any exterior fins that have been bent (Don not go more than an inch and a half to ensure you don’t damage other parts
  5. Without damaging or disrupting wiring, remove the fan and use a pressurized hose to spray the inside of the system
  6. Put everything back together very carefully
  7. Turn the power back on and set your thermostat to cool
  8. After at least 10 minutes, feel the insulated tube that connects your home to the unit. It should feel cool. If it doesn’t, you may have an issue.
  9. If the insulated tube isn’t cool, turn off the thermostat, wait 24 hours, then test again
  10. If the insulated tube still doesn’t feel cold, call a professional

Common Signs That Your A/C is Not Working Properly

There are some basic things to know about and keep in mind throughout the summer to ensure that you are getting the most out of your A/C system. Some common signs that your system is not working as efficiently as possible are:

  • Temperature variations: if you notice that there are different temperatures throughout different rooms in your home, it is possibly that there is an issue with your system. This could also be a sign of poor insulation or duct work
  • Jumps in energy costs: if you come across an unusually high energy bill, there is most likely a problem associated with your air conditioning system
  • Loud noises coming from the system: strange and loud noises coming from your system usually means that parts in your A/C unit need to be properly lubricated
  • Thermostat isn’t matching the actual mannerisms or temperature: this indicates that your thermostat is not accurately synced or wired
  • The air smells strange or you seem to be affected by allergies indoors: you may simply need to replace your A/C filters or get your ducts cleaned

Air conditioners typically start slowing down when they are about 10 years old, however, sometimes even earlier particularly if you don’t properly and consistently maintain your system. If your system is 7 or more years old and you have noticed signs that it is not working as efficiently as you would like, it may be time to consider a new air conditioner. If you need an A/C check or aren’t sure if you need a repair or a replacement, give Superior Water & Air a call at 801-438-4798!