Your air conditioner works hard to keep you comfortable through the hot Alabama summers. It is sometimes easy to take your home comfort for granted, but proper and timely AC care will keep your system in top condition. Pay attention to signs that it’s time to call a professional. It could save you money on energy bills and extensive repairs, and prevent you from having to purchase a new unit.
For Regular Maintenance
Annual air conditioner maintenance is important for every system. If you have not yet scheduled an appointment it is it a good idea to do so now. This visit includes a thorough inspection and cleaning of the unit as well as tasks such as lubricating and tightening parts where required.
When Your Unit Won’t Cool
If your air conditioner isn’t cooling as effectively as usual, you should call a professional to diagnose the issue. Dirt within the system, leaky ducts, and leaking refrigerant are among the factors that can cause your air conditioner to stop cooling properly. A timely call to your HVAC professional will prevent these problems from becoming worse, or from creating other problems within the system.
When You Hear Something Strange
If your air conditioner is rattling, whirring, or making other unusual noises, you probably have a loose part inside. A professional can easily tighten screws, fans, and other parts of the system to silence this problem. A noisy air conditioner is not only distracting, but could be a sign of something potentially dangerous.
When Your Bills are Too High
If your utility bills are higher than usual, a tune-up could reveal possible reasons. Again, dirt within the system, or loose or damaged parts, will decrease your unit’s efficiency, forcing it to work harder to cool your home. Your HVAC specialist is trained to make accurate diagnoses and repair. It is also likely that a system upgrade might be necessary.
Air Specialty has well-qualified technicians who can make the right recommendations based on your unique circumstances. Give us a call at (251) 545-3337 to schedule an appointment for maintenance services, or for more information about our effective air conditioner solutions.
Buying a new air conditioner, either for installation in a new home or as an upgrade to an existing cooling system, can seem like a significant investment. Before making a purchase of a new HVAC system that you’ll be relying on for years to come, it’s important to understand what you’re buying and what you can expect from the system over time.
Evaluating the initial investment and the lifetime costs of an HVAC upgrade can help you understand what you’re paying for, how the investment will pay for itself, and what you can expect in terms of costs over the lifetime of the equipment.
Initial HVAC Installation
First costs are those expenditures associated with your initial investment in an air conditioning system. These costs are necessary to purchase the equipment, get it installed, and ensure it works properly. First costs can vary significantly depending on factors such as the following:
Equipment quality – Lower-quality equipment will normally cost less than comparable higher-quality equipment. However, if you buy a low-quality home cooling system, you can expect that it won’t work as well or last as long as a high-quality model. Low-quality equipment will need more frequent repairs, as it’s likely to break down more often. It’s also more likely that you’ll have to replace a low-quality system sooner than a high-quality one. In most cases, the reliability and longevity of the system justifies the investment in high-quality equipment.
Energy efficiency – Energy efficiency affects how much energy your A/C uses to produce cooling and, as a consequence, how much it costs each month to keep your home at the temperature you prefer. Air conditioners with higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings will cost less to run and will produce excellent levels of indoor cooling. A/C systems with SEER numbers of 18 or higher are generally considered high-efficiency models.
Brand name – A brand-name cooling system will often cost more than one with a lesser-known brand. Often brand-name equipment is backed up by a company’s reputation for quality, reliability and service. On the other hand, equipment from lesser-known companies can be just as good as equipment from well-known manufacturers. Consult with your local trusted air conditioning contractor on this issue.
Installation quality – Air conditioning equipment must be installed properly to ensure that the system works properly and safely. Air conditioning systems require attention to factors such as the amount of refrigerant they contain and the orientation of the equipment. In many cases, installation is included in the purchase price of the equipment. If not, it’s often a good idea to pay for a professional installation.
The lifetime costs of an HVAC upgrade are those costs associated with keeping the system running properly, reliably, and at the expected level of efficiency. They include anything you have to spend on the cooling system from the moment it’s first turned on to the time it’s replaced with another system. You can expect lifetime costs to include the following:
Monthly operating expenses – An air conditioning system needs electrical energy to run, so you can expect a certain monthly cost to keep your cooling equipment functioning. High-efficiency HVACs will normally cost much less to operate on a month-to-month basis than lower-efficiency units. Operating costs can also be affected by the cost of energy in your area of the country.
Preventive maintenance –Preventive maintenance is necessary to keep the HVAC working properly and to prevent costly breakdowns. Cooling systems should receive professional maintenance at least once per year. Maintenance should include a full system inspection, necessary adjustments and minor repairs. Maintenance costs can be offset in some cases by purchasing a maintenance plan from your local HVAC services provider.
Repair – Any HVAC system will eventually break down and need repair. It’s important to consider the possibility of repairs while evaluating lifetime costs of an HVAC upgrade.
Supplies – Some supplies will be necessary to keep your HVAC running properly. These include air filters, refrigerant and small system components that can be easily replaced. Air filters should be replaced when they get dirty, which could mean frequent replacements depending on the air quality inside your home.
Learn more about lifetime costs of an HVAC upgrade, as well as Air Specialty’s air conditioning solutions, or give us a call at 251-545-3337.
Air conditioning is one luxury you can’t afford to do without. So when you see a large puddle of water forming around the base of your central A/C unit or if you notice it’s not cooling as well as it should, have an HVAC professional take a close look at your system.
Evaporator leaks don’t happen often, but when they do, it can be a headache to deal with. The following highlights the most common causes of evaporator coil leaks and what you can do to fix them for good.
Why Do the Coils Leak?
There are two types of leaks you’ll likely deal with when it comes to your A/C:
Water leaks caused by frost, blocked condensate drains or damaged condensate pans
Let’s talk about the first type of leak – the refrigerant leak. One of the most common ways for a copper evaporator coil to lose its cool is through formicary corrosion. This happens when volatile organic compounds (VOC) from ordinary household chemicals react with the copper metal, especially under the particularly humid climate conditions known throughout Mobile and the rest of the Deep South. The end result is formic acid, which promotes formicary corrosion of the copper coils. This can cause microscopic leaks that allow A/C refrigerant to slowly escape.
Tell-tale signs of a refrigerant leak often include:
A gradual yet steady decline in cooling capability
Frost forming on the evaporator coil
Visible signs of corroded or damaged copper coil
Compressor short-cycling, where the compressor constantly turns on and off during A/C operation
The other type of leak doesn’t come from inside the evaporator coil, as is the case with refrigerant. It’s leakage that results from coil operation, with the condensate that’s generated as the evaporator coil pulls moisture out of the hot, humid air from the return vent. As it condenses into liquid form, the moisture falls into a sloped condensate pan connected to a drain line that runs to the outside of your home or into an indoor drain. Mold and mildew growth as well as debris can become clogged in the drain line, causing the water in the pan to overflow. A cracked or rusted condensate pan can also allow water to escape the pan.
Frost can also play a prominent role in evaporator coil leaks. If the coil freezes over and is subsequently left to defrost, there may be enough melted ice to overwhelm the condensate pan and spill over onto the floor.
Taking Care of Business
If you’re dealing with a condensate leak around your evaporator coil, you can address it this way:
Start off by cleaning all of the water spilled on the floor, preferably with a wet/dry shop vacuum.
Next, take a look at the drain line and make sure it’s not clogged up with debris. If it is, use the shop vacuum to suck out all of the dirt and debris from the line.
For more stubborn clogs, carefully use a plumber’s snake to break up large clumps of debris.
Don’t forget to physically inspect the condensate pan for signs of cracks, rust and/or corrosion.
If you’re dealing with a refrigerant leak, the first thing you should do is take a look at the evaporator coil. Signs of corrosion on the copper lines or around joints and fittings often indicate ideal conditions for a leak. If you want to be certain, you can perform a “soap test” by applying a mix of water and mild detergent around potentially leaky areas. If there’s a leak, bubbles will form in the presence of escaping refrigerant.
At this point, you’ll want to call on your HVAC technician, who can safely remove and store your A/C system’s refrigerant while the coil undergoes replacement or repair.
Prevent Future A/C Coil Leaks
Here are a few ways you can eliminate the causes of evaporator coil leaks and prevent them from happening in the future:
Get a technician to replace your current copper evaporator coil with an aluminum coil. Unlike copper, aluminum’s thin oxide coating makes it resistant to corrosion.
Invest in an ultraviolet (UV) light germicidal filtration system. This will help disrupt mold and bacteria growth around the evaporator and drainage areas.
Cut back on your use of household chemicals with VOCs. Most household cleaning products list whether VOCs are present.
Keep the evaporator coils and condensate pan free of dust and dirt.
When it comes to tracking down the causes of evaporator coil leaks, you can always count on Air Specialty to get the job done. Contact us at Air Specialty whenever you need air conditioning service for your Mobile, Saraland, or Lucedale area home.