Air conditioning is complex. Aside from the appliances themselves, the air handler, the compressors and the condenser, property owners also have to consider the wiring that connects it to their electrical system, the plumbing that keeps it connected to their drainage system, and all the technology in between. This includes thermostats, ventilation systems, auxiliary fans, insulation and more.
Each element of the entire system works together like a body to keep a house temperate and comfortable. If one cog in the machine malfunctions, it will start a very unpleasant chain reaction that will ultimately result in a failure of the system, and then a visit from a technician—from us or otherwise.
We go out and deal with these problems all the time, and many of them could be avoided with some simple preventative maintenance. We serve property owners and managers in Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex County, New Jersey, but these tips will help out people worldwide.
Always Consult a Professional
First, understand that AC units contain coolants and should not be opened or tampered with, unless you are an HVAC professional. In the past, air conditioners were loaded with refrigerants referred to as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). However, it was found in the 20th century that CFCs cause holes to form in the O-Zone layer, and in 1987, The Montreal Protocol resulted in countries banning CFCs worldwide. Now we use much safer chemicals. However, they are stored under pressure and surrounded by high-voltage wiring! Consult an HVAC technician – don’t risk your life over your air conditioner.
Clean All the Air Handlers
Know where your system’s Air Handlers and Condensers are, and do everything you can to keep them clear of debris and obstructions. Air Handlers can be located throughout the system, and they are tasked with taking in air and then putting it through the processes necessary to cool it down or heat it up. Sometimes, they are designed to also pull allergens and contaminants out of the air.
Regardless of the size of your system or the amount of air handlers you have throughout your entire array of appliances, it’s important to know where they are located and to keep them free of any kind of obstructions, dirt or pollutants. If your Air Handler is supposed to be removing pollutants from the air, it’s important to make sure it’s not working overtime for you!
Respect the Condenser
Condensers are those big mechanisms located outside the property—they appear to be a huge fan encased in a box with the technology enclosed within, out of sight. This is an integral element of the cooling process. The Condenser takes in the gaseous coolant that has absorbed the heat from inside a property, and then condenses the coolant back into a liquid, cooling it back down and releasing the captured heat into the outside air. If your condenser fails, your entire HVAC system will, guaranteed.
Your Condenser will have an input where the fan feeds air into it from the outside, and an output where it releases the stored heat into the outside atmosphere. Since the condenser is typically kept close to the ground, many things can end up obstructing it. Check it for anything at all – twigs, mulch, leaves, dirt, dust buildup or anything else. Do this before the weather gets hot and your fans are running and absorbing this stuff! Also check for damage from animals and the elements. One small error in wiring will cause huge problems.
Get Your Evaporator Coils Some Help
The Evaporator Coils in your system carry the coolant within them, grabbing heat from the air and adding it to the coolant, causing it to evaporate and turn into a gas—chemistry! However, this process of constant evaporation will cause dust, dirt and other contaminants to gather on them.
Almost every AC system has a simple way to open the front panels and view the evaporator coils without too much trouble. If there is dust and dirt built up that doesn’t look too serious, make sure the system is off and clean the dust with a lightly damp cloth or paper towels. If you suspect the buildup is more serious, contact an HVAC professional before resorting to other risky chemicals. Using foam coil cleaners and other chemicals is not recommended without a professional present.
Closely Inspect Your Tubing
Your HVAC system consists of many different ducts, wires, pipes, tubes and more. Don’t forget that AC systems involve powerful compressors keeping chemicals, oxygen and water under pressure. These pressurized mechanisms have a lot of connecting plumbing and inner workings. Make sure there is no rust present on any of them and that you don’t notice any leakage throughout any of the systems.
If your system is leaking refrigerant, chances are you will be able to smell it, as they typically add chemicals to it that smell like rotten eggs or something else foul. If you are leaking water, you may see ice starting to form around certain areas, or you may notice dampness or mildew/mold near your system. Remember, it takes years to be certified to safely work on HVAC systems. If you see a leak in your system contact a professional before attempting a DIY mission.
These tips are guaranteed to save you tons of time and headaches this summer! Make sure to check your system out now, in March and April, before the truly hot months arrive. If you notice an issue in your system around Ocean or Monmouth County, NJ, call us today at 855.788.TEMP. Thanks for reading!