It’s almost here. Louisiana summer; hot humid
days, and oppressive, sultry nights. Is your central air conditioner ready for the extra load?
The EPA and EnergyStar suggest that a maintenance routine goes a long way to keep your air conditioning running at peak performance. A little maintenance up front will save you hundreds in repair bills, prevent your air conditioner from failing in the hottest of conditions and a unit that is performing at peak, saves you money in utility bills.
Your central air conditioner works together with you forced air system to cool and circulate air. The air is chilled when it i s pushed by a fan over the air conditioner's evaporator coil. This typically happens in the unit located inside your home. The refrigerant in the coil absorbs heat from the air. The cold air this created is now blown through your ducts creating a comfortable temperature inside the home. As the refrigerant absorbs heat, it evaporates into a gas.
This hot gas moves to the compressor, which increases the pressure and temperature of the gas.
Hot, high-pressure refrigerant gas moves to the condenser located outside of your home. The gas releases heat and, as it does so, it condenses back into a liquid.The liquid refrigerant flows to the expansion valve, which regulates how much refrigerant gets through to the evaporator. From here, the refrigerant flows to the evaporator to start the cooling cycle over again.
That is a lot of moving parts and it all has to be maintained to keep the system working flawlessly. Most of these parts are located behind sealed plates and this means the maintenance routine needs to be a shared responsibility between the homeowner and their trusted HVAC company.
The homeowner however can do their part in air conditioning maintenance by
- Inspecting each room in the home looking to be certain that no objects such as furniture, rugs or toys are blocking the return and supply grills.
- Where it is accessible the home owner should inspect the ductwork for holes, loose tape or sections that have become disconnected.
- The Homeowner is also responsible for keeping the filters clean and routinely changing them. You should always double-check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations, but generally speaking it’s best to clean or change your filters once every 3 months. Regular cleaning or changing of your filter will ensure the best filtration, increase the life of your machine, and keep the home’s inhabitants breathing clean, filtered air.
Your trusted HVAC company will probably suggest a yearly service call for their part which will include
- Ensure that the thermostat is working properly,
- Inspect the furnace filter,
- Inspect and clean the evaporator and coil,
- Inspect, clean, and adjust the blower motor,
- Inspect the condensate drain for blockage,
- Inspect and clean the condenser and coil,
- Inspect the fan motor and blades for damage and proper operation,
- Inspect all components, wiring, and controls to ensure that they are safe and working properly, and
- Inspect refrigerant piping for leakage, repair any existing leak(s), measure and (if necessary) balance the refrigerant level.
Performing a few simple maintenance tasks and schedule yearly service for your HVAC system, will help ensure that you remain cool during the hot summer months, save money, and extend the life of your air conditioner.