Most Air Conditioning Services offer a fairly priced service to ensure that a Seattle home Air Conditioning System or Heat Pump is ready to provide safe and effective cooling for the cooling season. However, many homeowners, either due to a strong feeling of satisfaction from completing Do It Yourself projects or to save money, ready their air conditioner units themselves. For your convenience, what follows are the many steps to take when prepping an AC unit.
Check the belts on the fan and the condenser. If they appear to be frayed they need to be replaced. Make sure you use the correct belt(s) when replacing. Take the old belts to your home improvement store and have them give you the correct replacement belts. After you install the new belts be sure to adjust the tension enough to have about three quarters to a full inch of slack when you push of the belt. If they are over-tightened they can damage you unit’s shaft bearings.
If your unit has an adjustable fan pulley, set it to the smallest diameter in order to move as much cooled air as it is capable of.
Replace or clean the filter. This should be done at the start of the cool air season and every month you run the air conditioner. The air filter removes allergens, dust and pollen from the system keeping them out of your house. If it’s dirty, air cannot move freely. This slows down the cold air circulation and causes your system run harder and for a greater length of time. Utility costs are severely impacted costing you money.
Make sure that the coils that the air runs over are clean. The cleaner is available at any refrigeration supply house or hardware store. The solution comes in a spray bottle; just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.
Often overlooked are coil fins. They are supposed to be running straight. If you do not have a plastic fin comb you can use a pointed stick. If the fins are not straight, air cannot efficiently circulate.
Oil the bearings. This is not difficult; in the lubricating holes that are by the shaft support use around 5 to 10 drops of light oil in all the oil ports, at the same time hand-turn the shaft a few time to ensure proper distribution of the oil. If after oiling there are still rough spot, the bearing may need replacement.
Next check that the condenser is not obstructed. Usually it is at ground level so be sure that any leaves, branches or other debris is not blocking it or air flow will be impaired.
A good idea if your unit is exposed to constant sunshine is to place some bushes or tall plans to shade it thus improving its cooling ability.
Check the “cool line”. It is the line that runs from the condenser to the compressor and should be insulated. If it isn’t, go to the store and get some snap-on urethane or other insulation with a high R-value.
The most critically important diagnostic test you will perform on your air conditioner is the “temperature difference check.” Using two thermometers simultaneously, use one to measure the warm air flowing into the return air vent of the evaporator and use the other to measure the temperature of the air being discharged into the house. The temperature difference should be between 12 to 16 degrees or more. If your readings are lower, it is time have a Seattle HVAC Company come and check your refrigerant. It may need to be recharged with fresh coolant so the compressor can work efficiently. If it is leaking, Air Conditioning Repairs may be needed. When dealing with any appliance or component in your home it’s always best to have a professional install, service or repair anything major. An air conditioning unit is one of them.
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