In just a few short months, air conditioners will be on full blast. Air conditioner maintenance and coil cleaning are two steps you can take to save money, keep your A/C running efficiently, and improve the quality of air in your home.
The Department of Energy estimates homeowners spend $29 billion every year to power their A/C. Preventative maintenance of your central air conditioning will help reduce the price you pay this summer because your unit will run more efficiently.
Plus, most manufacturers recommend air conditioner maintenance.
Before you have an HVAC contractor come out for your seasonal air conditioner maintenance, give your unit a test run. That will help you identify any potential problems that you can bring to the technician’s attention.
Pick a warmer spring day, when the temperature is above 65-degrees outside, and turn on your A/C. Let it run for an hour.
Does the home cool quickly? Does the system seem to be running smoothly? Take note of any irregularities with your air conditioner.
You can also change your air filter before the air conditioner maintenance, or have your tech do it for you.
Coil cleaning keeps your A/C running more efficiently
If you change your air filter regularly, you’ll breathe cleaner air. You’re also helping the evaporator coil stay cleaner.
However, dirt and debris will still make its way on the coil. That can affect the efficiency of your A/C unit and the quality of air that you breathe. That’s why you should have your evaporator coil cleaned.
The evaporator coil is one of two coils that are part of your air conditioner.
During your A/C maintenance, your technician will inspect both coils. He may recommend you clean them if he notices a buildup of dirt and debris. Cleaning your coils is an extra service, but some companies offer deals in the spring if you get the air conditioner maintenance done too.
The condenser coil is outside so it’s exposed to the elements. Pollen, foliage, yard debris and other airborne allergens can make the outdoor condenser coil dirty. That’s why it’s recommended you clean your coil.
Also, take a look around your air conditioning unit. Are tree branches or other foliage hanging over it? If so, trim them back to minimize the amount of debris that can fall in your air conditioning unit. That will help keep your coil cleaner too.
The evaporator coil isn’t protected from dirt and dust just because it’s inside your home. Remember that dirty air filter? It gets dirty inside, so your evaporator coil does too.
Even in the cleanest home, there’s a lot of dirt and debris, especially during the spring when outdoor allergens can make their way inside.
When dirt coats the evaporator coil, the coil can’t do its job as efficiently. That means you won’t be as comfortable in your home, your unit will work harder which means higher utility bills and possibly more breakdowns, and your air conditioner may not last as long.
While you can clean your own coils, it’s not advised. You have to turn off the power and use a solution to clean the coils properly. It’s best to call a trained HVAC professional to help.
Air conditioner maintenance
In addition to checking the coils, during maintenance, an HVAC contractor will also check components like your thermostat.
If you ran a test of your A/C system before your contractor came out, you’d know if your air conditioner is not cooling. Your HVAC technician can also confirm this with his specific tools.
A dirty or improperly calibrated thermostat may be to blame for a home that’s not cooling. The HVAC technician inspects the thermostat during the A/C tune-up.
The HVAC technician will also make sure all parts are working smoothly. If there’s not enough lubrication, friction occurs, and it increases your electricity costs. Also, it can lead to premature equipment failure.
The air conditioner maintenance checklist also includes refrigerant pressure checks. Your cooling costs and the unit’s efficiency depend on those levels. For example, you’ll pay 20% more for cooling with just a 10% reduction in coolant levels. That’s why it’s important to have your HVAC technician check these levels.
Spotting problems in the spring will save you time in the summer when you may have to wait for air conditioner service due to high demand.
When you’re looking for air conditioner maintenance, make sure you know what you’re getting. Make sure the services offered make a difference in the efficiency of your unit and your overall comfort.
The HVAC technician should follow a checklist, and provide it to you at the end, so you know the condition of your unit.
Minnick’s offers a 20-point cooling and heat pump inspection checklist.
1. Check and Test Thermostat for proper calibration, functional, accurate and is properly attached to wall
2. Check the Evaporator coil pressure readings entering and leaving
3. Check Evaporator temperature readings entering and leaving
4. Check Drain line and drain safety devices (if accessible)
5. Check the Voltage and Electrical Circuits
6. Check Line and Low Voltage connections
7. Check ALL Electrical Circuits for loose wires and burnt connections
8. Check Capacitor (if present)
9. Check Filters for Cleanliness and Document Size and Quantity
10. Check airflow across filter
11. Test for Carbon Monoxide – Not to be above 9 ppm
12. Visually Inspect Condenser Coil
13. Check Entering and Leaving Temperatures across Coil
14. Check Amp and Volt Readings
15. Check Capacitors
16. Check All Electrical Circuits and Controls (Circuit Boards, Relays and Contactors)
17. Check Refrigerant Pressure Readings
18. Check Refrigerant Temperature Readings
19. Check to make sure condensing unit is level
20. Complete Seasonal Calculation Operational Running Efficiency Report to show the true efficiency and performance of equipment
The comprehensive inspection takes about an hour. Going into the summer A/C season, you’ll know your unit is in the best shape it can be which means you won’t pay more than you have to for air conditioning, your air conditioner will run efficiently, and you’ll feel more comfortable.
On top of the savings you’ll see from a smoother running air conditioner, how about up to 20-percent more on your energy bill? That’s possible with Smart Maintenance. It’s the latest in smart home technology, and it predicts up to 80-percent of HVAC issues before they happen.
Get alerts delivered to your phone or email, alerting you to HVAC issues. Smart Maintenance predicts and prevents problems and protects your comfort 24-7, 365.
With remote, monthly monitoring you also get never before seen data about your HVAC system’s performance. That ensures your system runs smoothly all year and helps homeowners use 20-percent less energy.
While a professional HVAC inspection is the best way to ensure your air conditioners keeps you cool during the summer, there are some do it yourself (DIY) tasks you can take to maintain your comfort.
Change your air filters regularly. They decrease indoor air quality and efficiency. Replacing your filters is a simple, yet effective, maintenance task the average homeowner can complete him or herself. This simple task can also lower energy consumption by as much as 15%, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
Second insulating metal ductwork can save you as much as 20%. That is also an easy maintenance task that any homeowner should be able to perform.
Third, remove debris from around outside AC units. Debris build up can hamper airflow and decrease efficiency.
Of course, an HVAC technician will do a more comprehensive inspection of your air conditioner. The price you pay a professional technician could very well be offset by reduced energy bills and longer-lasting equipment.
As a leader in cutting-edge technology, trust the experts in Whole-Home Comfort for your Montgomery and Howard County air conditioner maintenance.
Rob Minnick is the CEO & President of Minnick’s. His family-owned company specializes in heating, cooling, plumbing, and Whole-Home Comfort. With more than 63-years experience, the company prides itself on having the top HVAC technicians. They follow strict standards and earn top-notch credentials. Customer satisfaction is a top priority. Minnick’s proudly serves Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Baltimore, and Baltimore City counties. Ask a Minnick’s technician how they can make your HVAC system smart!