Hot times, summer in the city! Welcome to late summer, y’all! If you’ve got the AC cranked up, but you also have fans stationed throughout the house that are working overtime, then you may have some problems. Some common culprits are dirty filters, a frozen coil, improper refrigerant levels, and improperly sized units. Whatever the problem, we’ll help you get to the bottom of it.
If you’re just trying to save a few dollars, here are some tips for staying cool for less!
Dirty Air Filters
Let’s start with the easiest, most obvious, and cheapest solution. Odds are you’re running your AC for more than 12 hours each day. If that’s the case, your furnace filter is going to become dirty much more quickly than you’re accustomed to. If you’re in the habit of replacing your filter every 3 months, you may want to reevaluate that habit once August rolls around. In the summer, we recommend taking a quick look at your filter every two weeks. Depending on your home and the number of shedding pets you have, you may find that you need to replace your air filters every 4-6 weeks.
A nice, clean filter not only keeps you cooler by promoting a more vigorous air flow, but it also improves the quality of your inside air and reduces strain on your air conditioning unit.
Your Condenser is Blocked
This is another common issue that’s easily corrected. Your air conditioner works its cooling magic by pulling the heat out of the air like a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat. The condenser (the part of your air conditioning unit that lives outside) is the component that pushes the heat away from the unit. If your condenser doesn’t have the elbow room it needs to keep things cool, you AC simply won’t work as well. If your condenser becomes blocked by over-eager shrubs, trash, or other debris, your unit may not cool sufficiently.
Try pruning shrubs or relocating plants that are a little too close for comfort. It just might do the trick.
Improper Refrigerant Levels
There are a number of telltale signs that your air conditioning unit needs some additional refrigerant. If you’ve checked your filter and your condenser is in the clear but your unit just does not keep you cool — no matter how many times you’ve fiddled with the thermostat — be on the lookout for a hissing or gurgling sound that may indicate a leak in your refrigerant line. Turn off the unit immediately and call for service. Another sure-fire indication that something’s off with your refrigerant levels are skyrocketing energy bills. The harder your unit works to maintain a comfortable temperature, the more energy it uses. Needless to say, a unit that’s low on refrigerant is highly inefficient.
Levels that are too high can also cause costly equipment damage.
Be sure to ask your HVAC technician to check levels before simply adding coolant. An air conditioning unit is a closed loop, if levels are low there’s a leak. If there’s a leak, insist that they find it and repair it. To properly fix the leak, all refrigerant must be evacuated from the system, then the leak can be identified, repaired, and tested. Once that process has been completed, then the AC tech can replace the refrigerant.
Your Unit’s Too Cold: Ice on the Refrigerant Line
You’d think a cold refrigerant line would be a good thing. But not so much. When your refrigerant is running low, ice may form on the line, sending colder and colder air into the evaporator. Eventually, the air will become so cold that your compressor will freeze and seize. Turn it off and call for help!
Your Unit’s Too Cold: Frozen Evaporator Coil
When it comes to the health of your central air conditioning unit, there is such a thing as too cold. A frozen evaporator coil, caused by insufficient air flow, freezing refrigerant lines, dirty filters and coils, or lack of coolant are all common reasons for an evaporator coil to freeze. When that happens, it’s time to call your trusty AC repair professional.
If you suspect your refrigerant is leaking, don’t try to find the leak yourself, leave that one to the pros.
Your Air Conditioner is Too Small for Your Home
To work correctly, an air conditioning unit has to be the perfect size for your perfect home. When you schedule your annual HVAC maintenance, ask your technician if your unit is the right size for your house.
To schedule an air conditioning inspection, contact Parthenon Plumbing & HVAC.