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The temperatures in Fort Worth, TX can get well into the 100s during the hot summer heat so your home air conditioning system is not something that you want to play around with. You depend on it to keep your home cool and liveable. However, your AC is not going to be able to do this on its own. It’s imperative to have a professional AC repair company come out to your home at least once a year to service your HVAC system. There are also a few things you can do on your own to make sure you keep your A/C working like it is still brand new.
Like any other large appliance in your home, over time your A/C will suffer some wear and tear so you have to expect a mechanical issue to occur that requires the help of an AC repair company at some point. However, the goal should be to ward off an expensive repair by having the AC repair company out to your home for proactive servicing that catches any trouble that is brewing.
Regular system maintenance is the best way to save money and the headache of finding yourself without A/C suddenly. You don’t want to deal with a sudden breakdown that leaves you baking inside of your Fort Worth, TX home. The following are a few good A/C service tips you can handle on your own and a few maintenance steps that you should have a professional from an AC repair company handle.
The Basics Behind How Central Air Works
It is easier to understand why your air conditioning system needs regular servicing if you understand how it works. Central air works similarly to the way your kitchen refrigerator does. The A/C system converts gas into a liquid and then turns it back into the air again. Its main goal is to push hot air outside of your home while keeping the temperature inside your home is at a nice low, comfortable temperature.
Why You Need an On-Call AC Repair Company
The same way you occasionally need to take your car to the garage for a simple tune-up and check, our A/C system also needs basic repairs from time to time. When you change the oil in your car you don’t blame it on the car, so you shouldn’t consider it a failure of your central air to need occasional aid from an AC repair company. Any good homeowner will be familiar with central air servicing.
Keeping up with regular air conditioning servicing can not only extend the lifespan of your central air, but it will probably save you a lot of money on overall costs. It is always cheaper to have an AC repair company out to your home for annual servicing than paying for an emergency call when your A/C system has broken down. Keep in mind, that during the summer months most AC repair company agents are extremely busy. So if your system breaks down you may have to wait days before an AC repair company can even get to you. This is not the way you want to spend your summer.
Simple tasks like regularly changing the air filter in the HVAC unit can be enough to help improve the efficiency of your home unit while also simultaneously improving the quality of air in your home. Visually check the drain lines, check the refrigerant lines, and change the filter from time to time and you are on your way to helping extend the lifespan of one of your home’s most expensive appliances.
Keep the Outdoor A/C Condenser Unit Clean
Another great way to keep your HVAC system in great shape is by keeping the outdoor unit clean. It can be easy to forget about the condenser because it is usually hidden in a corner of your home that doesn’t receive much traffic. In fact, unless you hear an odd noise coming from it you will likely forget it is even there. However, if you want to protect the investment you made in your A/C system, it pays to check it out from time to time. You want to make sure that the unit stays reasonably clean. This includes removing any flowers like dandelions that will blow into the condenser unit and raking up debris near it on a regular basis. Fall leaves in particular can get trapped inside condensers along with acorns and grass clippings.
Ideally, nothing should be in your A/C condenser. This is a sightly impossible feat, however, so you need to accept that from time to time small clippings will sneak into your condenser. Regular cleaning where you take the lid off and simply clean it out can help decrease the chances that any of these small items will cause corrosion as they rot or accidentally fall into the impellers and cause a jam. If the idea of cleaning your condenser is a bit overwhelming, simply book an appointment with a local AC repair company and they should be able to handle the task for you.
Leveling Off the Outdoor Unit
In theory, you should never move your outdoor A/C condenser unit. In fact, most companies will tell you that once it is placed it should never be moved again. While this is true, if the A/C unit is not level you will have bigger problems down the road. Therefore, if you notice that the surface it is sitting on is not level you need to take action. The best thing you can do is call an AC repair company to handle the task for you, but if you must there are a few things you can try.
The problem with leaving the A/C unit unbalanced is that it will affect the function of the unit over time and eventually refrigerant may start to leak which can ruin the entire system. At the very least, it will allow the refrigerant to drip out and air will not be cooled correctly. Refrigerant is also toxic to wildlife so you don’t want to be responsible for an outdoor leak.
Unsure of your condenser unit is level? It likely was level when it was first placed, but shifting soil and erosion can lead to an eventual tilt that is unpreventable in some cases regardless of the skill of the AC repair company that originally installed it. Walk outside and take a look to see how the A/C outdoor unit is currently sitting. Does it look like the concrete slab is still firm or do you notice cracks or crumbling around it? If there is a slope then you will have to do something to correct it. Also, take a look at the legs on your unit if your unit has them. Push them slightly to see if they wobble and inspect them for any signs of rust.
The absence of any of these signs is very reassuring, but unless an AC repair company has been out recently and told you it is level you may still want to grab a leveling tool and check. There should be a very small tilt because that is done purposely to prevent water from pooling in the unit. However, anything other than a slight lean needs to be addressed by an AC repair company quickly.
Keep Evaporator Coils Clean
One of the most essential components of your A/C system is the evaporator coils. Not only is their job to cool down the air in your home, but they also help to suck the moisture out of the air so that you can feel comfortable. A home that is cool but filled with humidity will not be comfortable. The lack of humidity is why a 75 degree outside will not feel the same as a 75 degree home properly cooled with A/C. Unfortunately, the coils can easily collect dirt and dust because they tend to stay moist. As the dirt collects it prohibits the unit from working correctly and eventually stops it from drawing the moisture out of the air.
If your home is very humid there is a good chance that your evaporator coils need to be cleaned. Instead of waiting that long, you should get in the habit of changing your evaporator coils. An A/C system with dirty coils can use as much as 40% more energy to cool as high as 30% less. Therefore, you will end up paying more for less cool air simply because the coils are dirty.
In order to clean the evaporator coils, turn off your A/C at the thermostat and then remove the access panel on your system. Place everything on the side including the panel screws so they don’t get lost and then use compressed air to clean off the visible dirt on the coils. The entire task takes less than ten minutes and can help your system run much better. Some homes don’t accumulate too much dirt in which case the AC repair company can handle this task when they come out for your yearly cleaning. Other homes accumulate a great deal of dirt and the coils should be cleaned monthly to help keep things working efficiently. If you have any questions about this, you could wait until our next AC repair company visit and talk to the technician about the best way to keep your coils clean in-between visits to your Fort Worth, TX home.
Keep an Eye on the Drain Line
Earlier it was mentioned that you should inspect the drain line semi-regularly, and for good reason. A clogged drain line is actually one of the common reasons that an A/C system stops working requiring a visit from an AC repair company. The moisture that is collected by your evaporator coils is sent down the drain line and ideally out of your home. The drain line however stays moist all of the time because of its job which means it easily grows mildew and mold. Enough unnoticed growth and the drain line will clog shutting down your system.
You can stop a blockage before it occurs by learning how to clean out your condensate drain line or at least keep an eye on it so you can call in an AC repair company if you think that a blockage is forming. Before cleaning you need to turn off your HVAC system at both the breaker and the thermostat. Then look for the condensate pan and look to see if there is any water in it. If you notice water in the drain pan this is a clear sign you have a clog. Grab a shop vacuum and quickly clean up the moisture or some rags to do the same. While you have teh shop vac, point it towards the hose and try to pull the clog out of the hose via the drain opening. Most times the drain opening will be located near the foundation of your home. A lot of times the suction of the shop vac will be enough to disturb the clog and pull it out of your drain line.
You may need to open your vacuum canister and look for foreign materials to see if the clog came out or not. For this reason, it is a good idea to start with an empty shop vacuum. If you don’t get any materials out of the drain line or are not comfortable with this task then you can simply call a Fort Worth, TX AC repair company and have them troubleshoot the problem for you.
These are just a few of the many tasks that need to be done annually to ensure your AC system works efficiently. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be. Instead, call One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Fort Worth, TX and our trained technicians can handle the repair tasks for you.