This page on our web site is for consumers who need service on their HVACR equipment. Here, you’ll find a simple question-and-answer format that is designed to give you an idea of what to expect from the technician who comes to your home or business to handle your HVACR situation, know what questions to ask, and provides general information on HVACR systems. Feel free to use the contact form below to ask a question or suggest a topic of discussion.
“If I think that my air-conditioning system isn’t keeping my house as cool and comfortable as it used to, does that mean that my system needs to be re-charged?
While it’s possible that an under-performing air-conditioning system could be low on refrigerant, there are other possibilities that are much more common than a leaking refrigration system. Often, there is an air flow problem. Here are some things you can consider about this possibility….
….Has your filter been changed or cleaned recently? A dirty filter restricts the flow of air through the indoor coil of your air conditioning system, and the end result is an uncomfortable temperature and humidity level in the building. When it comes to commonly accepted temperature and humidity levels, most people are comfortable at a temperature of approximately 75-degrees Fahrenheit, with 50% relative humidity.
…Are you sure your filter is the right one for your equipment? Filters are available in a variety of densities, and using one that is too dense and not designed for your system can cause and air flow problem.
…If your system has been in operation for several cooling seasons, your indoor coil may need to be cleaned, even if you have regularly changed or cleaned your filter. While a fliter does catch a certain amount of dirt, lint, pet hair or what have-you, some of that will find its way to the surface of your indoor coil. The only way to solve this situation is to use a liquid coil cleaner that will penetrate the fins and tubing and get rid of the unwanted debris. Ask about the type of cleaner a technician may be using to clean your indoor coil. Chemical cleaners that are non-toxic and won’t damage a coil are readily available. A technician can perform temperature-difference and a static pressure drop test to determine if your coil is dirty and restricting air flow in the duct system.
…If the outdoor coil of your air conditioning system is dirty, or if the air flow through it is restricted by plant growth around it or by tree branches above it, the performance of your air conditioning system can be affected. As with your indoor coil, a chemical clean-up of your outdoor coil can be accomplished safely and effectively.
“How often do I have to change the filters in my air conditioning system?”
For the most part, the rule of thumb is to replace central air conditioning system air filters once a month in order to keep the equipment operating at peak efficiency. However, if you have pets that shed a lot, or if there is construction going on near you that is creating a lot of dust that can migrate into your home when doors are opened, you might wind up changing your filters more frequently than that. This is one of the fist things that air conditioning technicians in training learn about because of the problems that neglect can cause.
A build-up of dirt, dust, pet hair, or even nicotine in a heavy smoker’s residence, will allow a blanket to form on the filter. When this happens, the air flow through the indoor coil of the system is restricted, and this can result in the coil icing up because there just isn’t enough warm air to keep it at it’s designed operating temperature. Once the coil gets iced, there will be almost no air at all coming from the supply registers, and the only way to get the system operating again is to shut it down so the coil can thaw out. And, of course, you’ll have to replace the dirty filter that caused the problem in the first place.
Another problem that comes about due to poor maintenance is that a dirty filter will eventually allow dirt to be forced through the return air system and particles will get caught in the fins of the indoor coil. Over time, this build-up will mean that the only way you can get your air conditioning system to operate properly again is to use a coil cleaner directly on the fins and the tubing. Also, if an indoor coil is dirty, not only will it inhibit the operation of your system by preventing proper air flow, but it could contribute to premature compressor failure.
Comments or questions are welcome.