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February 2024
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Why You Shouldn’t Replace Your AC Unit Unless It Costs $5,000 Or More

When the home air conditioning unit goes out, it is frustrating. But replacing it isn’t always the best solution. Some experts use a rule of thumb: If the repair costs exceed $5,000, it makes sense to replace it.

AC Repair

During routine maintenance, the HVAC technician can inspect and clean various parts of the system. But other AC Repair Van Nuys projects can be done at home.

Your thermostat is the little box on your wall that controls all of your home’s heating and cooling. Whether it’s an old analog model with tiny numbers, dials, and levers or an all-digital smart device, the function is the same: you tell it what temperature you want in your home, and the system adjusts to get there. If the thermostat can’t reach your set temperature, it turns off and stays off until the room or home cools down.

When you call an AC repair technician to check your unit, the first thing they’ll likely do is ask to see your thermostat. It might seem strange, but they need to make sure that the thermostat is flipped to “cool” and that the temperature isn’t set too high or low. They’ll also look to make sure the power switch on the air handler (inside your home) and the circuit switches supplying power to the outdoor unit aren’t tripped or blown out.

If they can’t locate any obvious problems, the repairman may check your ductwork for a number of reasons. They might find that there’s a small leak or obstruction or that your ducts aren’t properly sealed or insulated. If your ducts are clogged, you’ll need to have them professionally cleaned or replaced.

Similarly, they might listen to your unit for signs of a problem with the compressor. If it’s overheating or the breaker keeps tripping, that could indicate that it needs replacing.

A faulty thermostat can be a problem in itself, but it can also be a sign of a more serious issue with your air conditioner. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of replacing an entire unit, it might be worth calling a professional to have it repaired and get your system working again.

Condenser

The AC condenser is the component responsible for pumping refrigerant in and out of the system. It also helps the compressor and evaporator do their jobs in a way that maximizes cooling efficiency for your home or office. A malfunctioning condenser can lead to expensive damage to other components, which is why it’s important to keep up with routine maintenance.

The air conditioning condenser is a large piece of equipment, and it’s one of the most complex parts of any HVAC system. It’s essential that only licensed AC professionals work on it because a mistake could be fatal to the entire unit.

Fortunately, a malfunctioning condenser is not usually as serious as it sounds. The most common problem is an electrical problem, and a quick fix is possible with a new relay switch. The relay switch is a mechanical device that uses low-voltage power to turn on 220-volt high-amperage current to the compressor and condenser fan. When the switch fails, the fan can’t start, and the compressor won’t turn on either.

Another common problem is a leak in the coils. Typically, the leak is due to an impact on the condenser from falling debris, corrosion from exposure to saltwater or pollution, or overheating. Depending on the type of coil, repair or replacement will be necessary. The cost of replacement will depend on whether the coils are copper or aluminum and if they’re finned or spined.

A leaking condenser can cause major problems with your cooling system, including low indoor humidity and an insufficient supply of cool air. If you see puddles of refrigerant or notice that your energy bill has increased, call for an AC inspection immediately.

A faulty condenser can be a huge headache, but it is possible to reduce the need for repairs through regular maintenance and proper use. Maintaining the system with a programmable thermostat and sealing air leaks will help limit the strain on your air conditioner. Trimming foliage and removing yard waste near the unit can also help, as can keeping up with annual maintenance and preseason tune-ups.

Evaporator

The evaporator coil, found in the air handler inside your home, works with the condenser to complete the AC cooling process. Both coils must be in good condition for the system to operate, and they both require regular maintenance.

A dirty evaporator coil can be ineffective, and it can also contaminate household air with oily residue or other chemicals from cleaning products. A licensed HVAC professional should clean the evaporator coil, and you should regularly change your air filter to minimize the buildup of dust on the coils.

Evaporator coils need good airflow to transfer heat efficiently, and dust or debris interferes with this vital function. Keeping the area around the coils free of debris and trimming yard foliage to promote proper air flow is essential. A buildup of debris can strain the coil and cause it to overheat. If you suspect the evaporator coil is blocked, shut off power to the unit and use a stiff brush to remove any dirt or debris.

The constant circulation of cooling refrigerant in the evaporator coil erodes its inner lining over time, which weakens the coil and makes it susceptible to refrigerant leaks. When a leak develops, it’s important to have it repaired promptly by a professional. The lack of refrigerant can make the system ineffective and increase energy bills.

Leaks from the evaporator coil can result in high humidity levels in a house, which can be uncomfortable for inhabitants and contribute to mold or mildew problems. High humidity can also cause a musty smell, and it is more difficult to cool a home with high humidity.

Low refrigerant is a common AC problem that most homeowners can fix themselves by adding more. If you discover that your system is low on refrigerant, however, it’s important to understand what caused the problem in order to prevent future issues and keep your cooling system running at peak performance.

Having an understanding of how your air conditioning system works can help you prevent problems, maintain the health of your equipment, and extend the lifespan of its components. Learning about the evaporator coil and the condenser coil can help you be a more proactive homeowner, so you can address any AC issues sooner rather than later.

Filters

Filters are designed to trap pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust, and other pollutants before they’re pushed out through your vents. Changing your air filter on a regular basis is the best way to prevent these contaminants from building up in your home and also keep your system running smoothly.

There are several different types of filters, and each one has its own specific purpose. Some filters kill bacteria and viruses, while others are simply designed to screen out dirt and dust. The best choice for your home depends on the types of allergens that are present in your area. If you have a family member who suffers from asthma or allergies, then you’ll want to invest in a high-efficiency filter that can keep these particles at bay.

Whenever you’re ready to change your filter, first make sure the power to your unit is turned off. This is important for both your safety and the safety of your equipment. If the system is still powered on while you’re removing a clogged filter, then those particles could get sucked back into the unit, where they can cause damage or even breakdowns.

Once the power is off, you can easily remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. When choosing a new filter, refer to your owner’s manual for guidance. Most manufacturers will specify the size and shape of the filter needed for their units. They’ll also explain how often the filter should be changed as well as the ideal conditions for this maintenance task.

While changing your air filter may seem like a minor chore, it’s important to do so on a regular basis. Not only will it help you breathe cleaner air, but it will also reduce the risk of costly repairs in the future. In fact, if you don’t change your air filter regularly and it becomes caked with dirt, it can actually choke off the moving parts of your HVAC system, causing them to break down. This is why it’s important to set a reminder or make it a part of your monthly cleaning routine.