Hello, my name is Darby Aldrich. I would like to talk to you about the importance of maintaining your air conditioning system. When I moved to a hot climate, I did not realize how vital having a running air conditioner was for living comfortably. When the unit just stopped working one day, the temperature inside the house rivaled the piping hot weather outdoors. We had to go to the community center to keep the kids from feeling sick. While we were gone, we had a local HVAC contractor fix the unit. She let us know that some simple maintenance tasks would prevent that situation in the future. I will use this site to closely explore those tasks in great detail. I hope you can use the information to keep your air conditioner running like new. Thanks.
If your air conditioner has been around for a few decades and is no longer working properly, then you have a decision to make. You'll either need to have the unit repaired or replace it entirely. While repairing an older AC unit is often possible, you need to be prepared for some of the challenges you might come across during the process. Here's a look.
Your refrigerant is not available or is very expensive.
Older air conditioners were designed to use a refrigerant called R-22. This refrigerant is in the process of being phased out and no more will be produced after 2020. Manufacturers have already been mandated to cut down on R-22 production drastically, so there are very limited amounts available. If you need refrigerant to get your AC unit functioning properly again, your HVAC contractor may struggle to find it -- or may have to charge you a lot for it.
Newer air conditioners use a refrigerant called R-401A, which is much better for the environment. Sadly, you can't just put this new refrigerant in an older AC unit that was designed to be used with R-22. To tell whether your AC unit uses R-22 or not, look at the label or owner's manual. If you see that it uses R-22, be prepared for a costly repair or the possibility of replacing your AC unit entirely.
The wiring is not in great shape.
The electrical wires leading to and through an outdoor air conditioning unit are prone to corrosion and damage if they are not properly protected from the elements over the years. Re-wiring an air conditioner, especially if the internal electrical components need to be replaced, can be very expensive. This is not a task that you want to DIY or hire a less-than-scrupulous contractor to tackle since poor electrical work can put your family's safety at risk.
If your air conditioner has been turning on and off frequently or seems like it's not responding to the thermostat properly, then it's likely that you have an electrical issue. Be prepared for your HVAC technician to give you a high estimate or to refer you to an electrician if you opt for repairs rather than replacement.
The motor is failing.
The blower unit of your air conditioner has a motor, much like the motor in your car, which is responsible for forcing the cooled air through the ducts. Like any motor, this unit develops wear over time. Often, a number of components fail in a short period of time once a motor reaches a certain age. For instance, a belt may go, and then the ball bearings may start failing.
If your air conditioner has been very noisy, there is a good chance that the blower motor may be failing. Be prepared for your AC contractor to tell you that you need an entirely new motor. If you choose to only replace the part that's failing right now, you may face additional repairs just a few months later.
If you run into any of the challenges above when you begin looking into having your air conditioner replaced, you might be better off upgrading to a newer air conditioner rather than replacing your old one. In many cases, buying a new unit may cost you less in the long run since the new air conditioner will be less likely to experience additional problems in the future. Plus, newer AC units are more efficient, so your energy bills will decrease.
6 July 2017