There's nothing more important during the summer than keeping your air conditioner running well. Routine maintenance is the easiest way to ensure that your AC can keep up with the sweltering heat, but how much maintenance does a typical central air conditioning system really require? You may be surprised to learn that there's more to keeping your system running than just changing the filter.
Unfortunately, some of these tasks may seem deceptively simple but may require a professional to get the best possible results. Keep reading to learn about three AC maintenance services you may want an expert to perform on your system.
1. Condenser Cleaning
Your condenser is one of several components in your AC system that will get dirty over time, potentially impacting its efficiency. Dirt and debris on the coils can prevent them from releasing their heat into the atmosphere, causing the system to struggle and interfering with the refrigerant cycle. Periodic cleanings remove this buildup and keep the system running well.
While you can easily spray out the coils with a regular garden hose and water, you may still want to schedule a professional cleaning occasionally. HVAC contractors use heavier-duty cleaners to remove even more built-up dust and dirt. While you can use these cleaners yourself, improper usage can be harmful and may even cause damage to your coils.
2. Refrigerant Recharges
Have you ever considered "boosting" your home's air conditioning with more refrigerant? If so, you may be about to make a costly mistake. AC systems use closed-loop refrigerant cycles and shouldn't lose refrigerant during normal operation. If your air conditioner shows the symptoms of low refrigerant, it means you have a leak somewhere in the system.
Topping up on refrigerant without addressing the problem is a stop-gap at best and may be actively harmful at worst. You can easily cause problems by filling the system incorrectly, and adding too much refrigerant can destroy costly components like your compressor. If you're low on refrigerant, you need a professional contractor to inspect your system and find the problem.
3. Evaporator Cleaning
Your AC evaporator sits on the opposite side of the system from your condenser. Where the condenser coils release heat from the refrigerant, the evaporator coils transfer heat into it. Dirty or gunked-up evaporator coils will prevent this transfer, stopping your AC system from removing heat from your home. In addition to making your home uncomfortable, this situation can stress system components.
Unlike the condenser, these coils don't normally accumulate too much dirt and debris, but they can become dirty if you run your system with a severely clogged filter. However, with most systems, reaching the evaporator requires significant disassembly. If your evaporator coils are dirty, cleaning them is a job that's best left to the pros.
Contact a professional to learn more about these and other air conditioning services.