Having an air conditioner is more of a necessity than a luxury, especially if you live in warm places like Las Vegas. Because it can get extremely hot, homes and establishments turn to their AC for comfort. Sometimes, however, when the AC unit gets overworked, they can breakdown. Depending on the extent of the damage, AC repair can get quite expensive.
To keep your AC units in optimal working condition, it’s essential to understand the basics of your AC system. By getting familiarized with its basic operating principles, you will know better how to maintain it to last for years.
How an AC Works
In a nutshell, an AC unit sucks in warm air and “conditions” it so that it becomes cool. Warm air passes through a series of pipes or cooling coils; they get cooled down and dehumidified, and blasted back into the room. Meanwhile, the coolant liquid or refrigerant takes care of the indoor heat, carrying it outside of the room or building.
This refrigerant, also known as Freon, turns from liquid to vapor in the process. Once the hot air is removed, the Freon condenses, reverting to its liquid state. This process goes on in a loop.
When your unit encounters any problem in the process, it will not work correctly and may even break down. Perhaps it might take some time to cool your room, or it might not cool your room according to the temperature range you have set. Water might even drip from the unit inside the room. When it happens, you either try to troubleshoot it or call a technician for AC repair.
Preventing Problems That Might Require AC Repair
As much as possible, we want to avoid problems that might require AC repair. With regular maintenance and proper use, calling for an AC repair should not be something you will have to do, at least not any time soon.
1. Keep your outdoor condenser and filter clean.
This straightforward way of AC maintenance has a significant impact on your AC unit’s proper working status. A clogged, dirty filter and outdoor condenser prevent your AC unit from cooling the air efficiently. What’s more, it can even contribute to your AC system to freeze.
Clean or change the filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s instruction. Remove dirt and debris from the condenser once or twice a year, depending on its exposure to outside elements.
2. Do not set your thermostat below 70 degrees.
AC and refrigerator are both cooling appliances, but their technicalities are different. Therefore, you must resist the urge to set the thermostat as if you are preserving food items.
It may be unbearably hot outside, but setting it below 70 degrees will not cool your room any faster. That can damage your compressor and cause it to overwork. Eventually, the system will get covered in frost and block the airflow.
3. Thaw out any signs of system frost right away.
If you see signs of frosting, you must attend to it right away. The quickest remedy is to turn on the fan of your unit. This way, the warm air will blow over the ice and thaw it out.
Remember to check the filter and condenser too for dirt build-up (see number 1) to prevent the recurrence of the issue. If the freezing problem keeps resurfacing, it is time to call for an AC repair.
4. Be realistic about the AC cooling capacity.
Generally, the AC unit can accommodate up to a 20-degree difference between the inside and outside air temperatures. That is the air temperature difference threshold of the AC unit. As such, it is recommended to keep the setting within a 20-degree difference from the outdoor temperature. If it’s 95 degrees outside, for example, set the thermostat to 75 degrees. Setting it much lower can stress the AC system, which can result in problems requiring costly AC repair.
5. AC system does not need yearly “charging.”
AC system cannot “eat up” its refrigerant or Freon supply. The only way it can lose its Freon is if there is a leak. Any AC repair procedure involving a “Freon charging” without establishing the presence of a leak is a scam. The AC refrigerant system is a closed system, and refrigerants cannot just escape unless there is a leak.