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Spring Central A/C Tune Up — Why It’s Needed

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel-charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service

american standard platinum gold silver series hvac

To Learn More About American Standard HVAC, Click Here:AmericanStandardAir.com/

 

This Is Part 1 of a 2-Part Article.  For Part 2, Click Here: AlsPlumbing.com A/C Tune Up Part 2 (Diagnostics)

 

Looking For Ways To Reduce This Summer’s Cooling Bills?  We Will Help!

Click Here For 45 Ways To Lower Cooling Costs Without Replacing Your A/C:  AlsPlumbing.com 45 Ways To Lower Cooling Costs

(Hint: One Of The Ways Is To Get A Spring A/C Tune Up)

Spring Central A/C Tune Up — Why It’s Needed

In order for your HVAC System to operate at maximum ability and efficiency plus last as long as possible, the system must be maintained properly.  Neglected systems run longer and harder. This results in higher cooling and heating bills and the system wears out sooner.

The Only Way For An HVAC System To Run At Maximum Ability & Efficiency Is If It’s In A Like-New State Of Maintenance.  

An A/C Tune Up is like having your car’s oil changed & its engine tuned up.  It ensures the car’s engine is not wearing excessively, and the car is running at its peak ability and efficiency.

dirty and clean furnace air filter very dirty and clogged a/c condenser coil

Shown: The Two Most Common Neglected Items Are Air Filters And Cleaning The Outside Unit Coil.

Once clogged with dirt, the air conditioner must work a lot harder and longer to achieve the desired amount of cooling.  

 

How A Central Air Conditioner Works 

photo shows where a/c coil goes above the furnace

Shown: Evaporator / Cooling Coil

 

photo american standard outdoor condenser unit

Shown: Outdoor Condenser Coil

diagram of furnace blower motor

Shown: Blower / Fan Location

furnace blower motor at bottom of furnace

Shown: Blower / Fan Photo

 

The Three Major Components Of A Central A/C System.  All Are Inspected During A/C Tune Up.

  • Cooling / Evaporator Coil:  This component (inside or directly above the furnace in the ductwork) converts refrigerant from a liquid to a gas.   Evaporating / vaporizing the refrigerant causes it to become cold.   Once it’s in gas form, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air as the air passes through the coil.
  • Outdoor / Condenser Unit:  This unit removes heat from the refrigerant and dispenses the heat into outdoor air.  It condenses the refrigerant from a gas back into a liquid.  Condensing refrigerant causes the heat to be released from the refrigerant.
  • Blower / Fan: This fan moves indoor air through the indoor cooling coil and throughout the house.  The blower / fan is located in the furnace.

diagram shows components of HVAC system

Shown: Diagram Of Complete HVAC System

 

Central A/C Tune Up: Cleaning (as required)

+ Diagnostic Inspection

Benefits of Spring Central Air Tune Up As Part Of Annual HVAC System Maintenance

The Most Important Benefits Of A Spring A/C Tune Up:

  • Better Cooling Performance and indoor comfort.
  • Lower Energy Bills:  Your central air conditioner being able to cool your home doesn’t mean it’s working at its peak ability & efficiency.  A neglected system slowly loses efficiency as it ages.  A large part of the reduction of ability & efficiency is due to dirt build-up on the system’s components.
  • Fewer Repairs:  All the components depend on each other.  At Tune Up will discover if one is not working correctly.  If a component is not working as designed, this can can cause needless strain on other components.

Example:  If the refrigerant is low, the outdoor unit works longer and harder, and can’t cool as it was designed to.  Central Air Tune Up’s check refrigerant level.

  • Lower Chance Of An Emergency Breakdown:  Neglected equipment is most likely to fail when you need it most, simply because that’s when it’s running the most.  Often times, an emergency call results from the failure of a components that would have been discovered during a Central Air Tune Up.

Example: Your a/c system has batteries (called capacitors).  They provide (such as the compressor) the extra electrical boost they need to start running.  They are the most likely component to fail in the HVAC system (they are rechargeable batteries and wear out).   This can leave you miserable on a sweltering summer day when you need your a/c the most. 

residential central air conditioner capacitor

Shown: A/C Capacitor (it’s round).  There is one for the fan + one for the compressor.

  • Less Chance Of Catastrophic Breakdown.  Worn inexpensive components can cause damage the most expensive components.

Example:  Your a/c outside unit’s compressor is turned on and off by an automatic switch (called a connector).  If this switch fails and does not disengage, the compressor will run non-stop until it’s damaged.  Connectors are inspected during a Central Air Tune Up.

photo of a/c connector switch

Shown: Central A/C Connector Switch (see 2 yellow caps on wires at top of switch)

  • Longer Equipment Life:  Your HVAC System will last longer when it’s working at its peak ability, efficiency, and how it’s designed to operate.  Neglected systems  run longer and harder than they should be.  This wears the system out sooner.

Example: A Dirty Coil In The Outside Unit Causes The System To Run Up To 35% More.   If the outside unit is allowed to run in a neglected state, it will wear out up to 35% faster.  During a Spring A/C Tune Up, the coil will be inspected to determine if it needs cleaned (cleaning often is an extra charge).

very dirty and clogged a/c condenser coil

Shown: Outside Unit’s Coil Clogged Before & After Cleaning

  • Safer Equipment Operation: A neglected HVAC System can create safety concerns.

Example:  Vibrations can cause a loose electrical wire to come out of its proper connection and touch another connection.  This causes a short-circuit which can cause a damage to the furnace’s electronics.  Today’s furnaces and outside a/c units have “Control Boards” — they are similar to a computer circuit board and can easily be damaged by an electrical short.  Electrical connections are checked and tightened as needed.

photo of damaged electrical wire

Shown: Leftmost Wire Shows Damage After Falling Out Of The Connection & Touching Another Wire

photo of circuit board damaged by lightning

Shown: This Is A Circuit Board That Was Destroyed By A Power Surge.  Power Surges Often Occur During Electrical Short Circuits

A Spring A/C Tune Up Consists Of:

  • Inspection & Cleaning (as needed)
  • Diagnostic Check Up.  This determines if all components are working as they should.   This step may discover low refrigerant level or components about to fail.  Recharging refrigerant, and replacing failing components at Tune Up time, notably reduces the changes of a breakdown during the peak cooling season.

Ensure The Outdoor Unit’s Coil Is Clean

Over time, a neglected outdoor unit will clog nearly completely.  The more clogged it becomes, the longer and harder the A/C must run.  This increases cooling bills and wears the HVAC System out sooner.

Part of a Spring A/C Tune-Up is to inspect the outdoor unit’s coil and determine if it needs cleaned (cleaning is often an extra charge).

The U.S. Department Of Energy states “A Dirty Condenser Coil Increases Cooling Costs Up To 35%.”  It’s safe to say if the HVAC System is running up to 35% more than it should be, the system will wear out up to 35% earlier.

very dirty and clogged a/c condenser coil

Shown: Outside Unit’s Coil Clogged With Debris

 

Ensure The Indoor Cooling Coil Is Clean 

You Can Do The Most Important HVAC System Maintenance. Check The Furnace Filter Monthly & Replace When Needed. 

(The indoor cooling coil receives air filtered by the furnace filter).

dirty and clean furnace air filter very dirty and buckled furnace air filter

Dirty Versus Clean Furnace Air Filter                   Air Filter So Dirty that It Buckled

The U.S. Dept. Of Energy states “A Dirty Furnace Filter Increases Cooling Costs Up To 15%.”   It’s safe to say if the HVAC System is running up to 15% more than it should be, wearing the system out up to 15% earlier.

Part of a Spring A/C Tune-Up is to inspect the indoor cooling coil and determine if it needs cleaned (cleaning is an additional service, at extra charge).

 

Even The Finest Furnace Filter Allows Some Dust Into The Indoor Cooling Coil

If neglected, over time this coil can nearly clog.  As it clogs, less air moves through the furnace.  This causes the HVAC System to work harder and longer.  This increases cooling bills and wears the HVAC System out sooner.

This coil is wet all summer (it removes humidity).  All the air passing through the furnace (summer & winter) passes through this coil.  In summer, accumulated dust + water + cool temperatures is perfect for mold to grow and thrive.  Each time the HVAC System cycles air moves through a molded coil.  The swiftly moving air carries mold spores throughout the house.

molded home central a/c evaporator coil

This neglected indoor cooling coil is nearly completely clogged.  There is black mold growing on the right side.

 

photo of a/c coil molded and clean with uv light

Shown: Dirty & Molded Versus Clean Indoor Cooling Coil

 

Prevent Mold In The A/C Cooling Coil With UV Light

Al’s Sells & Installs The APCO MAG — UV Light For Indoor Cooling Coilphoto of apco brand mag uv light for a/c indoor cooling coil

Shown: The APCO MAG Light For A/C Indoor Cooling Coil

This UV Light kills mold on the cooling coil.  But it cannot keep dust from building up on the coil.   Part of a Spring A/C Tune Up is to inspect the cooling coil to see if it needs cleaned (cleaning is typically an extra charge service).

If The Indoor Cooling Coil Becomes Clogged, It’s Likely To Freeze 

home central a/c evaporator coil iced up

As the coil becomes dirty, less air can pass through it.  As air movement is reduced, it’s common for this coil to freeze.  If this occurs, there will be no air movement, and no cooling.  If the HVAC System is allowed to run with a frozen indoor coil too long, the outside unit will become damaged.

Note: Setting your thermostat below 68 degrees can also cause a normally operating system to freeze.  If the furnace blower fan is running, but there is no air coming from the vent, the coling coil it’s likely frozen.

  • Turn the a/c off at the thermostat
  • Turn the blower fan to “on” and allow only the blower to run
  • If the cooling coil is frozen, you will soon begin to feel some air coming from the vents.  Allow the furnace blower fan (only) to operate until the air volume is normal.  If not sure, allow it to run (without a/c running) until the air coming from the vents is warm.
  • Turn a/c on at the thermostat
  • Turn blower fan back to “auto”

thermostat set to emergency heat instead of heat pump

Shown: Thermostat System Switch shows “Off” & “Heat” above the button  (on the left at the bottom) & “Cool” & “Emer” (for heat pump only) below the button.

PLUS

Fan Switch (on the right at the bottom) shows “Fan” above the button.  Below the button is “On” (fan always on) and “Auto” (fan on only when cooling or heating).

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Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, Richardson, and Garland.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel-charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service