Annual Air Conditioning Cleaning--A Really Cool Idea

Published 10/10/2014

Air conditioning cleaning is an absolute necessity if you want the unit to operate at peak efficiency, last a long time and not be forced to work harder, thus increasing your utility bill and shortening the life-span of the unit.

Most every area in the country has a hot period, even places that have several feet of snow each year, may have many very high-temperature weeks each year.

People in the southern United States will usually have more hot weeks that cool weeks.

In all these situations, people want their air conditioners to function properly.

Window units need to have the filter cleaned or changed regularly. The electrical cord should be checked and no one should expect such an unit to cool an entire house.

Central aid conditioning units should be checked annually by a trained professional. Companies like Mr. Duct, which employs qualified personnel  are located in most areas. The following three things should be done each year.

Checking the Refrigerant: Most people think of Freon as the substance used in air conditioners. It is still in use, but other refrigerants are also used. The main thing the technician must do is check the pressure of the refrigerant. It if is low, he should add some. If it is extremely low, he should be looking for a leak in the system. This is checked in the part of the air conditioning system that is outside and where the compressor is located.

Cleaning: Air conditioners need air. They not only cool the air and expel the hot air, the compressor needs a flow of air through the housing. Thus, the covering of the compressor should be removed and any grass cuttings, leaves or other debris removed. It would be wise for the customer to watch how this is done, and repeat the process as needed, especially if there are a lot of leaves in the area or the grass gets high and is frequently mowed. Grass blocking the air vents will impact, the efficiency of the unit.

Evaporator and Condenser: These components are usually in the attic of the house and are part of the cooling system. They need to be checked to make certain they are properly working. The inspector will check to see that the evaporator is not clog, causing moisture to condensate in the air which can lead to damage. The condenser, is the portion of the system that sends the refrigerant back to the compressor, so that the cooling cycle continues regularly. Usually, there are two pipes leading from the outside unit up into the attic. The larger pipe should be insulated. The compressed refrigerant goes up this pipe, and the insulation is needed to prevent it from becoming heated before it is pushed into the cooling ducts by a fan built into the system. This sends the refrigerant that has become heated back to the compressor. At this point, the refrigerant is a liquid and needs a smaller pipe that should not be insulated. This is so that the liquid refrigerant can lose as much heat as possible before going back into the compressor.

If you have a combination central air and heating system, there should be two inspections each year.

The first should be before the summer season starts so that the air-conditioning system be checked. The other inspection should be before the fall season begins, so that the heating system can be examined.

Annual checking of these systems will help to avoid costly repairs and discomfort in the future. The inspections will show if a system component needs to be replaced.

By knowing this, the work can be done while the temperature is still mild instead of having to have emergency repairs during the hottest or coldest times of the year.  

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