Spring Cleaning 2017 – Don’t Forget Your Air Conditioner/Heat Pump Maintenance
Spring is here in beautiful Portland, OR!
Well, as good as its going to get for now. We seem to be continuing to experience cool temperatures and LOTS of rain. Even with that, many of us have already started on spring cleaning. After all, it’s Oregon, and a little rain does not bother us Oregonian’s. So while your cleaning out your closet to get rid of that t-shirt collection that someone in the house thinks is a great homage to every concert they have been to since they were 16, or that treadmill that has just been collecting dust in your garage since the last new year (2016), make sure your air conditioner/heat pump maintenance is on your to do list.
You pay all this money for comfort, so it is always best to be proactive and make sure its in top working order. Not to mention, the air conditioner/heat pump always seems to go out at the hottest time of the year. Which of course is when it’s nearly impossible to find any heating & cooling company that can come out within the same week, let alone the same month. If you do not catch any issue early enough, it could end up costing you. Possibly, a new unit if it goes unchecked, and that isn’t cheap.
For most of us, it’s probably been a year or more since we had our cooling looked at. In that time, a years’ worth of dirt and debris will have clogged the coil fins. (Coil fins are those aluminum fin like things that are on the evaporator and condenser coils.) They bend easily, which then blocks air flow thru the coil. This means that not enough cool air is coming into the house. Good news is they can be put back with a fin comb.
A leak could have also developed over that time. If you have even the smallest leak, you will have lost refrigerant, which will directly affect how much cooling you will have. As the coolant continues to leak you will eventually lose all coolant and that can get to be an expensive repair. Just as an FYI, if you have an older unit that uses R-22, its time to start budgeting for a new unit. Even if your unit is working just fine, R-22 is being phased out. This means that the cost of using R-22 will continue to rise. Check out this link for more information. New systems now use R-410, which is much better for the environment and your repair bill for replacing refrigerant will be a lot less.
What you should expect from an air conditioner/heat pump maintenance?
Make sure to have your air conditioner/heat pump serviced when it is at least 60 degrees out. This will ensure that the system is working correctly and not just working with the cold air outside.
The technician should do at minimum the following:
- Cleaning dirt, leaves and other debris from the condensing coils
- Check the state of your refrigerant
- Ensure your fan is working properly
- Test safety controls
- Test thermostat operation
- Test & inspect drain pan safety switches
- Inspect electrical disconnect box
- Check equipment grounding
- Inspect and test contactors and relays
- Inspect electrical connections and wires.
- Inspect all stand alone capacitors
- Measure and record AMP draw to blower motor
- Inspect fan belt
- Inspect and clean condensate drain and traps
- Inspect coil fins
- Inspect refrigerant lines
- Check for oil leaks
- Inspect indoor coil
They should pretty much check the entire unit, inside and out. A good service technician will go over their findings with you and be able to show you anything that is concerning.
What You Can Do
Make sure you are changing your air filter regularly. A plugged air filter will restrict the air flow and cause your system to work harder than it should. This can result in your system developing issues sooner. If you are in need of a filter, contact Comfort Solutions (Mention this blog, and get 10% off the filter purchase). They can replace the filter while out for your air conditioner/heat pump maintenance.
To keep your air conditioner protected thru the wet and snow months, you can purchase an air conditioning cover. The best covers are ones that are made specifically for your unit so you know you’re getting the best fit. Contact Comfort Solutions Heating and Cooling and we can get a customized air conditioner cover ordered for you and shipped directly to your home. (If you mention this blog, you can save 10% on that too!)
You just need to remember to take it off the unit before you are going to start using it. Bad things will happen if you forget your cover is on, and you start running your air conditioner. After all, it needs air to run and a cover would prevent that from happening. Also, you will still want to check your unit after any storms, first to make sure it didn’t fly off (it happens on occasion), and second, because debris can still work its way in.
You can also clean off your unit by using simple green. Clean it well, and hose it off. This will help keep the dirt and debris out. Just make sure to turn off the unit first.
Lastly, call a heating and cooling company. If something is wrong and a maintenance doesn’t fix it, then their service technician should be able to pinpoint the issue and offer a solution to fix it.