Necessary Fall AC Maintenance

Necessary Fall AC Maintenance

At the end of the summer season, you’re likely thinking about preparing your home for the upcoming cold winter months. However, it’s important to take some time to perform some maintenance on your air conditioning system. This will help to ensure that it’s ready for the stagnant winter season and will be ready to start up when springtime comes back around.

Pay Attention to Odd Noises and Smells

Before you start to perform any fall maintenance on your air conditioning system, it’s important that you take a moment to see how it’s running. It’s very easy for you not to realize that a low noise has developed in your system or that it’s giving off an odd smell. It’s human nature just to adapt to these changes if they happen slowly over time.

You’ll want to be listening to your air conditioning system and using your nose to detect any odd smells that may be coming from it. Some common noises you may hear are vibrating, humming, or clicking. Some unusual smells that you may notice are that of exhaust fumes, mildew, and garbage. If you notice any odd smells or noises, it’s essential to address these issues before wrapping your AC system up for the winter.

Clean Your Indoor Unit

If everything seems normal with your air conditioning unit, it’s time to move on to the cleaning phase. By cleaning the various components of your air conditioning system now, you can prevent that debris from coming up over the long winter months. You’ll want to start this phase by killing the power to your entire air conditioning system at your electrical panel.

Go ahead and remove the access panel to your indoor unit. Start by cleaning the evaporator coils. Due to the amount of stuck-on debris that these coils experience, it’s best to use a specialized coil cleaner. These typically come in a foaming agent where you spray it on and wait a specific period of time while it works to clean the coil’s surface.

Once the evaporator coils are cleaned off, it’s time to clean your drain and the drain pipe. Your main goal should be to remove any gunk that is blocking the drain. Mixing up a solution of bleach and water and pouring it down the drain can help to bust up any of that gunk and any hard water scaling.

Check Your Air Filter

While you’re still inside, you should pop out the air filter for your air conditioning system. You want to hold it up and see if you’re able to see through it. If you can, go ahead and put the filter back in as it still has some useful life left in it. If you can’t see through it, it’s time to replace it.

When it comes to replacement air filters, you have four main options. These are pleated, reusable, HEPA, and fiberglass. If you’re looking for a filter that has a fairly decent filtering ability and is still affordable, you’ll want to invest in the pleated filter. If you have allergies or multiple pets, it’s a good idea to invest in the HEPA filter. It can be more expensive, but it will do more filtering to enhance the air quality inside of your home.

Clean Your Vents

Your air conditioning system has ductwork that runs throughout your home and enters each room through a vent. Each room of your home should have two different vents, which are the supply vent for delivering cold air to the room and the return vent for pulling hot air out of the room. Over time, these vents can collect a lot of dust and debris.

You can use a wet cloth to wipe down the grates of each vent. If you’re able to pop the vent out of its position, it will be easier to clean. You can simply pop it out and spray it down without having to worry about getting any excess water on your walls. Just make sure that all of your vents are completely dry before you reinstall them. Otherwise, they could develop biological growth like mildew.

Clean Up Outside

Your air conditioning system will have an outside condenser unit that is responsible for dispersing the hot air from your home. Because it’s exposed to all the outdoor elements, it’s very common for the condenser unit to get loose debris blown up against it. Now is a good time to clear out the space around your condenser unit. Go ahead and spray off the cover and trim any shrubs or tree limbs that are within a couple of feet of the unit.

Clean Your Condenser Unit

Once you pop the cover off your condenser unit, you want to start by removing any big clumps of loose debris. Next, use your coil cleaning agent to clean off the condenser coils. Once the foaming agent has set for the recommended amount of time, get the hose out.

You want to spray out the entire condenser unit. Be careful to remove any debris that is stuck in the metal fins. Avoid using a pressure washer as the pressure that it creates will likely bend the fins in your system.

The last thing you need to do with your outdoor condenser unit is to straighten out any of the fins that have become bent. You can do this with a fin comb that is of the right size for your air conditioning system, or you can use a small pair of needle-nose pliers.

Check Your Wiring

As you’re cleaning out your indoor and outdoor units, it’s a good idea to look over the wiring. You specifically want to look for any wiring that is fraying, corroded, or loose. Make sure you tighten up any loose wires that you come across. You should be able to remove most of the corrosion from the wires. However, you may find that some of the wiring may need to be replaced. It’s best to call in a professional to take care of your wiring issues.

Professional Tune-Up

When the summer weather turns to breezy fall weather, it’s the perfect time to schedule a tune-up visit. You’re likely going to have a professional come in to take a look at your furnace to prepare it for the upcoming winter season. At the same time, you should have that professional evaluate your air conditioning system.

When a professional evaluates your air conditioning system, they’re looking for a number of different things. These include checking the condition of your belts, lubricating any moving parts, recharging your refrigerant levels, and much more. By having a professional look at your air conditioning system at the end of the summer season, they can alert you to any upcoming problems.

For example, if one of your fans is making a humming noise, it’s likely going to need to be replaced for the upcoming summer season. This gives you the added benefit of being able to save up money to repair your air conditioning system. It’s much easier to handle a repair problem when you know about it ahead of time instead of dealing with an unexpected expense when you need your air conditioning system the most.

Helpful AC Service Professional

Hansen Air Pros is your helpful air conditioner service professional for the Mobile community. We’re also here to assist you with all of your heating, generator, and indoor air quality needs. Just give us a call today, and we’ll get a specialist on the way to you.

Ensuring Your AC Runs Efficiently

Ensuring Your AC Runs Efficiently

While running your home air conditioning system is essential for keeping your family nice and cool during the hot summer months, it also comes at a cost. If you’ve ever dealt with an unexpectedly high energy bill during the summertime, it’s likely that you’re worried about how much energy your air conditioning system is actually using. Making your system as energy efficient as possible can help save you a bundle on your cooling costs.

Bust Out the Thermometer

If you want to check the efficiency of your air conditioning system, you’re going to need to get a hand-held thermostat. You’ll want to put this thermostat on the supply register that delivers cold air to your home. It’s best to utilize the supply vent that is closest to your air conditioning system equipment. In most cases, this will be the room that is right above the equipment in the basement.

Once you get a reading for the supply vent, it’s time to put the thermometer on the return vent. Give it about five minutes of letting the thermometer sit on the return vent until you take a temperature reading. You’ll want to proceed to compare the temperature between the supply register and the return vent.

There should be about a 15-degree difference between both vents. If there isn’t much of a difference between the temperature of your return vent and your supply register, it’s an indication that your air conditioning system isn’t adequately producing cold air. The air being pushed out of the supply register should always be colder than the air that’s going into the return vent.

Are There Uneven Temperatures?

If you notice that some rooms of your home aren’t getting as cool as others, it’s an indication that your air conditioning system is not working efficiently. The first thing that you should check to remedy this issue is your vents. A common mistake that many homeowners make is blocking various vents throughout their homes.

Whenever the supply vent to a room gets blocked, it’s not going to be able to deliver that cool air that you want. You should always be very mindful of your vents and make sure that you don’t put any objects in front of them, like a couch or a plant.

Does Your Airflow Seem Reduced?

Another key indication that your air conditioning system’s efficiency is compromised is that the airflow throughout your home seems reduced. Instead of just noticing fluctuations in the temperature of some rooms, you notice an overall decrease in airflow in every room. When this happens, it’s time to check your air filter to see if it’s clogged.

In order for your air conditioning system to run efficiently, it needs to have a clean air filter. This air filter works to remove unwanted pollen, dust, and other debris from the air inside of your home. Whenever this filter becomes clogged up with debris, it will cause your air conditioning system to work much harder to force air through the blocked filter.

To check the state of your filter, you’ll want to remove it from its housing and hold it up to a light source to see if you can see through it. If you can’t see through the filter, it’s time to replace it. It’s best to check your filter once a month to prevent this issue in the future.

Is It Warmer Than Usual?

If your home feels warmer than normal, it’s time to check out your condenser unit. This condenser unit is responsible for dispersing the warm air that is being extracted from your home. When your condenser unit is unable to do its job correctly, your home won’t get cool enough as your system won’t be able to get rid of your indoor heat effectively.

Any excess debris like leaves can block the vents of the condenser cover and prevent the blower inside of the condenser unit from working correctly. There should be a good 3 feet of space surrounding your entire condenser unit that is free from any obstructions. Again, checking this on a regular basis can help keep your air conditioning system operating as efficiently as possible.

If you’re still struggling with inadequate cooling after cleaning up your condenser unit, it’s time to look at the evaporator and the condenser coils. These coils are prone to accumulating dust buildup and debris. When too much accumulation happens, it makes it much harder for your air conditioning system to transfer heat. When there is an inability to transfer high amounts of heat out of your home, you’re going to be unable to keep your home at a nice cool level.

There are specific foaming agents that are recommended for this type of cleaning job. Just be sure to turn off your entire conditioning system before you clean these coils so that they can be cleaned safely and effectively. If cleaning the coils still has no effect on your issue, it’s likely a low refrigerant level, which needs to be handled by a professional.

Do You Hear Odd Noises?

When your air conditioning system is working efficiently, you should only hear the minimal sound of the motor running. When your system has problems, it will start to develop odd noises. Depending on the issue, you may hear many different types of sounds. Some of the most common are humming, buzzing, and clicking. If you hear noises, it’s time to call in an air conditioning professional to evaluate the issue further.

Is Your Unit Running All the Time?

One of the clearest signs of an inefficient AC is that the unit is constantly running. This may mean that the AC never stops, or it might mean that it’s constantly cycling on and off. Either way, the unit is struggling to keep your home at a specific temperature. In your house, you will probably find that you have a lot of temperature swings or that it never quite gets to the point of being cool when you have a constantly running air conditioner.

Have Your Electric Bills Increased?

If you are seeing an increase in your power bill, whether gradual or sudden, this is another sign that your HVAC unit is not efficient. When you look at this, make sure you are considering factors that can also increase your bill, like going from a cooler to hotter month and rate hikes from your power company. The best way to see this is to look at the bills for the same month over three to four years. You can check to make sure the average temperature was about the same (not unseasonably hot or cold) to account for some of the temperature swings. If you see a clear upward trend year after year that can’t be explained by something else, then your AC is probably declining in its efficiency.

Leading AC Service

Hansen Air Pros is here to assist all of our neighbors in Mobile with quality air conditioner services. We also provide heating, indoor air quality, and generator services. Just give us a call today to schedule your next appointment.

Common AC Problems in Summer

Common AC Problems in Summer

Summer has arrived, and so have the AC problems associated with hot weather. Here in the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it’s crucial to have a steady supply of cool air during the summer months. Having a broken air conditioner can seriously impact your ability to stay comfortable, safe, and happy during the warm season. From sky-high energy bills to stifling heat in your house, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. That’s why we put together a short guide to help you understand some of the most common AC problems in summer.

1. Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is the liquid responsible for cooling down the air as it passes through the air conditioner. If there’s a leak in the system and the refrigerant falls below a certain level, your AC can no longer cool down the air. You’ll probably notice the air in your home is gradually getting warmer over the course of a few days or even weeks. A technician can patch the leak and top off the refrigerant levels. It’s important not to handle the refrigerant by yourself because it’s a dangerous chemical that should only be used by a trained professional.

2. AC Won’t Turn On

This is one of summer’s most frustrating AC problems because it totally eliminates your ability to get cool air. There are a few common culprits behind air conditioners that won’t start. Luckily, some of these problems are easy to fix on your own. Tripped breakers and dead thermostat batteries will impair your AC’s ability to turn on. Try flipping the breakers and replacing the batteries to see if that restores power to your AC.

If that doesn’t work, a more serious problem might be at play. A worn-out capacitor is also a common problem. The capacitor is the component that powers the AC’s motor and fans. When the capacitor wears out, the AC won’t turn on. This is a problem that a trained technician can easily fix.

3. Leaky Ducts

Your air conditioner is attached to a series of ducts that transport cool air to various parts of your house. These ducts are made of separate pieces of metal that are joined together by joints. As the ducts expand and contract with the changing temperature, the joints are put under stress. Eventually, the stress will get so severe that it leads to air leaks.

Leaky ducts cause your AC to work harder but become less effective at cooling down your home. You’re most likely to notice this problem on the hottest days of summer when your AC is struggling to keep up with the temperature. Our technicians use advanced equipment to detect even the smallest air leaks so we can patch them up.

4. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty air filters are a big reason why air conditioners break down. Spring and summer are especially dirty seasons because they go hand in hand with high pollen levels. This causes the filters to get dirtier faster than during the cold seasons. As the air filter gets clogged with debris, the AC has to work harder to push air through. Overheating, component failure, and high utility bills are all potential side effects of having a clogged AC air filter. To avoid these consequences, we recommend changing your air filter every month during summer.

5. High Energy Bills

Higher temperatures lead to higher utility bills, but there’s still a range that’s considered normal. If your energy bill suddenly skyrockets from one month to the next, there could be a problem with your air conditioner. Some common AC problems during summer cause your system to consume much more electricity than normal, which results in your bills going up. If you’re unsure if your bill is within the normal range, ask a neighbor if you can compare your bill to theirs. A higher than average number should warrant a call to your trusted AC technicians.

6. Thermostat Troubles

The thermostat is like the brain of your cooling system; it tells the system when to turn on and off and what temperature to cool your home to. If there’s a problem with the thermostat, your AC may not be able to reach your desired temperature, or it may not turn on at all. Thermostat problems have various causes. The easiest one to fix is drained batteries. However, it’s also possible there’s an electrical problem with the thermostat. The latter issue will require professional attention.

7. No Cool Air

Your AC should generate a steady supply of cool air, so you know there’s a problem if it’s making warm air. Before you worry about a potential problem, take a look at your thermostat to make sure it’s on. If it’s off, switch it to the settings for “on” and “cool.” If your AC is still producing warm air, then there may be a problem with the thermostat or the unit itself. A technician will assess your system to figure out exactly what’s wrong and fix it for you.

8. Dirty AC Coils

Did you know that your AC can process up to 100,000 pounds of air every day? Unfortunately, dirt and debris will hitch a ride on that air and make their way into your AC unit. Some of this debris will become trapped on the AC coils and reduce the unit’s performance. You can try to clean them off yourself by gently spraying down the unit with a garden hose. One of our technicians would also be happy to clean off the coils during a routine maintenance appointment.

9. Dripping Water

Leaks are a common problem for air conditioners. Coolant, refrigerant, and water can all make their way outside of the unit when a pipe breaks. If you notice water dripping or puddling around the unit, there might be a clogged drain line. This pipe is normally open to allow water to flow safely from the AC’s evaporator coils. When the pipe is obstructed, water instead is trapped inside the unit and damages the electronics.

10. No Airflow

If you wave your hand in front of your AC vent while it’s running, you should feel a blast of cool air coming out. If you instead feel nothing or a very weak airflow, then there’s probably an issue with your AC. It’s common to experience clogged air filters during summer, but it’s also possible the fan is not working.

Your Summer AC Experts

There’s no reason you should have to suffer through the extreme heat of summer without a functioning air conditioner. Luckily, many of these issues can be prevented with a little vigilance. If you notice any of the issues above, let Hansen Air Pros know. We’ll send out a technician to make repairs as soon as possible. In the future, you can avoid most of these issues with annual maintenance. We’ll make sure your AC is cleaned, calibrated, and in peak condition for the hot months of summer. For top-notch heating and cooling repairs, replacements, and maintenance, look no further than Hansen Air Pros. Call us today to schedule your appointment!