HVAC units play a major role in ensuring comfort within your home, especially in South Florida. As such, it is important to ensure that they are in good working condition especially during summer when the temperatures can soar. The best way to determine how your system is working is to evaluate the level of comfort.
Remember, air conditioning units are not designed to last forever. The average lifespan of a HVAC unit is 12 years. Unfortunately, they tend to fail when you cannot do without them. Even then, not every malfunction is considered major as there are minor nuisances that are easy to fix at a small fee. That is why it is imperative to ensure proper maintenance of your HVAC system before the onset of summer. If you do not know where to begin, here are some summer AC maintenance tips to take into consideration:
WARNING SIGN #1: MY AIR CONDITIONING UNIT WON’T TURN ON
Possible Cause: Failure of the HVAC unit to turn on may be due to incorrect adjustment of the thermostat. It is also likely that power is not reaching your AC unit.
The Fix: To correct this, always ensure that the thermostat is set to cool or AC. In addition, check to see that the temperature setting is accurate and the battery is fresh. You could also check the circuit breaker because in some instances, it may be that the fuse has tripped.
WARNING SIGN #2: I AM NOT AS COMFORTABLE AS I WAS LAST YEAR
Possible Cause: Proper airflow guarantees your comfort. Therefore, if you are not comfortable then your airflow could be having issues.
The Fix: Changing the filter is a sure way fix. This should be done as part of your regular maintenance. Generally, the filter should be changed every 30 – 60 days depending on the number of people in the house and the presence of pets. In addition, your unit should be 24 inches away from any form of obstruction to the cold air returns.
Cost: Replacing of the filter costs between $5 and $20 depending on the type of filter used.
WARNING SIGN #3: YOUR UTILITY BILLS ARE ABNORMALLY HIGH
Possible Cause: When your operating costs spike, it may be a sign that your air conditioning unit is inefficient. Besides a dirty filter, a choked condensing coil is the most probable reason for this. The coil, which has multiple cooling fins like those of a car radiator is on the outdoor unit which can accumulate debris and dust.
The Fix: Call up an air conditioning expert for a tune up.
Cost: $75 to $150
WARNING SIGN #4: YOUR HVAC UNIT IS MAKING WEIRD NOISES DURING STARTUP AND OPERATION
Possible Cause: If your HVAC is buzzing, rattling or ticking, the cause might be a loose screw. However, in some cases, the cause may be much more serious like a bent fan blade on the outside or a broken blower motor on the inside.
The Fix: In cases where the screw is loose, it can be fixed by simply tightening and lubricating it. If this does not work then you can replace the fan blade or fan motor with a new one.
Cost: $75 to $150 to cater for inspection as well as tune up while replacing your blower motor may require some additional costs.
WARNING SIGN #5: THE AC SHUTS OFF BEFORE OR LONG AFTER I AM COMFORTABLE
Possible Cause: The most common cause of this is improper thermostat placement. In addition, if the unit is directly under the sun, near a hot oven or too close to a register, then you may experience this. A relocation is also likely to see you spend more time there whereas the thermostat is not.
The Fix: Relocating the thermostat is recommended
Cost: Free, if you are handy or are keen on using the same unit. A new programmable thermostat will cost $250 or so while you will pay an additional cost for the installation electrician.
WARNING SIGN #6: THERE IS A PUDDLE OF WATER NEXT TO MY FURNACE
Possible Cause: The unit usually generates moisture in the form of condensation during normal operation. This water collects then collects in a pan before flowing out in a line either on the condensate sump basin or the floor drain. Thus, when the water accumulates it is a sign of a disconnection or blockage of the tube.
The Fix: It would benefit you to inspect the tube for possible clogs, crimps, and disconnections. In addition, ensure that the sump pump is in good working condition to handle the water that flows into the sump basin.
Cost: Cleaning the blockage is free. Replacing the tube would cost $20-$60 while a new condensate sump pump would cost $40 to $150.
WARNING SIGN #7: THE AIR COMING OUT OF THE REGISTERS DOES NOT FEEL AS COLD AS IT USED TO.
Possible Cause: The refrigerant lines are not properly insulated.
The Fix: Two copper refrigerant lines connect the indoor system and the outdoor unit. This should be covered using insulating sleeves. In addition, a recharge of the refrigerant may be required.
Cost: The insulating sleeves may cost $5 while you may pay up to $150 to recharge the system.
WARNING SIGN #8: MY AC UNIT REFUSES TO KICK ON AT ALL.
Possible Cause: The compressor is burnt-out
The Fix: A failed compressor stalls the operation of the unit. Thus, this fix is costly as it involves the replacement of equipment that includes a number of various small parts, labor, and new Freon.
Cost: The cost of replacing the compressor will be anywhere between $600 and $1900. It may be wiser to consider replacing the air conditioner instead especially if it is more than 8 years old or if repairing would cost more than 50% of the price of a new unit.
Besides the AC maintenance tips discussed above, it is important to keep in mind that air conditioners must be maintained regularly to ensure they are operating efficiently without spiking bills or making your home uncomfortable.
Feel free to always call us for any questions or concerns you have about AC Repair, Service, or Maintenance! (561) 529-6262