As we roll into the hottest months of the year, right at the top of your checklist should be making sure your air conditioner is in tip top shape. Perhaps one of the worst feelings is finding out in the middle of summer you’ll be stuck without AC. If your AC is in need of repair, the best policy is to let a Houston AC expert, Air Team Ltd handle it.
Maintenance is your first line of defense when it comes to air conditioner repair. Surprisingly, there are a few things you can do on your own, before calling in a technician. An air conditioner’s filters and coils require regular maintenance in order for the unit to function effectively throughout the years of service.
The most important daily task to maintain performance is to replace the filters. Clogged, dirty filters block airflow and reduce efficiency enormously. Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
An air conditioner’s evaporator and condenser coil collect dirt and debris that need to be cleared away by hand. A clean filter will prevent the evaporator coil from soiling as quickly, however, over time it will still become dirty. The dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To prevent this, check your evaporator coil yearly and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become dirty. Minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves, and lawn mower are all potential sources of debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming back foliage at least two feet to allow for adequate airflow are all things you can do to help keep your coils cleaner.
Don’t forget to schedule your air conditioner’s springtime maintenance. This will ensure that when those hot summer months roll around, your air conditioner will be in tip top shape and ready to handle the worst of Houston’s heat and humidity. It will also make sure that you won’t have any extra little surprises arise on the hottest of days. There’s nothing worse than an AC emergency in the dead heat of a Texas summer.
During an AC tune-up, your expert Air Team Ltd technician will check the following things:
- Check the condenser unit. After the cooler months, your AC’s condenser coils become clogged with leaves and other debris. Damage to the coils can also occur during strong storms. Your technician will check your unit’s coils for damage and clear away any unwanted debris.
- Will also check the aluminum fins for corrosion.
- Inspect the wiring and electrical. Unfortunately, mice and other rodents take shelter in AC unit wiring during cooler months. This makes it important to check for signs of a nest in the wiring, which could be an indication of further damage such as burnt wires, loose connections, or electrical shorts.
- Check refrigerant levels. Low refrigerant levels could be an indication of a leak. Before adding more refrigerant levels the leak must be identified and repaired.
- Clean drain lines, evaporator coils, and the blower fan. During cooler months, mold, mildew, dust and dirt can block drain lines, blower fans, and evaporator coils. A technician will remove instances of debris found and clean these elements to ensure proper drainage and airflow.
- Replace filters. The quality and type of the filter determines how often it needs to be changed. Fiberglass and charcoal filters need to be changed monthly, while pleated filters only need to be changed once every three months. Your filter may or may not need to be changed at the time of your tune-up, and this may be an additional charge to have the technician do this for you, but they will check it for you.
There are certain circumstances under which you should always opt for repairing your air conditioner. One of which, of course, is if your technician spots any trouble during your routine tune-up. Following the advice of your technician ensures you won’t have any of those emergencies during the summer.
Another circumstance under which you should always opt for repair of your AC, versus replacement, is if your air conditioner is under 10 years old. There are very few occasions when you should replace an AC unit that is under 10 years old. Instead, opt to repair it. The exceptions are catastrophic failure or if the unit is out of warranty. Even under these conditions, do your research. Make sure you have the opinion of a trusted technician, and that your unit does not need instead a simple repair.
When you do opt for repairs, remember to call a trusted vendor who is familiar with AC repair in Houston. Someone who is local to your area will also be familiar with the potential issues you could be facing, specific to your area. AIRTEAM has been satisfying customers in air conditioning repair in Houston for over 25 years and has the experience to handle whatever repairs your air conditioner might be facing.
There are situations under which you should definitely consider replacing your air conditioner.
The first situation is if your air conditioner is over 15 years old. The typical lifespan of an air conditioner is around 10-15 years, so if your AC is acting up and it’s over 15 years old, the better option might be replacement.
At around fifteen years, air conditioners generally start to break down more often. Did you just have it serviced last fall and this spring its broken again? If your air conditioner is breaking down more and more frequently, it’s likely a more viable option to replace it than to continue paying for repairs.
Also, the efficiency of the A.C starts dropping, and your Utility Bills Rising,
Some math that can help:
A.C system 10 Years Old will need repairs averaging about $2,000.
With a new system your Utility Bills will give savings averaging $2,000.
Peace of mind with a 10 years warranty on parts and 2 or 10 years warranty on Labor.
The second scenario under which you should definitely consider replacing your air conditioner is when the cost of repairs starts to rival the cost of replacement. A new air conditioner will cost around $5,000 to $7,000, depending on the brand or unit chosen, and based on your location. This does not include the cost of new ductwork, etc.
The third situation under which you should replace your air conditioner is when your energy bills continue to rise. This is, of course, assuming your energy company has not raised their rates. This situation is most likely to occur when you are still nursing an AC unit with repairs when it is well past its replacement date.
AC repair should be a top priority as we creep into these warmer months in Houston. Maintenance should always be on your calendar, whether it’s time to call for your annual tune-up or perform some monthly home maintenance. If it’s time for AC repairs, don’t wait. Summer is the most challenging time in Houston to get a professional out for a visit, so the earlier the better. If you are leaning toward the replacement end of the spectrum, refer to our checklist of scenarios under which replacement is appropriate. Whatever your situation, the AC experts at AIRTEAM can help you through it.