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Air Conditioning Repair and Installation Services: 101

Your AC unit is an essential part of your home. It keeps your family cool and comfortable during the hot summer months, and ensures that you can take in clean and contaminant-free air with each breath. When it operates efficiently, it can even help you save money on your power bill!

Of course, if you're having trouble with your air conditioning system, you could end up in a lot of stress and discomfort. Some byproducts of a broken or malfunctioning AC unit may include:

An uncomfortably hot living space
Too much or not enough humidity
Poor indoor air quality
Allergy flare-ups
High monthly energy bills

If you are dealing with any of these challenges, then you may be in need of AC repair and replacement services from a reputable HVAC company!

The following information covers some key maintenance tasks to keep your AC unit at peak performance for as long as possible, common issues that require repairs, and when you should consider a total replacement of your AC unit.
Let's dive in.

AC Servicing

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While AC repair and replacement services may be necessary in some situations, it's usually much better to perform regular maintenance on your unit before serious problems arise. Here are some key maintenance tasks that you or a qualified HVAC technician can undertake in order to keep your system running better and longer:

Changing the Air Filter

Okay, you may or may not need a technician to help you with this one. The fact is, checking and changing your A/C unit's filter on a regular basis (generally once a month) is easy to do, but has a huge impact on your system's efficiency and lifespan.

A new air filter will keep your indoor air quality high by trapping particles like dander and dust mites. When you replace the old filter with the new one, you also help to ease the load on your circulation system — meaning your unit will continue to run at high efficiency.

Keeping the Coils Clean

A/C units have two sets of metallic tubes, or coils, that work together to remove the hot air from inside your home: evaporator coils and condenser coils. Both coil types are critical to the functionality and efficiency of your system.

Over time, these coils may become coated with dust, dirt, mold, or even ice. If left unchecked, this gradual coating process will result in greatly decreased efficiency, and even system failure. For that reason, it's important to occasionally inspect the coils, vacuum off debris, and give them a thorough cleaning. If you are unsure how to perform this task yourself, then you should reach out to a qualified technician.

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Checking and Straightening the Fins

Both evaporator and condenser coils have "fins" (scale-like metal protrusions that help regulate air flow). Over time, these thin components can become bent or warped, resulting in insufficient airflow and decreased efficiency. It is important to regularly check these fins, and straighten them as needed. An HVAC professional has a specialized tool called a "fin comb" to accomplish this task.

Inspecting the Condensate Drain

Every A/C system produces a certain amount of condensation as it cools warm air. The condensate drain allows this condensation to efficiently drain outdoors. This ensures that your unit continues to function properly, and that your home doesn't experience moisture-related problems.

On occasion, it's important to examine your system's condensate drain to confirm that it is still draining enough water. Blockages can cause a host of issues and should be removed as soon as possible. An experienced HVAC tech can remove any obstruction that is preventing adequate drainage.

Inspecting the Blower Motor and Testing the Thermostat

The blower motor and thermostat work together to ensure that your unit functions properly without using unnecessary power. If your blower motor fails, then your unit will no longer be able to deliver cold air into your home as it should. If your system's thermostat is malfunctioning, then your air conditioning may not come on when you need it.

An inspection of these two components should be an essential part of any company's A/C servicing procedure.

Testing Refrigerant Levels

As it flows through the evaporator and condenser coils, refrigerant serves as both the liquid needed to cool down warm air and the gas that the condenser fan cools down to continue the cycle. If a unit's refrigerant level is low, then the entire system has to work much harder to pump warm air out of the house. For that reason, an A/C maintenance program from a qualified HVAC firm must include periodic refrigerant checks.

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AC Repairs

Even when a system has been well-maintained for several years, there are times when repairs are needed in order to fix a particular issue. Here are some common AC repair issues that may arise and what can be done to address them:

Dirty Filters

A dirty filter is one of the most common reasons why air conditioners don't work properly. One telltale sign that an air filter needs to be changed is if light can't pass through it. The remedy to this issue is simple: change your filter according to manufacturer instructions.

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Malfunctioning Thermostats

In order to engage your A/C unit at the right time, your thermostat must be activated, be clean on the inside, stay level, and, ideally, remain out of sunlight. If all of these conditions have been met and your thermostat is still not working correctly, then there may be a mechanical or electrical issue with its sensor that requires specialized repair.

Refrigerant Leaks

A refrigerant leak typically results in temperature fluctuations, and will eventually cause your A/C unit to stop working. You'll definitely need the repair services of a professional to fix this issue. Depending on where the leak is, the technician may need to perform extensive work just to reach the trouble area.

Inadequate Drainage

If the condensate drain line becomes clogged with dirt, lint, or other debris, then the drain pan will fill up and eventually overflow. This could cause serious damage to the A/C unit, as well as anything else near the pan. You may require the services of a professional repair technician to remove the blockage.

Tripped Breakers and Blown Fuses

Your A/C unit has breakers and fuses designed to protect the motor from overheating. If a breaker is tripped, or a fuse is blown, then it could result in the motor dying. When the repair technician examines the dead motor, he should also check all the breakers and fuses, too, and repair or replace them as needed.

Failed Capacitors

Your A/C system has two capacitors — the start capacitor and the run capacitor. The start capacitor basically provides an electro-magnetic "boost" of power that activates the motor, while the run capacitor delivers a series of smaller jolts to keep the motor running. If either of these capacitors fails, then your system won't operate efficiently, if at all. If you are experiencing any of the following problems, then you may need to have one or both of your capacitors replaced:

  • Your A/C unit won't turn on
  • Your A/C unit turns on very slowly
  • Your system shuts off prematurely
  • Your unit is not blowing cold air
  • There's a humming sound coming from your system

Worn Contactors

The contactors for your system's compressor, blower motor, and condenser fan motor are the components that create the electrical connection needed to activate these elements. If one or more of these elements won't activate, then the contactors may be worn, damaged, or otherwise obstructed. You'll need to contact an experienced HVAC technician to diagnose the problem and perform any essential repairs.

Bad Compressors

The compressor is what propels the refrigerant through the coils of your A/C system in order to perform its necessary heat exchange operations. If your unit's compressor is malfunctioning, or has failed completely, then your system cannot cool your home. In this type of situation, the HVAC technician on the job may have to not only replace your compressor, but also ensure that there's enough refrigerant in the system, and that there are no leaks that contributed to the old compressor's early failure.

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AC Replacements and Installations

If your AC unit has worked well for several years, then you'll probably want to stick with it for as long as possible and only perform repairs as needed. However, there may be compelling reasons for you to consider a full AC system replacement. Here are some factors that may help you decide whether it's best to keep your old unit, or purchase a new one:

New government regulations

If your unit is older than a decade, then it may not meet current standards or recommendations for efficiency set by federal or state agencies. In some cases, homeowners that purchase a new unit may receive a grant, rebate, or tax credit from the government.

Increased efficiency

While a new and more efficient A/C system will cost you money upfront, in the long run it could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your energy bills.

High repair costs

If your older unit is in constant need of repair, then it may make sense for you to replace it with a newer system. The cost savings that you'll receive from the absence of repair bills may offset any replacement costs that you incur.

Environmental considerations

Residential A/C systems that were built before 2010 use a refrigerant called R-22, a chemical that contributes to the erosion of Earth's ozone layer. In contrast, newer units are more eco-friendly, and follow recent EPA guidelines designed to reduce the harmful effect of refrigerants on the atmosphere.

When thinking about a full system replacement, it may be best to explore your options with local HVAC professionals that have experience in all phases of an air conditioning system's lifespan.

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The Replacement and Installation Process

If you decide to have your entire system replaced, what should you expect during the replacement and installation process? While each situation is unique, here are some common steps  that may occur:

Step 1

Your contractor will acquire a permit for the HVAC work from the local government.

Step 2

After obtaining the permit, the contractor will dismantle and remove your old AC unit.

Step 3

The contractor will either perform duct repairs, or install an entirely new system of ductwork, in preparation for the new unit's installation.

Step 4

The contractor will prepare the installation site to support the new unit, perhaps by setting up a concrete pad to serve as its primary foundation.

Step 5

Subsequently, the contractor will install the new unit at the site.

Step 6

The contractor will determine the optimal size for refrigerant, drain, and electrical lines, and install them accordingly.

Step 7

The contractor will connect the thermostat to your air conditioning system. (Typically he will use a new thermostat, although in some cases it is possible to use your existing component.)

Step 8

A vacuum will suck up any debris or contaminants from the refrigerant lines and infuse the system with an adequate amount of refrigerant.

Step 9

The contractor will turn the system on and perform a thorough inspection to ensure that everything is working properly.

How Ultimate Heating & Cooling Can Help

Whether you are in need of minor maintenance, significant repairs, or a complete replacement of your AC unit, it's important that you choose a reputable and experienced HVAC company to handle the job at hand. At Ultimate Heating & Cooling, Inc., our technicians are fully qualified to perform a wide range of AC-related tasks. These include:

AC servicing
AC repairs
AC replacement
and installation

We boast a team of NATE-certified HVAC technicians, and are a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer.

We proudly serve our neighbors in the Denver Metro Area.

At Ultimate Heating & Cooling,

we provide the ultimate in punctual service, high quality work, and customer satisfaction.
Contact us for all your air conditioning needs