You may be wondering what routine ac and heating maintenance your HVAC system needs.
You need to keep your HVAC equipment operating at tip-top energy efficiency to prevent costly breakdowns.
The top 10 are not in order of importance. Like most equipment that works together as a system if one part of your HVAC system isn’t working well or is dirty it will affect other parts of the system.
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Routine Services Your A/C And Heating Equipment Needs.
Here are the top 10
#1 Clean Evaporator Coil
Evaporator coils in the Slidell, LA area need to have routine cleanings and adjustments done in order to keep them operating at their peak performance.
The evaporator coil has refrigerant which is responsible for absorbing the heat and humidity in your home’s air.
When your evaporator coil becomes dirty from dust impacting between the fins it drastically reduces the ability for your air conditioning or heat pump system to operate how it needs to.
Many homeowners in Slidell. LA don’t notice a big difference in the performance of their Air Conditioner or heater until they have a major breakdown.
The reason people don’t notice a difference in the performance of the evaporator coil is because performance loss happens over time. The dust and moisture slowly clog the normal path the air would take allowing the refrigerant to absorb the heat.
Because the air cant go through the normal path the air will divert and the refrigerant doesn’t have an opportunity to absorb the heat as it should.
The vast majority of residential split system ac system evaporator coils in Slidell, LA homes are enclosed in a housing. For this reason, the evaporator coil is out of sight and out of mind and usually goes many years without being cleaned.
While performing routine maintenance I’m often asked how often should an evaporator coil in be cleaned. My answer is, it all depends.
I think at a minimum every home should have the evaporator coil professionally cleaned 1 time per year.
But if you live closer to Lake Pontchartrain, have multiple pets and an inadequate filter system you may need it cleaned multiple times per year.
#2 Clean Condenser Coil
If your house in Slidell has a typical split system then your condenser coil will be located outside.
When the refrigerant inside your evaporator coil absorbs the heat the refrigerant will become a vehicle and carry the heat and humidity outside to the condenser.
The condenser coil fins need to be free of debris in order for the air to pass over the coil and create the process where the heat that was absorbed by the refrigerant can be released outside.
Your condenser coil is subject to all the elements outside.
Every time the condenser turns on air is being sucked through the fins. The air will include dust, pollen, grass clippings and many other items that can and will get stuck in the fins.
I have found Leaves, dust, dirt, insects and dead animals inside the condenser coil.
By having the condenser coil professionally cleaned your condenser will be able to perform at its optimum performance keeping your utility bill low and extending the life of your system.
#3 Proper Refrigerant Amount
Having the correct amount of refrigerant in your air conditioner or heat pump system is very important for your system to operate at its full potential.
If you live in Slidell, LA then you know how hot and humid it can get. Many of the homes I service in Slidell don’t have adequate insulation in the attic or inside the exterior walls, so having your refrigerant level exactly where it needs to be is very important.
Having a professional service company with the correct equipment to accurately measure multiple data that affects the performance of your system is extremely important.
Many of the homes that are serviced here in Slidell are over-charged with refrigerant. Most often the system is over-charged because of technician error.
Many technicians will immediately suggest to a homeowner that the system needs refrigerant or as it’s commonly called by a brand name “FREON.”
This should not be the first recommendation given by professionals until they have checked many of the other factors that can contribute to the appearance of the refrigerant being low or high on gauges.
Technician’s readings can be misleading if the airflow is restricted in some way in the HVAC system.
For this reason, I find many of the systems I connect my gauges to overcharged.
Having an HVAC system over or undercharged is bad and will hinder the performance and life of the system.
If everything else is correctly sized and installed correctly on the system but, the refrigerant is just low then a leak test will need to be performed to ensure no leak is present.
The refrigerant is the vehicle that carries the heat outside, so when the refrigerant is low there is less of the vehicle to carry the required amount of heat.
Having a professional that has experience with mismatched equipment and undersized ducts and many other factors to determine if your system is accurately charged is so important.
#4 Cleaning the blower motor are routine services your a/c and heating equipment needs.
Having a clean blower motor on your system probably doesn’t seem very important but it is. When a blower motor hasn’t had a professional cleaning in a while. Dust will impact the high-velocity spinning blades and become impacted and hard.
After the dust impacts the blades it reduces the ability for the blades to catch and move the air correctly.
Even small amounts of impacted debris on the fan blades will reduce the life of the blower motor and reduce the ability of the blower fan to move air in the home.
Most blower motors require the removal of electrical wires from the control board and other mechanical things that must be removed in order to be properly cleaned.
This should be done by a professional that has worked on and has experience shutting off all the power and making sure to not damage or bend any of the components during removal.
#5 Primary & Secondary Drain Line
The primary and secondary drain lines should be routinely cleaned out and checked to ensure the free flow of the condensation coming from the evaporator coil.
When air flows past the evaporator coil it carries dust and other elements in that air. When that air hits the evaporator coil some of that debris gets in the coil and in the evaporator coil drain pan. Not the emergency pan but, the internal drain pan inside the evaporator coil enclosure.
Ague and other dust will collect in the drain pan and work its way into the drain line.
If a professional company is servicing your equipment they should be doing what’s required to ensure the drain pan and primary drain line don’t clog up.
Living in Slidell, La adds to the number of algae build in the evaporator coil. I have found that due to the proximity of Lake Ponchartrain routine maintenance on the evaporator coil and cleaning of the evaporator coil pan and drain lines are required.
Your system may have a few capacitors that need to be checked to make sure they are still strong enough and haven’t gone below the manufacture’s suggested replacement.
The capacitor will have a sticker on the side of it that tells you what size in Microfarads.
For example, if you have a dual run capacitor it may be a 40/5 MFD capacitor. The 40 MFD is used to assist the compressor and the 5 MFD is used to assist the condenser fan motor. The sticker will give an allowable % below the original rating that is allowable.
For example, if your capacitor is the 40/5 and you use the tester and it only reads 30/2 then the capacitor should be changed out. Even if the condenser is still operational you should change out the capacitor to prevent any of the other components from being damaged due to overload.
I prefer to test capacitors under load. Testing in that manner should only be done by a trained professional. However, there are capacitor testers that make it fairly simple for a mechanically inclined person who has the time to check the capacitor.
The indoor blower motor will often have a single run capacitor also. Sometimes they are fairly hard to access and may even require the blower motor to be removed in order to test it.
Having your capacitors checked and replaced before they completely go out is something that needs to be checked on a routine basis.
#7 Compressor And Motor Amps
Your compressor and blower motors have nameplates that list the amps and volts the motors should be operating under.
By checking the Amps routinely you can catch small problems before they get big and expensive.
When your service provider has a detailed history of what the amperage of your motors was from the previous visits they will know if something is causing a problem if the amps are getting higher than normal.
#8 Refrigerant leaks
Checking for refrigerant leaks can save a compressor from overheating and prevent costly refrigerant from leaking into the atmosphere.
Some leaks in Slidell, LA A/C systems start as small leaks from a loose fitting or an aged and rusted section of the evaporator coil.
By catching the leak early, you may prevent your system from freezing up and further damaging your system.
#9 The Contactor
On a routine check of the A/C system, you need to check the contactor to make sure it’s not sticking. Sticking can occur when the thermostat calls for cooling and the metal contacts are so damaged they overheat and stick together.
When they stick the condenser may keep running even when the inside has reached the set temperature inside. This can cause numerous problems and premature failure of the compressor.
#10 Return And Supply Static pressure are routine services your a/c and heating equipment needs
Checking the return and supply static pressure will reveal a lot of information about your Slidell, LA HVAC system.
If your static pressure hasn’t been checked before it may reveal inadequate return air-flow. The return air is where the air flows through the filter and gets conditioned by the A/C system.
If your HVAC system has inadequate return airflow then another return air will need to be added to allow your system to operate to its full potential. This isn’t 100% necessary however it is required if you want lower utility bills and to prevent excess wear and tear on your Slidell air conditioner and heater.
A static test may reveal the supply ducts are not large enough or they may be too large.
If your service provider is checking the static pressure often then you most likely already know if major issues exist.
By checking on a routine basis you will ensure the static numbers stay good by having a clean filter and system sized correctly and allowing the air to flow freely.
There are many other items that can be added to the list but I wanted to give you my top 10. Have your system routinely maintained by a qualified professional.
If this information provided any value please leave a comment below.
* WARNING! This post and information on this website are for trained and certified technicians only. It is for educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should anyone who is not qualified or have the required permits or licensing attempt to use any information in this post to try and repair an HVAC or electrical system on their own. The opinions and methods I use are my opinions and I give no guarantee of any type of outcome. In other words, if you are not a trained and certified technician you should not attempt any repairs on your own. You should hire a licensed professional to do the work.
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