In the summer months, no one wants to be caught without an air conditioning system, so it’s a good idea to see that it is in good working order before you actually need it. Though there are some things you may feel comfortable attempting on your own, such as changing the filter at least once a month to maintain good air flow while reducing pollen and dust, it is also necessary to keep the condenser free of grass, leaves or anything else that will restrict the air flow. Blocked air flow causes the system to work harder, increases operating costs, and reduces the motor life of the compressor.
There are other air conditioner repairs that may better be left to a professional. It’s a good idea to have your air conditioner checked by a qualified ac contractor now to be sure you will be cool and comfortable in the heat of the summer months. As much as people enjoy the beautiful outdoors, having a cool indoor place to escape the heat is a must.
One of the most important things your ac contractor will check is if your air conditioning unit has enough refrigerant. They can do this by measuring the warm return air entering the evaporator coil and the coil discharge air entering the house. If there is not a great enough difference between the two temperatures, your system may need to be professionally recharged. It can also mean your compressor may not be working efficiently.
They will probably clean the coils and check that the coil fins are straight to be sure that the air can circulate efficiently. They will also want to see that that the belts on the condenser and the fan are not frayed, loose or showing other signs of wear. If the condensing unit fan is not working the compressor itself may shut down or even be ruined by overpressure or high temperature. If it is necessary to replace a belt, an ac contractor will know the proper tension to place on the belt to have it function correctly without over tightening it, which could cause damage to the component.
Something else your air conditioner contractor can do is to check for tears in the insulation covering the cool line, as its job is to absorb hot indoor air and release it outside, so it defeats the purpose if it is allowed to absorb the hot outdoor air.
A few measures you can take to help keep cooling costs down are to keep windows and blinds closed during the day, caulk any air leaks around windows and doors and try turning the thermostat up a degree or two.
Thankfully, we have come a long way since the basic concept of air conditioning began in ancient cultures like Rome, where aqueducts were used to circulate water through the walls to help cool homes. It was the 1920’s before air conditioning as we know it was introduced. Until it became more prevalent, the hottest areas of the United States were more sparsely populated. If not for air conditioning, many of the largest cities would not exist.
Every year, about 1,400 people in Arizona suffer from serious heat strokes and other heat related injuries, so severe that they are admitted to the e.r. The average cost per-person for hospital treatment of a heat related illness in Arizona was about $8000 dollars leading to $11,000,000 dollars in treatment costs. And worse still, on average, between 30 and 80 Arizona residents die from heat related illnesses every summer. More than 70% of these hospitalizations and deaths are males.
All this makes getting your home and air conditioning unit ready for summer a small price to pay!
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