As the summer hits its stride and the weather proceeds to heat up, millions of people will find their air conditioners swiftly climbing the ranks to become their household’s most indispensable appliance. The sweltering heat of summer, especially if coupled with humidity, can be unbearable without an AC to tide you over.
But as your AC use climbs, naturally, the stress placed upon it will also climb. And that will increase the likelihood of some kind of breakdown. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re stranded in your own home on a sweltering day. So subjecting your AC system to some regular maintenance cannot come recommended strongly enough.
Plus there are other complications or challenges to consider too. Maybe you’re a handyman who loves to handle home repairs. Using nothing but a little elbow grease and your own ingenuity. But even if you’re generally skilled with appliances, we really advise against poking too deeply into your system on your own. For serious repairs and tune-ups, a trained professional should always be in order. But even so, there are a few things you can do on your own to keep your system running.
And of course, the complications don’t end there. Perhaps the main reason why handling every level of maintenance and repair on your own is not a good idea is that modern AC systems typically don’t just stand on their own. They are but one component of a broader and more complex HVAC system that ties in with the heating and ventilation systems in your home. One wrong move on your AC could have ripple effects that won’t become evident until the seasons change.
But all of this complexity shouldn’t worry you. JRH Enterprises has a fleet of skilled and knowledgeable HVAC technicians. They’re trained to tackle any aspect of HVAC service, from general maintenance and installation to various sorts of heating & cooling solutions. And we operate all throughout northeastern Ontario and the Kawartha Lakes region.
So, let us give you the rundown on Air Conditioners and when it’s time to call for AC repair. Let us tell you about how they integrate into your home’s broader HVAC system. We’ll also show you how to distinguish the HVAC maintenance that you can do yourself from the sort that calls for a trained professional.
Air Conditioners: When Is It Time to Repair Them?
Unless you live in an igloo smack-dab in the middle of Antarctica somewhere, the value of having an air conditioner during the summer months should be pretty obvious to you. If it gets hot enough, you might melt without one! But nothing last forever, and without regular maintenance, your system could break down even faster than usual.
Here are a few signs that your Air Conditioning system might be due for some maintenance:
- Does your system not cool a room like it used to? This is probably the most obvious sign that something is wrong. Though this issue can have many possible causes, when you notice it, you should take a look at your AC.
- Bad odours are another clear sign that something is wrong. An AC passes air constantly and makes use of special coolant to work its magic and cool incoming air. That means that some amount of moisture will be present in the system. Microbes of various kinds might be attracted to this moisture and decide to invade and make a mess of your machine. A foul odour is usually the result, and the remedy is a thorough cleaning. If the problem is really bad, you may need to replace the system outright, which is why its best to catch it early. That’s exactly the sort of thing that periodic maintenance is designed to prevent.
- Poor air flow is almost always an indicator of clogged ducts, though since your AC is only one part of your HVAC system, this could also be a sign of a bad filter, a compressor issue or debris buildup in some other part of the system. If you notice this problem, don’t let it fester.
- Unusual noises can be signs of an especially dire problem. A buzzing or rattling might mean that some bolt or other part is loose and needs to be tightened. A grinding or whistling noise is almost always a sign of something much worse.
- Water leaks are another problem to look out for. As mentioned, an AC uses liquid coolant to perform its primary function. But none of this stuff should every leak out. If it does, you’ve got a problem. The same is true if you find water pooling or condensing on your system.
How This All Ties Into Your HVAC System
As mentioned, air conditioners use coolant to cool incoming warm air. They generally do this by passing coolant though both an evaporator and a condenser. The evaporator takes in air from outdoors, moves it through ducts and passes it over evaporator coils, which cool the air. The air and the coolant both become water vapour. Which is then moved to a condenser, which returns the coolant to liquid form and turns the remaining water vapour to cool air. Lastly, the cooled air is sent out into your home.
Air Conditioners therefore have many moving parts. In fact, since evaporators are often indoors and condensers are often outdoors, they are often part of a larger HVAC system. Which can include furnaces, fireplaces and ventilation systems. Another of the above problems with your AC could also affect the other part of your HVAC system. Thus, all of these components need regular maintenance work done on them.
DIY vs. Calling a Pro Regarding Air Conditioners
So, now that you know what to look for to find out when repairs might be necessary and you see how an HVAC system fits together, what should you do when you detect issues? Which repairs can you handle on your own, and which ones require trained assistance?
- As a general rule, HVAC installation should be left to the pros. We’ve only discussed the AC system in any detail, but the heating and ventilation systems have similarly complex interactions among their many moving parts. Meddling with all of these without knowing what you’re doing can have severe consequences.
- A further general rule is that you can do simple HVAC maintenance tasks on your own. But anything complex requires a pro. By “simple,” we mean things like cleaning out your air ducts if they happen to be clogged. Or just cleaning or inspecting your system for debris in general.
- If you notice that your AC is not using its coolant properly or that your thermostat is not regulating your HVAC system properly, call a technician immediately. Problems like this require a fairly special set of skills to resolve.
- You should replace your AC air filters about every month or so during the months when the AC is in continuous operation. This is something that many can do on their own. But of course, our technicians would be happy to help you in this area as well.
- The most important thing that you can do is schedule regular HVAC service. Annual checkups from pros are highly recommended. Even if you don’t detect any problems with your system. Some problems may be hidden from view, and the sooner they are found, the better. Bear in mind that maintenance cost far less than replacement and that without maintenance, you may be forced to resort to replacement.
You can learn all about JRH’s general HVAC installation and maintenance services and heating & cooling solutions here. And if you need more information about about our AC repair and installation specifically, we encourage you to visit this page.
As the summer approaches, the Original Flame and its HVAC maintenance arm, JRH Enterprises, stands at the ready to assist you with whatever you need to make your home comfortable — wether at the apex of summer or in the dead of winter.
Learn more about us and our many heating & cooling solutions here.