They say knowledge is power, and that’s certainly the truth when discussing your air conditioner. While challenging repairs are best left to specialists, it’s helpful to have a practical understanding of your air conditioner and how to solve general AC issues.
Understanding how your AC works and the typical problems it faces will allow you to handle simple problems without needing to call an HVAC specialist every time. This not only saves you cash on minor service calls, but understanding when to contact a professional can help prevent small issues from escalating into catastrophic repairs.
Your Air conditioning unit is an important element of your home comfort. Because of that, you should always err on the side of caution and call a NATE-certified professional for air conditioning repair in Lancaster if you're not sure about any aspect of your air conditioner's operation or maintenance.
Here are several common questions people ask our experts about their air conditioners:
1. How Do I Clean an Air Conditioner?
Cleaning an air conditioner is an effective way to make sure it runs efficiently, and potentially could extend the life of your unit.
The most effective thing you can do on your own is to replace the air filter in your air conditioner. The filter catches dust, pollen, pet hair and other debris, and removes those contaminants from the air circulating throughout your home. If your AC filter becomes clogged, the air conditioner has to work harder than it really should in order to pull air through the filter. A clean filter removes the airborne debris while still enabling air to flow efficiently through the system.
Replacement filters can be purchased at most major home improvement stores, hardware stores or can be ordered from your local HVAC specialist. A good way to make sure you get the correct filter is to look at your old one before you go shopping, jotting down the size of the filter. If you’re not familiar with filters, it’s also a smart idea to note the filtration level of the current filter if you are hoping to buy something similar.
For detailed service of your air conditioner, contact the seasoned professionals like the crew at Fairfield Heating & Cooling to do routine maintenance on your AC. They’ll inspect your system, clean or lubricate parts that require attention and look for worn-out parts and potential problems.
2. How Do I Clean Air Conditioner Coils?
In addition to ensuring your indoor air conditioning unit is operating efficiently, it’s important to tend to your outdoor unit. Cleaning the coils on the exterior unit of your air conditioner is an easy way to boost its efficiency and can extend the life of your entire system.
The coils, which have extensions called fins, are used to release heat from the refrigerant into the cooler air outside. This lowers the temperature of the refrigerant, which then goes back inside your home so it can take in more heat from the air within your home. Cleaning the fins and the coils will help them release heat more effectively.
To clean your air conditioner’s fins and coil:
1) First, shut down power to the outdoor unit. It’s best to flip the power switch off, as opposed to turning the thermostat off.
2) Lift off the top of the outdoor AC so you can access the insides of the unit. Then, being cautious not to strain any cords or attachments, safely put the top to the side.
3) Put a cleaning solution on the fins, beginning at the top and moving down. Commercial coil cleaners are available and commonly found in both the canned aerosol spray from as well as in the form of foaming solutions that are sprayed on with your garden hose.
4) Follow directions on the product to apply. For most brands, it's suggested that you spray the product on, let the cleaner soak in for a short period of time to dissolve the grime and then gently spray it off with a garden hose. Take care not to spray really hard, because that could damage the coils or fins!
5) Secure the top back on the unit and then wait for the components to dry before turning it back on.
3. How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?
The life span of an air conditioner depends on the type of unit, its quality, if maintained and how often it's used. That said, industry experts say you should start looking into air conditioner replacement after about 12-15 years.
One of the best ways to get the most mileage out of your air conditioner is through AC conditioner maintenance. Maintenance service from Fairfield Heating & Cooling features cleaning and inspecting the machinery, as well as putting in a new filter and repairing any worn-out or broken parts. To keep your unit operating a long time, reach out to us today to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Lancaster.
4. What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Picking out the correct sized air conditioner for your home is crucial for achieving comfort and efficiency. Here are some factors to consider when deciding what size air conditioner is right for your home:
- Square footage: The size of the space you want to cool is one of the biggest factors. More expansive spaces require more cooling power.
- Home insulation: Well-insulated homes hold cool air better, which could reduce your cooling needs.
- Climate: If you live in a hotter climate, you'll need a more powerful air conditioner compared to someone living in a cooler environment.
- Number of windows: Windows can let in heat, especially when they're south-facing or not well-insulated.
- Number of residents: More people in the house produce greater body heat, which may impact your cooling needs.
- Current HVAC system: The size and productivity of your current system can provide a jumping off point for deciding what you need.
Given that the size of your air conditioner is so critical to your home’s comfort, you will probably want a professional opinion. At Fairfield Heating & Cooling, we take the time to thoroughly understand your family’s lifestyle, comfort needs and the many other variables such as your home’s design and size. This attention to detail and dedication to customer service is why Fairfield Heating & Cooling is known for excellent air conditioning installation in Lancaster.
5. How Much Does an Air Conditioner Cost?
While prices vary depending on the brand of the unit and your home’s unique specifications, a new air conditioner generally costs between $5,000 and $12,500 to purchase and install. The good news is that new air conditioners are designed to be exceedingly efficient, so they do more with less power when compared to older units.
The cost of an air conditioner is influenced by several factors during the manufacturing process, such as the cost and availability of raw materials, manufacturing and labor costs along with federal regulations that require modifications to the design.
Know these are average costs and prices can differ. It's always a good idea to get several quotes from trusted HVAC companies before making a choice. If you’re interested in air conditioning replacement in Lancaster, reach out to Fairfield Heating & Cooling. We will schedule an appointment to provide you with a no-cost estimate, explain the procedure and help connect you with available rebates or discounts.
6. What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?
An AC freezing up can be brought on by multiple factors, all of which boil down to the AC's inability to efficiently transfer heat. If your unit is having issues causing it to freeze up, it is more than likely time for air conditioning repair.
Here are some typical triggers for AC freezing up:
- Poor airflow: If the air isn't flowing correctly through your AC system, it can't properly absorb heat. This could be due to a dirty air filter, something stopping air from flowing through the return air ducts or a failing fan.
- Low refrigerant levels: If your air conditioner is running low on refrigerant, it could grow too cold and freeze up. This is frequently a consequence of leakages in the refrigerant lines.
- Cold outdoor temperatures: Running the air conditioner when it's too cold outside can cause the system to freeze. Most units aren't designed to operate in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
- Mechanical failures: Malfunctioning thermostats, damaged blower motors and issues with the relay or control board can all play a role in an AC unit freezing up.
Fairfield Heating & Cooling is the Trustworthy Source for Air Conditioning Service in Lancaster.
At Fairfield Heating & Cooling, we are focusing on making your home a comfortable and enjoyable place. Our qualified specialists are up-to-date on the latest industry training and trends, and are experienced on a wide variety of systems. That’s why community members make us the first choice for air conditioning repair in Lancaster and the surrounding cities.
If you’re planning to upgrade or its time for a new air conditioner, we’ve got you covered there too, with our top-notch air conditioning installation in Lancaster. No matter what, we can help you solve your cooling issues!
Call Fairfield Heating & Cooling today at 740-331-4331 to schedule an appointment or free estimate!