They say knowledge is power, and that’s definitely true when it comes to your air conditioner. While challenging repairs are best left to professionals, it’s helpful to have a practical understanding of your air conditioner and how to solve everyday AC issues.
Learning how your AC works and the common problems it faces will enable 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 realizing when to reach out to a professional can help prevent small issues from escalating into catastrophic repairs.
Your Air conditioner is a fundamental 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 West Columbia if you're uncertain about any aspect of your air conditioning system’s operation or maintenance.
Here are a few of the frequent 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 works efficiently, and very well could extend the life of your unit.
The most effective step you can take on your own is to change the air filter in your air conditioner. The filter captures dust, pollen, pet hair and other debris, and removes those contaminants from the air circulating in your home. If your AC filter becomes clogged, the air conditioner has to work harder than it is supposed to in order to pull air through the filter. A clean filter removes the airborne debris while still allowing air to flow efficiently through the system.
Replacement filters can be purchased at most leading home improvement stores, hardware stores or can be bought from your local HVAC specialist. A good way to make sure you get the right filter is to look at your old one before you leave for the store, noting the size of the filter. If you’re not familiar with filters, it’s also a good idea to note the filtration level of the current filter if you are trying to buy something similar.
For thorough service of your air conditioner, contact the experienced professionals like the crew at Tri City Fuel & Heating to do scheduled maintenance on your AC. They’ll look over your system, clean or lubricate parts that need cleaning and look for worn-out parts and potential trouble.
2. How Do I Clean Air Conditioner Coils?
In addition to making sure your indoor air conditioner equipment is working efficiently, it’s also a good idea to tend to your outdoor unit. Cleaning the coils on the outside unit of your cooling system is a simple way to increase 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 to the outdoors. This lowers the temperature of the refrigerant, which then goes back in your home so it can take in more heat from the air inside your home. Cleansing the fins and the coils is a way to help them release heat more easily.
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) Take off the top of the outdoor AC so you can enter the interior of the unit. Then, being cautious not to pull hard on any cords or attachments, safely put the top to the side.
3) Put a cleaning solution on the fins, starting at the top and then working your way down. Commercial coil cleaners are available and commonly found in both the canned aerosol spray from as well as brands foaming solutions that are sprayed on with an attachment to your garden hose.
4) Follow directions on the product to apply. For most products, it's recommended that you spray the product on, let the cleaner soak in for a short period of time to loosen the grime and then carefully spray it off with a garden hose. Take care not to spray too hard, because that could ruin 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. However, industry experts say you should start thinking about air conditioner replacement after about 12-15 years.
One of the best ways to make the most of your system is through regular conditioner maintenance. Routine checkups from Tri City Fuel & Heating includes cleaning and inspecting the machinery, as well as replacing the filter and fixing any worn-out or broken parts. To keep your unit operating a long time, contact us today to schedule air conditioning maintenance in West Columbia.
4. What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Finding the correct sized air conditioner for your home is crucial for keeping comfort and efficiency. Here are some factors to consider when deciding what size air conditioner is right for your home:
- Square footage: The amount of space you have to cool is one of the biggest factors. More expansive spaces necessitate more cooling power.
- Home insulation: Well-insulated homes hold cool air better, which can reduce your cooling needs.
- Climate: If you reside in a hotter climate, you'll require a more powerful air conditioner compared to someone living in a cooler climate.
- Number of windows: Windows frequently let in heat, particularly when they're south-facing or not well-insulated.
- Number of occupants: More people in the house produce greater body heat, which could affect your cooling needs.
- Current HVAC system: The size and performance of your current system can provide a starting point for identifying what you need.
Given that the size of your air conditioner is so important to your home’s comfort, you will definitely want a professional opinion. At Tri City Fuel & Heating, we take the time to completely understand your family’s lifestyle, comfort needs and the many other factors such as your home’s layout and size. This attention to detail and commitment to customer service is why Tri City Fuel & Heating is known for excellent air conditioning installation in West Columbia.
5. How Much Does an Air Conditioner Cost?
While prices fluctuate depending on the brand of the unit and your home’s unique needs, a new AC generally costs between $5,000 and $12,500 to purchase and install. On the plus side, a benefit of air conditioning replacement is that new air conditioners are crafted to be exceedingly efficient, so they do more with less power when compared to older units.
The price of an air conditioner is impacted by several factors during the manufacturing process, such as the cost and availability of raw materials, manufacturing and labor costs in addition to federal regulations that require modifications to the design.
Know these are average costs and prices can vary. It's always helpful to get at least a few quotes from reliable HVAC companies before making a decision. If you’re interested in air conditioning replacement in West Columbia, reach out to Tri City Fuel & Heating. We can provide you with a complimentary estimate, describe the plan and help connect you with available rebates or discounts.
6. What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?
An AC freezing up can be caused by multiple factors, all of which boil down to the AC's inability to efficiently transfer heat. If your AC is experiencing issues causing it to freeze up, it is most likely time for air conditioning repair.
Here are some common causes of AC freezing up:
- Poor airflow: If the air isn't flowing easily through your AC system, it can't properly absorb heat. This could be due to a plugged air filter, obstructed return air ducts or a failing fan.
- Low refrigerant levels: If your air conditioner is starting to get low on refrigerant, it can grow too cold and freeze up. This is usually a consequence of leakages in the refrigerant lines.
- Frigid outdoor temperatures: Operating your air conditioner when it's really cold outside can cause the system to freeze. Most units aren't designed to work in temperatures of less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
- Mechanical failures: Malfunctioning thermostats, damaged blower motors and problems with the relay or control board can all contribute to an AC unit freezing up.
Tri City Fuel & Heating is the Trusted Source for Air Conditioning Service in West Columbia.
At Tri City Fuel & Heating, we will make your home a comfortable and pleasant place. Our skilled professionals are up-to-date on the latest industry training and trends, and are knowledgeable on a wide variety of systems. That’s why community members make us their first call for air conditioning repair in West Columbia and the surrounding areas.
If you’re seeking to upgrade or its time for a new unit, we’ve got you covered there too, with our top-notch air conditioning installation in West Columbia. No matter what, we can help you solve your cooling issues!
Call Tri City Fuel & Heating today at 803-265-4208 to schedule an appointment or no-cost estimate!