As you may know, the springtime/summertime AC Tune-Up can significantly cut your cooling bills, as well as prolong the lifetime of your system, and therefore dramatically lessen the possibility of your system’s breakdown over the summer.
Everybody talks about the importance, but not many talk about what exactly the technicians do during these AC tune-ups. To fix this, we put together a list for you that breaks it down one item at a time, and how each one of the points mentioned below are related to extending the life and the efficiency of your AC system.
When done right, and by a professional, an AC tune up can:
- Reduce the risk of a breakdown (not eliminate however)
- Increase unit’s lifespan
- Lower your cooling bills
Lets begin, below you will find the checklist of all the things that the Nevada Residential Services technicians are looking at during Air Conditioning tune up. They are not only looking on the outside, they are also on the lookout of any signs of potential issues.
Nevada Residential Services 20 Point Air Conditioning Tune Up Checklist
1. Check the Outdoor Refrigerant Lines
Our technicians inspect the refrigerant lines for signs of physical damage. While something as simple as a stone ricocheting from a lawn mower is enough to damage it, a damaged refrigerant line can begin leaking. If too much refrigerant leaks out of your system, you won’t have any AC until it’s fixed.
2. Inspect the Refrigerant Line Insulation
If not insulated properly, the refrigerant line can condense and water will start dripping. On the outside it may not be a big deal, but on the indoor unit, dripping water can grow hidden patches of mold in your home.
3. Inspect the Indoor Unit Coil for Dirt
An important part of our AC Unit Tuneup is inspecting the indoor coil, ensuring it is clean and free of dirt and debris. In cases where dirt and dust get past the filter, they will settle on the coil, making your system less efficient. This can happen if filters are not replaced often enough.
4. Check the Outdoor Unit Coil
The whole outdoor unit of your HVAC system is essentially a set of coils, with a compressor inside which pumps the refrigerant, and a fan on top that helps with controlling the temperature of the system. Our technicians will inspect the coils to make sure there is no excess dirt around or on the coils. For homeowners who own dogs, we also make sure to inspect for any signs of dog urine on the coils, which does permanent damage to the coil and causes leaks in the system that cannot be repaired most of the time.
5. Inspect the Filter
Since filters are important to your own health and the health of your system, we make sure you’re using the right filter and you’re changing it regularly. If you aren’t using any special filter such as AccuClean (insert link here for accuclean) then you have to make sure that they are at least changed every 2-3 months.
6. Examine the Indoor Blower Motor
Our technicians examine the blower fan for dirt and dust that can make the fan less effective. This fan is responsible for all of the air circulation inside your house. It has two functions, it sucks the air through the filter, and then pushes chilled air back out of the vents. Dirty filters are #1 reason for blower motors to overheat and burnout!
7. Inspect the Overflow Safety Switch
The overflow safety switch is installed on your indoor unit, and is responsible for shutting down your system in case it senses that the condensation line is plugged, or the water isn’t draining properly. A faulty safety switch, or sometimes when it is missing completely from the system, puts you at a risk of a possible leak which if not caught right away will damage your ceilings, floors and everything around it.
8. Test the Motor Capacitors
Capacitors are small parts that are extremely important to proper functionality of the whole system. You have about 3 in your system, and if one of them fails, the whole system will be compromised. We check to ensure each capacitor in your system is up to date, and still has “juice” left in it. Faulty capacitors are also #1 reason for a repair call.
9. Inspect the Air Handler/Furnace for Leaks (The Indoor Unit)
As part of the tuneup, we make sure your air handler or furnace (depending on the type of system that you have) is sealed. Excessive air handler leakage will rob your system of its efficiency and proper operation. The system will work harder to compensate.
10. Check the Disconnect Box
The disconnect box is a safety shutoff box which cuts electricity to the unit. We inspect the inside of the disconnect box to ensure that there are no burnt wires due to bad contact. All the connections need to be tight and no wires should be hanging. The disconnect box should also be sealed with a clear silicone on the top and the sides as per the mechanical HVAC code (for safety reasons).
11. Access Refrigerant Caps
Sometimes a system can lose some refrigerant, because of a faulty core valve, or missing caps which act as additional safety net for the corevalves. We take a look to make sure your caps are not missing, and if make sure they are properly tightened.
12. Check the Thermostat
A thermostat is another vital part of your AC system. Even if the whole system is 100% functional, without a working thermostat you will have no way to control the system. It is worse than having a TV without a remote. At least the TV can be turned on by pushing a button. Air conditioners do not have this feature, therefore we check to make sure your thermostat doesn’t need new batteries, and make sure it is all wires correctly. you tell it to. We check the calibration to make sure it’s listening to your wall thermostat.
13. Look for Bug and Rodent Issues
Unfortunately, bugs and rodents enjoy building homes around the electrical compartments of air conditioners. Maybe they feel nice and cozy, we are not sure. However, we check to make sure there are no damaged wires or any insects like spiders around vital electrical connections.
14. Inspect the Fan Blade for Balance
On rare occasion, due to sudden stoppage of the condensing fan motor, the blades sitting on top can get out of balance. If the blades are off-balance, it will cause the unit to shake more than normal, resulting in cracked components — like refrigerant lines, as well as decrease the units efficiency (as the motor has to work harder to make up for the unbalanced blades), and simply create extra unwanted noise.
15. Check the AC Unit Platform/Pad
Simple but very important, we make sure the platform which your AC sits on is not damaged or crooked. It is recommended to make sure that the unit is leveled and doesn't fall through a damaged, or cracked pad.
16. Measure the AC Unit Amperage
Excessive amperage draw is an indication of possible issues with the compressor, motor or even the air flow. Measuring the amps gives us a good idea of the components condition. For example, if the amperage of your compressor is at its maximum, or even over the recommended reading, it is an indication that the compressor is working too hard, it is struggling, and this could be a bad sign. Same thing with the motor. The amperage should always be slightly below the numbers indicated on the component’s sticker.
17. Inspect the Reversing Valve (Heat Pump Systems)
Since some air conditioners also serve as electric heat pumps, one unit handles both the heating and the cooling. The reversing valve is what allows them to switch back and forth. If the valve fails, the AC fails. The air might still blow, but it won’t be cold. That’s why we ALWAYS inspect this crucial component.
18. Accurately Check the Refrigerant Levels
Refrigerant levels show up a lot in this AC tuneup checklist because they are crucial to the system’s operations. While many technicians from other HVAC companies check with an analog gauge, they can only show a range. We check your EXACT refrigerant levels, using an ultra-precise digital gauge. Refrigerant is what makes the cooling process possible within your system. Too low on refrigerant, or even too high on refrigerant, and your system will be less efficient, and in danger.
19. Check the Contactor
Contactor is what receives the signal from your thermostat and then tells the system to turn on, or off. Bad connections on the contactor, or burnt wires can break this communication between the two components, which leads to a system that will not turn on.
20. Measure the Temperature Split
An experienced technician can often determine whether the system is not working right simply by checking the temperature split. The temperature split is the difference between the temperature that is currently inside your home, versus the temperature that is blowing out of your vents. The split should be on average 15 degrees. If your temperature split is any less than that, it can indicate a few things. The system might be too old, or too small to produce cold enough air for the size of your home, or that is an issue with the system that prevents it from producing cooler air. This could be a restriction in the system or even a leak.
When to Schedule your AC Tuneup?
The best time to schedule your AC Tuneup is in the springtime, before the summer rush - when majority of breakdowns take place because the systems are working at their maximum capacity to keep us cool and comfortable inside our homes.
We created this list to educate you and help you understand what a proper AC tuneup consists of, and protect you from those companies that use the term “AC Tuneup” as a way to get inside your house and sell you new equipment, when all you might need is just a capacitor or not even that. We are not coming to sell you a new system unless that is what you called us for. We are coming to make sure that your existing system is ready for you to use this summer!
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