Winter is a great time to be in Florida – just ask the thousands of visitors who come here every year from November through January! The cool, fresh air is a relaxing change of pace from the hot summer, and your air condition probably spends much of the time turned off.
In the mild Sunshine State winter, there are some steps you can take to make sure your air conditioning unit is in tip-top shape when you need it again.
Fortunately, it’s not hard to winterize your air condition unit. Unfortunately, many people living in Florida feel there is no need to do so. Even in Florida we still need to take care of our air conditioning unit during the winter months. The peak of the cold season in Florida is from mid-December to mid-March. Many times in Florida winter air conditioners could be shut off for weeks at a time. Before and during this time ensure that any debris is removed from around the condenser
Air Conditioner Filters
The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system’s efficiency significantly. With normal air flow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return ducts length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings, furnaces, or in the air conditioner itself. Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air conditioning systems filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions.
Air Conditioner Coils
The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.
Outdoor condenser coils can also become very dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.
You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Falling leaves and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris, and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.
The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a “fin comb” that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.
Occasionally pass a stiff wire through the unit’s drain channels. Clogged drain channels prevent a unit from reducing humidity, and the resulting excess moisture may discolor walls or carpet.
Hiring a Professional
When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, hire a professional service technician. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems with your air conditioning system.
The technician should:
- Check for correct amount of refrigerant
- Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
- Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
- Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
- Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
- Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure that the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
- Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
- Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
- Check the accuracy of the thermostat.
Taking care of your equipment at the end of the cooling season will prolong your equipment’s life as well as ensure peak performance when the next cooling season comes around.
Again the list of things to do and check
- Replace the filters with all cooling equipment in your HVAC system.
- Check the refrigerant charge to increase efficiency and minimize load. Look for any leaks.
- Check the system’s electrical connections.
- Assess the condition of all belts. If they are old or worn down, they should be replaced to prevent a larger breakdown.
- Clean the condenser. Biological growth and corrosion could cause fouling, which will affect the performance of your system.
- Review the entire system to make sure that airflow is adequate.
- Lubricate any moving parts- (like the motor) to enhance system performance.
- Clean the drain lines and evaporator coils.
- Make sure the thermostat is working correctly and accurately measuring temperature.
We hope that you get great service from your ac units all year long, but when there is a need for emergency cooling don’t sweat it, give us a call we are only a few hours to having you cool again.