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air conditioner troubleshootingAir conditioning problems can be inconvenient and uncomfortable even on mild days in Southwest Florida, but in many cases, the cause may be simple, such as airflow problems from a dirty filter or a compressor that overheats on an especially hot day. Before calling a professional, there are a few air conditioner troubleshooting tips that you should try first, possibly saving valuable time and money.

Check for Power

When the air conditioner will not turn on, make sure that the thermostat is set correctly and that it has power, replacing the batteries if necessary. If the thermostat is working, check for tripped breakers, and reset them, even if they are not tripped. This will often reset the control systems or safety systems. If the compressor has an overheat safety switch, reset it, as well.

Check for Airflow Problems

Poor cooling performance or frozen coils could be the result of airflow problems. Check for a dirty air filter and replace it if necessary. Check all vents and ducts for obstructions, such as furniture or curtains that block the vents, or items that have fallen into floor ducts. If the problem remains, check the evaporator and blower fan for dust or dirt accumulations, and carefully clean them with the power off.

Clean the Condenser

Poor cooling performance can also be caused by a dirty condenser outside. Make sure the area around the condenser is free of debris, such as tall grass or lawn furniture. Check the condenser coil for debris, such as leaves and grass, and clean it with a garden hose, if necessary. Make sure the fan spins freely and operates properly.

Clean the Condensate Drain

If you notice water leaking from the air conditioner or it will not turn on, make sure the condensate drain is clean. Some systems will shut down automatically if the drain is clogged. Use a shop vacuum or a thin wire to remove dirt and algae from the drain line.

For more air conditioner troubleshooting tips, talk to our professionals at Conditioned Air today. We have been serving homeowners throughout Southwest Florida since 1962.

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indoor allergensIndoor air pollutants like dust, mold spores, pet dander and dust mites can make your entire family uncomfortable, but especially those with allergies or asthma. With a bit of extra care and maintenance around your home, you can remove many common allergy triggers and prevent future accumulations.

Have Your HVAC System Serviced

Routine annual, or semi-annual, maintenance of your HVAC system, such as cleaning the evaporator coil, blower fan and air handler cabinet, can reduce the accumulation and distribution of allergy triggers, while also improving system efficiency and extending its lifespan. Between service visits, you should replace the air filter yourself monthly to minimize allergens and dust, and every few years, consider having the ducts cleaned to eliminate any residual accumulations.

Upgrade Your Air Filter

If your air conditioner or heating system has only a basic air filter, it may allow smaller contaminants to pass through. Consider upgrading to a filter with a higher MERV rating for improved air quality or, for the best air filtration, consider electrostatic or HEPA systems.

Control Humidity

Dust mites, mold and other allergens thrive in a moist environment. If your home is excessively humid, consider adding a dehumidifier to maintain humidity levels at 50 percent or lower, and make sure that your air conditioner is sized correctly for your home so that it can dehumidify properly.

Use Hypoallergenic Bedding

Use hypoallergenic mattress covers, sheets, pillows and pillow covers for each bedroom, as well as easily-washable blankets, and clean them weekly. Minimize clutter in the bedroom and use hardwood or vinyl flooring instead of carpet to prevent dust accumulations.

Clean Frequently

Sweep and mop hard-surface floors often, and vacuum carpets at least weekly with a machine that uses a HEPA filter to minimize dust. Dust often using a moist cloth or disposable wipes, and consider adding easily-washable slip covers to keep furniture clean.

Other Options

If allergens are still a problem in your home, consider installing a whole-home air cleaning or ventilation system.

 

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air conditionerAir conditioning systems are crucial to comfort in Southwest Florida, and whether you are installing a new system or having one repaired, it is a good idea to know a few air conditioning basics to simplify the process.

How an Air Conditioner Works

Refrigerant enters the evaporator coil indoors as a cool, low-pressure liquid, where it absorbs heat as a fan circulates indoor air over the coil. This boils the refrigerant, turning it into a gas. Exiting the evaporator, the refrigerant enters the compressor, which increases the pressure of the refrigerant, heating it further, and pumps it through the system.

The refrigerant then enters the condenser coil, where it loses heat and cools to a liquid, using a fan that blows outside air over the coils. Finally, the high-pressure, cool liquid flows through an expansion valve, reducing its pressure, and back into the evaporator to repeat the cycle.

Efficiency Rating

One of the most important air conditioning basics to learn about is the SEER or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This number indicates how much energy is used by the system over a cooling season, with higher numbers indicating more efficient performance and lower cooling costs. Typical models have a SEER of 13 to 16, while the best have a SEER of 20 or above.

Size

The cooling capacity of a central air conditioner is typically rated in tons, or the ability of the system to remove 12,000 British thermal units, or BTUs, of heat per hour. A 5-ton system, for example, would remove 60,000 BTUs of heat. Smaller air conditioners, like window units, may be rated in BTUs alone.

Types

Central air systems feature a condenser unit, a single evaporator and a system of ducts to deliver air. Ductless systems have an evaporator and air handler in each room, connected to a single condenser, eliminating the ducts and simplifying installation. Heat pumps are similar to central air systems, but can be reversed to provide heat, as well.

For more information on air conditioning basics, contact our team at Conditioned Air today. We serve Southwest Florida, from Bradenton to Marco Island.