Modern air conditioners are built strong enough to endure snow, wind, heat, rain or bitter cold, what ever the weather in Lancaster, Ohio can dish out.
To keep it that way, your AC needs regular maintenance like all things mechanical. The filters, the coils, fins, hoses and all the rest must be kept in an optimal condition to help the whole unit run smoothly for its entire useful life. The condenser coil needs more attention since it’s exposed in the outdoor portion of your air conditioning unit, unlike the coil in the evaporator. The exposed condenser coil gets dirty due to airborne dust or nearby plants and trees. Anything coming in contact with the coil can have an insulating effect of sorts — dust particles, grease, dirt, soot, dry leaves, seeds, corrosion, bugs and even microorganisms like bacteria can be an impediment to the important heat transfer abilities of the unit — from the refrigerant to the outside air. That’s the basic job of the AC unit: to transfer heat from indoors to outdoors via the refrigerant, and these foreign materials can limit that ability.
The amount of refrigerant used in an air conditioning unit determines whether the makers would get the highest SEER level of efficiency or not–the lesser, the better. The units are designed in perfect balance, and so the slightest hindrance to the heat transfer usually conks out the balance and deteriorates the unit’s efficiency. If dust or dirt accumulates on the coils, the right amount of heat isn’t released, increasing the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant returning to the compressor. The compressor then stresses itself to work harder on the cooling of the “abnormal” refrigerant, drawing more amps of electricity. As a result, the cooling capacity of the air conditioner dwindles and the overworked mechanical parts wear out more quickly. A dirty coil simply boils down to three things: insufficient cooling, worn out machine parts and a higher cost.
Over time, the coils can get choked with seeds, dirt and other airborned debris, restricting proper airflow. If the airflow is impeded on a hot day, the head and cylinders of the compressor gets too hot. Next, the oil will start breaking down and fail to lubricate. This causes decay and allows contaminants into the air conditioning unit. When that happens, the pistons, rings and cylinders don’t function as well as they should, resulting in lower compression, leaking valves, and metal debris floating in the oil. The eventual result is total failure of the compressor. This happens almost daily in Lancaster.
Air conditioners function in a closed system. It is not at all an easy and simple procedure to replace the full lubricant. The oil used in air conditioning units is normally resilient but impurities in it or into the system and neglect accelerate the unit’s demise. The result is similar to driving a car without changing its engine oil for a long time. In an air conditioner, when the compressor stops working, there’s no alternative to replacement. This means opening the system, removing the refrigerant and the oil, and filtering dryers to tidy up the unit. Moisture and acid sets in as you open the system or when the system fails. This is a very time-consuming and expensive process. And the worst news is that, many air conditioners, at this point, are not in a condition that’s worth the cost of repair.
The advantages of cleaning the coils regularly (at least annually), especially for homeowners in central Ohio:
For all these reasons, we recommend our customers in Lancaster and surrounding areas keep their air conditioner condenser coils free from dust and dirt with the help of an air conditioner cover when you’re not running the AC: during the winter months or when you go on vacation for an extended time.
Covering your central air conditioning unit protects the painted cabinet from the weather, and keeps the rain, snow, ice, and other precipitation from getting inside the top and side vents. More importantly, covering it up during the off season keeps leaves, small tree branches and other debris out of the moving components.
The biggest challenge of using a cover on your air conditioning unit is condensation. If you cover the entire cabinet from top to bottom, moisture can easily become trapped between the cabinet and the cover, and get trapped inside the AC unit itself, resulting in moisture, leading to rust that will corrode and permanently damage the unit. The trapped moisture can also cause mold and mildew to form. Using a full cover on your central air conditioning unit can also provide a place for insects and vermin to nest and live, so beware. Never use a piece of plastic, a plastic garbage bag, or a plastic tarp to cover the AC unit. Instead, buy a cover that’s made from a “breathable” material. Leave the sides open so the air can properly circulate around the unit. Many popular covers include built-in vents for air circulation.
If your system should get clogged, we recommend either performing simple maintenance yourself using a foaming cleaner like this (available at most big box stores) or call us to arrange a professional maintenance appointment. Don’t forget that a well-maintained AC can help you save up to 30% annually on your energy bills. We recommend an annual maintenance visit from a professional, especially if you don’t enjoy doing the work yourself. We offer a $30 discount coupon for an AC System Tune Up, so it’s affordable… and a great investment in your Lancaster home’s AC system. We’re only a few minutes away in Pickerington, so don’t hesitate to call.
(please note: links are provided to outside sources as examples of products mentioned in the article. We are not endorsing these products or recommend their use.)