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Q & A: Expert Air Conditioner Maintenance Advice

 |  Air Conditioning, Blog

Your air conditioner can take a lot of hits over the course its life. This is especially true in a climate like ours, with its high heat, winds, dust storms, monsoon rains, and even hail the size of golf balls. Arizona may be the only state in the nation where air conditioning is a necessity during the spring.

Arizona residents, therefore, always have a lot of HVAC questions. In Arizona, having an air conditioner that’s constantly running can shorten its lifespan and wear down its operating components. That’s why it truly makes sense for Arizona homeowners to have an air conditioner maintenance agreement; the possibility of an air conditioning system failure is highest in the summer months.

Below are some of the more frequent questions that we hear:

Q: Why is my AC system freezing up?

Answer: If you notice your AC freezing up, the most likely culprits are a dirty filter, low refrigerant, or a dirty evaporator coil. Let’s look at all three of these culprits.

  1. Dirty filter: Dirty filters make AC units work much harder to do the cooling job. If you notice that the filters are dirty, replace them with a new filter or clean them using a soft brush or vacuum. After cleaning them, you can turn the system off and wait for it to thaw before turning it back on. Alternatively, you can speed up the process of melting the ice off the indoor coil by turning the indoor fan “on” while the system is off.
  2. Low refrigerant: In most cases, freezing is caused by low refrigerant charge. Leaks in refrigerant lines or coils are very common. Other causes could be friction from piping rubbing together, weak solder joints, loose fittings, open valves or vibrating objects. If you’re leaking refrigerant, you should find and repair the source of the leak before adding additional refrigerant. Check the refrigerant piping for signs of leaks and tighten the access valves and any other loose fittings. Depending on how old the heating and cooling system is, you may opt to have it replaced before performing any major repairs.
  3. Dirty evaporator coil: Over time, evaporator coils get clogged with dirt. Dirt build-up causes a reduction in airflow and you may not realize it until the system freezes up. You need to make sure the coils are regularly cleaned to prevent build-up; otherwise, your cooling performance will be affected.

Once the ice has melted, you can turn the system back on and it should function properly. If it doesn’t, then call Isley’s for a helping hand.

Q: Why is my AC making strange noises?

Answer: Occasionally, you may notice strange noises such as sloshing sound or running water sounds emanating from the AC unit. In most cases, these noises should not alarm you. The sloshing sound is made when evaporation takes place or the running water noise is caused from the liquid refrigerant moving through the freon pipes. The freon circulates throughout the air conditioning system to remove heat from your home.

Apart from the sloshing sound, there can be a sad orchestra of rattling, clanking, banging, buzzing and hissing noises. These can indicate more severe issues. If the crankshaft or connecting rod is loose, you may hear that banging or clanking sound. In this case, you may need to replace the compressor. A rattling screeching sound could point to loose motor bearings or mounts. Bubbling or hissing noises are mostly related to leaks in the system. If the noise coming from your AC is new or unusual, even when it seems to be working fine, you should investigate the problem quickly. It’s a good sign your system may stop cooling soon.

Q: What about the furnace not blowing warm air?

Answer: If the furnace is not running properly, then the malfunction is probably within the furnace. The most likely reason is that the furnace may not have sufficient power or fuel. You need to check the source of power or see if the panels are on securely. Most furnaces have a door safety switch that will shut the furnace off if the door or blower access panel becomes ajar. You also can check the fuel source to ensure it’s getting gas to the unit properly. If the furnace is on but air is not reaching the rooms, then the distribution system or the blower could be faulty. Furnace problems need professional assistance from a certified contractor.

Q: Why do I hear a “pop” sound from the ductwork?

Answer: Duct works are available in three shapes: rectangular, square and circular. Each of these shapes has a different level of pressure it can hold. Round ducts tend to have a higher-pressure threshold than square or rectangular ones. When the fan or blower turns on forcing air into the duct system it can make a popping sound when the duct expands from the excessive air pressure. You need to seek expert advice for some solutions to eliminate the popping noises.

Q: Should the indoor and outdoor unit be replaced at the same time?

Answer: When replacing the outdoor unit, it is best to replace the indoor unit as well. This is primarily because the outdoor unit is designed to function optimally with a matching indoor unit. The heat pumps and air conditioner may still work with an old indoor unit, but the overall result is a compromised system with the possibility of reduced performance.

Any of these problems may cause your air conditioning system to deteriorate, which result in added costs on your energy bill.

Need help? The experts at Isley’s Inc. will diagnose your air conditioner issue and fix it before it leads to more troubles.

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