A Residential AC Tune-Up Helps You Avoid Expensive Repairs: Here's What The Inspection Entails

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While residential AC tune-ups cost money for the inspection, they're a way to help you avoid expensive repair bills in the future. Ensuring that your air conditioner is operating correctly reduces the chance that it will fail suddenly, resulting in you requiring an emergency service call. In addition, you'll also avoid a failed component causing damage to other components that are more expensive to replace, such as the compressor. To learn more about what happens during a residential AC tune-up and how it helps you save money in the long run, read on to find out what happens during the inspection.

Checking Refrigerant Pressure

A residential AC technician will use a gauge to check pressure in both the vapor line (where refrigerant becomes a gas) and the liquid line (where the refrigerant is in a liquid state.) If the pressure is lower than expected, it means that your air conditioner doesn't have enough refrigerant circulating through it. This is most often caused by a leak within the air conditioner—the refrigerant loop is a closed system, which means that it should never need more refrigerant when it's operating normally.

When your system is leaking refrigerant, pressure in the evaporator coil will become very low. Low pressure leads to the evaporator coil becoming very cold, and it will eventually freeze over. Once frozen, your air conditioning system will no longer keep your home cool—the ice acts as an insulator around the coil, which prevents it from absorbing heat from your home.

Checking your refrigerant pressure during a residential AC tune-up is a way to prevent an emergency service call in the future when your evaporator coil freezes over. If the technician notices that your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, the leak can be repaired and your unit can be recharged with refrigerant to ensure that it operates correctly.

Testing the Capacitors

The capacitors in your air conditioning system hold a colossal electrical charge. It takes a considerable amount of energy to start the compressor motor, so it draws from the capacitors when it's first starting up. Unfortunately, capacitors don't last forever—they eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. During your residential AC tune-up, the technician will use a voltmeter to determine if the capacitors are holding as much charge as they're designed to.

When your capacitors are failing, it can cause serious damage to your compressor motor. A compressor motor that can't draw enough charge from the capacitor will struggle to start, which typically results in it making a humming noise followed by your air conditioning unit turning off. This causes severe damage to the compressor, and compressors are expensive to replace. Catching a failing capacitor during a tune-up saves you money—it's much cheaper to replace a capacitor in order to prevent the compressor from failing.

Inspecting the Contactors

The contactors are bridges in your air conditioning system that carry electrical current. When your air conditioning system starts up, the metal rod inside the contactor lowers in order to allow electricity to flow throughout the system. When your home is cool and your thermostat shuts your air conditioner off, the metal rod raises in order to stop the supply of electricity.

Contactors can become stuck in one position due to a buildup of dirt and dust. Depending on which position the metal rod is stuck in, your air conditioner will either run continuously or fail to start at all. If your air conditioner is running all the time, you'll wear out its components quicker.

During your tune-up, the residential AC technician will check to make sure all of the contactors are clean and working properly. Any contactors that have failed will be replaced. This is another way to prevent an emergency service call in the future when your air conditioner either won't start or won't shut off due to a failed contactor.

Cleaning the Condenser Coils

Finally, the technician will clean off the condenser coil with water. The condenser coil is located in the outside unit, so it often become dirty due to being exposed to dirt, dust and grass clippings from mowing. In some cases, garden spiders may even decide to move in and build webs around it.

Your condenser coil releases heat into the outside air. When it's surrounded by dirt and other bits of grime, it can't release heat as effectively. This leads to the refrigerant pressure becoming too high, which results in numerous problems. Your refrigerant lines may become damaged, your compressor can fail and your air conditioner won't be able to cool your home as effectively.

As you can see, enrolling in a tune-up program with a residential AC company helps you prevent more expensive repairs in the future. By ensuring that your system is operating correctly, you'll have a reduced chance of experiencing a catastrophic failure that requires an emergency service call to fix. If your air conditioner isn't receiving regular inspection and maintenance, make sure you call a residential AC service in your area for a tune-up.

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22 October 2020

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