The process of artificially modifying of different aspects of the air in a closed space – including such as humidity, temperature, and flow – is termed air conditioning. While we consider this to be a recent, 20th-century phenomenon that involves sophisticated machinery, the genesis of modern air conditioning can be traced back to the textile industry in the 19th century when atomized droplets of water were deployed to achieve cooling and humidification.
Since the 1950s, however, air conditioners (ACs) have increasingly become more accessible and affordable worldwide, to the point that they are now ubiquitous. In fact, everyone who owns a residence or a commercial building knows that AC installation, maintenance, and repair are essential aspects of property ownership.
There are several benefits of optimally working air conditioners according to Smile HVAC:
- The function of an air conditioner is not only to cool air but also to improve its quality by constantly circulating it. Indeed, air conditioners are now essential parts of our lives as they help us function optimally by creating a clean, healthy environment, whether at the workplace or at home.
- It is a well-documented fact that excessive heat and moisture can induce fatigue rapidly. A property that is free of pollutants, particles, and harmful bacteria will result in healthier occupants and a better quality of life.
- It has been proven by numerous studies that healthier, more comfortable conditions in the workplace make employees happier and more productive.
Even the simplest of air conditioners is a marvel of technology. It includes a liquid refrigerant that circulates through evaporator coils across which the air inside a room is made to pass by the unit’s fan. The refrigerant then evaporates and absorbs the air’s heat and the cooled, dehumidified air is blown back into the room. The condenser in the air conditioner converts the refrigerant back into a liquid after expelling the heat outside. This process is repeated until the desired temperature-programmed through the thermostat – is established and then sustained by the air conditioner. Commercial air conditioners can be even more intricate.
With so many functioning parts, it is no wonder that air conditioners must regularly be maintained to give years and years of efficient cooling and be cost-effective. Not doing this steadily decreases the air conditioner’s performance and increases its energy consumption, especially when summer comes around.
Let’s look at some of the most common areas of air conditioner maintenance:
- Dirty Filter – By far, the most common problem is a clogged or dirty filter, which restricts normal airflow and greatly bumps up running costs. Obstruction of the airflow can also cause dirt to enter the evaporator coil and limit its ability to absorb heat. It is vital to clean or replace filters, especially during the cooling season, and even more frequently when there are pets at home or in dusty conditions.
- Dirty Coils – Both the evaporator and condenser coils can collect dirt and other particles over the years of use. This problem again gets compounded if the filter is dirty and there is excessive dirt or foliage in the environment. The growth of plants and soil right next to the air conditioner can worsen this situation and impede the ability of the coils to function properly. Dirty coils result in a reduction of both airflow and in the air conditioner’s capacity to absorb heat and expel it. For this reason, regular cleaning of the area around the coils is essential.
- Air Leakage – If the seals around the air conditioner, especially window units, are not perfect, warm air from the outside can find its way in and/or cold air from the inside can seep out. Seals can get damaged by moisture or may not have been installed properly in the first place. Making sure that the installation is impeccable and the correct safety hardware is deployed can solve this problem.
- Blocked Registers – With forced-air cooling and heating systems, the registers can easily get blocked by dust and it is vital to vacuum these regularly to ensure unobstructed airflow. Making sure that no furniture is blocking the registers is also essential.
- Defective Thermostat – Thermostats can often become incorrectly calibrated, especially the older ones that require you to twist a dial to the desired temperature. This can cause the air conditioner to get the wrong instruction from the thermostat. The more modern, programmable thermostats can sometimes be hard to set and you may accidentally key in the wrong instructions.
- Skipping Annual Maintenance – All air conditioners, whether they are smaller units at home or large machines at offices, need regular tune-ups annually. This not only increases performance but also extends the lifespan of the air conditioner and prevents the need for expensive repairs. Indeed, the cost of repairing an air conditioner can therefore far outweigh what you’d spend on its regular maintenance. Skipped tune-ups can decrease efficiency by as much as 5% annually. Another thing to keep in mind is that skipped maintenance can affect the warranty on your air conditioner. Warranties on many brands clearly declare that replacement parts will only be given if the AC underwent regular maintenance by trained HVAC professionals.
For these reasons, it is absolutely vital to find and hire an HVAC service provider who has years of expertise in AC installation, maintenance, as well as repair. The correctly installed AC is as much important as good maintenance and repair (if needed). Invest some time into finding a good HVAC provider in your area. This will help you to save money in the long run as well as get peace of mind when you are dealing with your HVAC equipment and other appliances.
The choice of the service provider can eventually be as critical as the kind of air conditioner you choose and the way you handle it. Being well-informed and doing research on both the air conditioner and potential HVAC expert to hire will result in many years of smooth AC operation and cost-effective, hassle-free maintenance.