We’re already thinking ahead to summer and the cooling season here at Bay Area Services, and are busy scheduling air conditioner tune ups for the spring and summer months. We usually begin doing air conditioner tune ups around mid-April and continue until the end of summer. If you’re thinking about replacing your current air conditioning unit, it can be helpful to start the process now and meet with one of our sales consultants before the heat of summer arrives and our schedule gets full.
Q: What should I do before starting my air conditioner in preparation for the cooling season?
- It is important to make sure your thermostat is set to the cooling mode because just lowering the temperature does not activate the air conditioner if it is still set in the heat mode.
- Do not wait until the first hot day of summer to turn on your air conditioner; instead run your unit for a few minutes early in the season before you may need it to make sure it is working. This way if there is a problem with your unit, you will not have to wait for a service technician to arrive when the weather is sweltering.
- Make sure that there are no obstructions around the exterior of the unit, and that it is not covered up because your air conditioning unit needs to pull air from outside to cool and blow into the home.
Q: Why are freon leaks a problem?
- The heart of an air conditioning unit is the compressor which is cooled by refrigerant. When proper freon levels are not maintained, it can result in overheating and premature failure of the compressor, and this often requires completely replacing the compressor or the entire condensing unit.
- If freon levels are too high or too low, this can drastically reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner.
- Refrigerant leaks can freeze the evaporator coil, causing the unit to literally ice up.
- Freon is classified as a controlled substance by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it is considered to be hazardous if released into the environment.
Q: What does an air conditioning tune-up consist of?
A: It consists of the following steps:
- Clean the indoor and outdoor coils
- Check the blower wheel and motor, lubricate motor, and check belt
- Check thermostat operation and calibration
- Check operation of all safety controls
- Check the current draw and voltage under a full load
- Inspect wiring and connections, repair if necessary
- Check refrigerant (freon) charge
- Test compressor contacts
- Inspect air filter condition
- Check the condensate pump and drain line
- Check the fan switch operation and adjust settings if necessary
Q: How often should my air conditioner be recharged with new freon?
A: Contrary to popular belief, air conditioner do not consume refrigerant (also known as freon), and during ideal conditions the refrigerant in your air conditioners would never require changing or refilling. Therefore, having a low freon level can be an indicator of a leak in your system which should be repaired before adding any more refrigerant. The majority of new systems are welded to minimize leaks; however, many older units were connected with mechanical flared fittings which can vibrate loose over time and cause leaks.