What's better than finding a fixing a problem quickly? Never having the problem in the first place! Preventative maintenance is all about ensuring that your home's HVAC equipment runs reliably and efficiently, helping you avoid issues before they occur, and saving you a costly emergency repair visit. Each part of your HVAC system requires different types of preventative care.
Your condenser or outdoor unit is the portion of your air conditioning system that lives outside your home. This large steel box houses your condenser coils, compressor, condenser fan, and various bits of wiring and control circuitry. These three preventative maintenance tasks will help ensure your condenser doesn't suffer from any premature failures.
1. Coil Cleaning
The coils on your condenser unit consist of refrigerant plumbing that snakes through many tiny fins. These fins are incredibly thin to provide the maximum surface area with the surrounding air. The more contact the fins have with the surrounding environment, the more efficiently they can release heat from the refrigerant pumping through your AC system.
Your condenser coils will inevitably accumulate large amounts of dirt, debris, dust, and other contaminants. This detritus acts as an insulator, preventing the fins from releasing heat into the atmosphere. Routine cleaning will maintain your system efficiency and extend the life of your compressor by preventing it from overworking itself and overheating.
2. Wiring Inspection
There's a lot that a trained HVAC technician can learn by inspecting the wiring on your condenser. Numerous failures begin behind your wiring panel, including faulty contactors and bad capacitors. Part of any preventative maintenance visit will include an inspection of this panel to check for signs of damage to your wiring.
Surprisingly, rodents and other pests can be a common source of damage to your condenser unit's wiring. These animals can find their way inside the panel and may chew on wire insulation. To help protect against this, a preventative maintenance visit typically involves checking and replacing any seals that can allow mice to access the unit's wiring.
3. Refrigerant Hose Inspection
Your condenser unit connects to the rest of your air conditioning system with your refrigerant line set. Hot refrigerant travels to the condenser, and cool refrigerant travels back to your evaporator coils. The path back to the evaporator coil (the suction line) needs insulation to guard against condensation build-up along the pipes.
Unfortunately, this insulation can become brittle and fall off, leaving this line unprotected. Checking the condition of the suction line insulation at least once per year is an excellent preventative maintenance step that can help ensure your AC system runs as efficiently as possible.
For more information, contact a professional for preventative HVAC maintenance.