It’s AC system inspection time in Phoenix, Az.

by stevensplumbingac on March 4, 2013

Phoenix AC Repair techniciansIt’s that time of year again, when the air conditioning service department at Stevens Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning is reminding homeowners in Phoenix and the Phoenix metro area to schedule their pre-season air conditioning inspection.

Most homeowners know the importance of having their air conditioner checked regularly.  And, air conditioning manufacturers recommend you have your system checked at least twice each year.

Your air conditioner, like your car, is a complex system of moving parts that needs regular, professional maintenance to make sure it cools your home as it should.  Proper maintenance could prevent your air conditioner from failing in the hottest part of summer, just when you need it most!   And regular maintenance and air conditioning repair will save you money over the long run.  An air conditioner that’s working at optimum efficiency will use less energy, decreasing your utility bills, may require fewer costly repairs, and will have a longer life, giving you a greater return on your investment.

Many air conditioning repair and service companies advertise “37 Point Inspections” or “40 Point Inspections”, or even give you a choice of how many points you would like checked!  We feel these numbers are largely meaningless.  While all air conditioning units have the same basic components, there are some differences depending on whether your unit is gas or electric, five years old or 20 years old, etc.

Every air conditioning pre-season check-up should include all points necessary for a very thorough inspection of your specific unit.  And that’s exactly what the air conditioning technicians at Stevens Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning provide for all of our customers, without exception.

Your air conditioner seasonal check-up will include every point necessary for a thorough inspection of your system.  This thorough inspection will, of course, include all the essential points, such as inspecting fan motor blades, checking the temperature split, checking indoor and outdoor motor voltage and amperage, inspecting and lubricating bearings as needed, and much, much more.  For more information about the points covered in your ac inspection, visit our AC Repair page.

A few of the more common problems we encounter with residential air conditioning repair, and the related reason why we strongly recommend regular inspections and maintenance on every unit, include:

Inspecting and tightening electrical connections.  Loose wiring is a common maintenance item, especially in homes that have aluminum wiring.  Wire expands and contracts with the flow of electrical current.  This expansion and contraction can loosen the connections, causing the wires to heat up, and the connection to fail.  Checking the electrical connections to your air conditioner is a relatively minor maintenance function, but it’s important to have this done on a regular basis.  Loose connections can mean your unit stops working.

Checking freon pressure.  While in most air conditioners the amount of freon that “leaks” from the system is quite small, it can still result in the freon pressure dropping enough to impact the functioning of the unit.  Like the lubricant or antifreeze in your car’s engine, the freon in your air conditioner lubricates and helps cool the compressor, which keeps it cooling properly and extends the life of your air conditioner.  It’s important to make sure your ac system maintains the recommended freon level.

Checking contactors.  When the termostat says “go”, the contactors send a signal that starts the air conditioner.  A bit like turning the key in your car’s engine, these two pieces of metal coming together allow a voltage arc that sends the signal.  Just through normal wear and tear (this voltage arcing can cause the metal to burn out or cause pitting which interferes with normal functioning) these contactors fail.  And, of course, if the contactors fail the unit won’t start.  Periodic replacement of contactors is part of the normal maintenance of your AC.

Checking the run capacitor.  A weak or non-functioning run capacitor means your motor has to work harder to start, which can cause it to overheat and can result in damage to the motor resulting in a costly repair.  It will also put additional stress on your air conditioner’s compressor.  More compressors fail due to faulty capacitors than for any other reason, and if your compressor goes, you’ll be investing in a new air conditioner!  Yet, a simple capacitor test can let you know of potential problems before major damage has been sustained.

Checking amp draws on the motors.  Testing the motor to make sure it’s not drawing high amps (meaning it’s running hot) is necessary even when the capacitor tests fine.  Sometimes we find that a weak capacitor has been replaced but, unfortunately, it was replaced after the motor had sustained damage, putting the compressor at risk.  This might mean your motor has to be replaced, but this is definitely less expensive than replacing a compressor, something we rarely recommend anyway since it’s very costly and comes with very little warranty.

These are just a small sample of the inspection points our air conditioning techs will be looking at when they do your annual air conditioner check-up, but hopefully it helps you, the homeowner, understand just how important these periodic, thorough inspections of your air conditioning system are.

We also like to remind homeowners to change the filters in their air conditioner frequently.  Under normal circumstances, once a month should be adequate.  However, if you have pets that shed alot, if you’re having remodeling done in your home that’s creating dusty conditions, if you have someone living in your home who’s highly sensitive to allergens, etc. then you may need to change your filter more often.

And, please use disposable filters!  We never recommend reusable filters.  Your air conditioning filter is designed to trap dirt, dust, pet hair, spores, pollen, etc. in order to remove it from the system and from your home.  Washing a reusable filter will NOT thoroughly clean these contaminants from the filter.  Over time, that reusable filter will get a nasty build-up that will make the filter ineffective.  Disposable filters are the sanitary solution!

And one more point that’s very important but is not common knowledge – if you have a split system and the air handler is located in your attic, have your condensate lines blown out at least every year.  Especially the primary drain line.  This line drains near the base of an exterior wall of your home, and is often located where debris from things like mowing lawns, blowing leaves and dirt from a walkway or patio, and other landscape maintenance activities, as well as spiders webs or even slime build up from the condensate drainage itself, can cause a blockage in the condensate drain line.  If these lines become clogged, the condensation build up from your air conditioning unit will drain into your attic, damaging insulation, soaking beams and trusses, and eventually leading to ceiling damage – oftentimes major damage.  A visual inspection of the drain lines is not going to ensure that the lines aren’t clogged. We always recommend having the lines cleared at least yearly to protect against the possiblity of water damage.

Regular inspections and maintenance of your air conditioner is a small investment when you consider the return you get.  Air Conditioning season is right around the corner.  Don’t wait – call now and schedule your pre-season air conditioning check-up and save.

Questions?  Give us a call!  An experienced AC tech is always available during business hours to answer your questions.

Pre-Season Special:  Air Conditioning Check-Up only $59

Stevens Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning
(602) 273-7473


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{ 1 comment }

Barney Ranjan March 29, 2013 at 5:47 am

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