Air Conditioning Maintenance & Tune-Ups
Air conditioners lose capacity with use. The coils become plugged, filters get dirty, belts slip and often there is a refrigerant leak. While comfort is lost, energy costs soar. A 20% increase in operating cost is not uncommon. You may not recognize this problem until comfort is lost and, by then, the extra dollars are gone. With oversized air conditioning equipment, the recognition time is longer and dollar losses are greater.
The solution to the problem is — get a complete tune-up.
Here is what a complete tune-up accomplished with one system when the outside temperatures (ODT) were in the range of 80-85 degrees F.
The capacity was restored 18% with a complete tune-up. A partial tune-up restored capacity only 5%.
Energy Use Down
Cleaning the condensing unit not only restored capacity 5%, it reduced actual energy consumption 10%. The additional restored capacity from cleaning the blower did not further reduce energy use.
Energy Efficiency Up
A complete tune-up outperformed a partial tune-up. The partial cleanup resulted in only 54% of the total increase in efficiency. For the same running time, the partial tune-up reduced the utility bill by 14% and the complete tune-up reduced it by 24%.
Longer Compressor Life
The compressor in the air conditioner described may have a shortened life. Some authorities say that the hot gas temperatures should be below 200 degrees F for extended life. A complete tune-up reduced the temperature from 208 to 195 degrees F.
Often thermostats are influenced by heat sources other than room temperature. When thermostats are located near table lamps in houses , or receive direct sunlight during a portion of the day, air conditioners run longer than normal. Of course this increases energy use as well as erratic comfort cycles.
You can shorten running time by raising the temperature setting on the thermostat. For example, the air conditioner ran 15% less when the thermostat was adjusted from 75 degrees to 77 degrees. Your influence on the thermostat can reduce energy bills significantly.
Tune-ups are profitable. In most cases, they should be performed at least every year, some even more often. Remember, without tune-ups, a 3-ton air conditioner may perform like a 2 1/2-ton unit while you are paying the operating cost of a 3 1/2-ton unit. That’s not profitable, nor energy efficient.
Tune-up Check List
Here are some of the items that should be checked in a complete tune-up:
- Air flow through outside condenser coil
- clean coils
- straighten coil fins
- remove obstruction to air flow (bushes, boxes)
- Air flow through inside evaporator coil
- change filters regularly
- clean coils
- clean blower wheel
- stop duct leaks
- Check refrigerant charge after cleanup
- Check control system for proper performance
Use Qualified Service
Qualified service personnel should conduct the tune-up. You change the filters.
Whether your air conditioner is in your home, office or business, air-conditioning tune-ups are profitable.
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