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Before trying to carry out air conditioner repair in your home or office, there are certain aspects of air conditioning systems you should know about. When their air conditioning system breaks down or develops a fault, many people try to fix it themselves without fully understanding the concepts involved. However, it is possible for you to carry out a basic air conditioner service once you understand the principles, although HVAC repair (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) is best left to the professionals.
The normal home or office air conditioner works by simple physics, and consists of two discrete units: the condenser and the evaporator. In the condenser, Freon gas is put under pressure then passed through a heat exchanger, removing heat from the gas and converting it to a liquid. It is then passed through an expansion valve into the evaporator; the liquid Freon expands and evaporates to a gas, the latent heat needed for this coming from the environment, which is then cooled (the cooled air then being blown into the room). The gas heated by the higher room air temperature than goes back into the condenser where the heat is removed and the cycle continues.
Both the evaporator and condenser are sealed units and you cannot carry out any air conditioner repairs to these yourself: you will have to call a trained professional. What you can do is to keep everything clean and all the mesh guards and so on clear of debris. You can carry out simple air conditioner service yourself, but not HVAC repair. Here are some basic air conditioner repair, troubleshooting and service tips.
1. System fails to run.
Check the fuses or circuit breakers. If they are fine then check that the thermostat is not set too high. Try lowering it by 5 degrees, and if that fails you need a professional HVAC repair engineer.
2. No Cooling.
Again, check the thermostat and try lowering it. If that doesn’t work check the condenser air intake. It might be blocked, especially in fall if there lots of leaves flying about. Check the fins of the fan are straight, and if not then straighten them. If nothing works, then call a professional engineer.
3. Erratic Cooling
For this and all other faults, all you can really do is to clean the condenser it as far as you can, and if that fails call an engineer. It is not uncommon for units to be blocked by vegetation of one form or another. The condenser will likely be sitting on a concrete pad: make sure that is level, because concrete can sometimes break down and put the condenser and the motor out of the level. That can affect its operation.
The condenser and evaporator are sealed units, which it is why it is so difficult for amateurs to carry out their own air conditioner repair. A blocked or dirty evaporator is the most common problem that you can fix yourself. If you have a regular air conditioner service carried out by a professional then you should not experience these problems, except in extreme weather conditions when vegetation and other debris can be blown into the unit.
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You can clean the evaporator unit yourself by first removing the insulation and the evaporator access plate, but it is much safer and more effective in the long run to have a professional contract that looks after all of this for you on a regular basis.
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- Frankly, in spite of those that try to do it themselves, HVAC repair is a job for professionals if you want it done properly. If you try it yourself you not only have the problem of getting into the units, and then the even greater problem of effecting a safe repair, but then you have to put it all back together in a safe fashion.
It is advisable to use a professional air conditioner repair service, but one that first offers you a free estimate. Some charge for the estimate, so you are obliged to pay them whether you accept the estimate or not. You often find that firms that offer a free estimate are both relatively expensive and do a good job. No business can afford to offer free estimates unless they are good at what they do and their prices are very competitive.
Also, make sure they give you a guarantee – for time and any parts that they install. If your current system has to be replaced, also make sure they offer you a trade-in deal. They can use the parts in your old equipment, so don’t give it to them free. You will also be advised to take a 24/7 service deal, because you don’t want to be sweating when your HVAC unit breaks down, and if you are a senior citizen, ask for a discount. You never know your luck!