They say knowledge is power, and that’s certainly accurate when it comes to your air conditioner. While challenging repairs are best left to professionals, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of your air conditioner and how to solve everyday AC issues.
Learning how your AC works and the frequent problems it faces can empower you to tackle little problems without needing to call an HVAC specialist every time. This not only saves you dollars on minor service calls, but realizing when to call a professional can help prevent small issues from escalating into catastrophic repairs.
Your Air conditioner is an important part of your home comfort. Because of that, you should always err on the side of caution and call a NATE-certified technician for air conditioning repair in Manassas if you're uncertain about any aspect of your air conditioner's operation or maintenance.
Here are some typical questions people ask our experts about their air conditioners:
1. How Do I Clean an Air Conditioner?
Cleaning an air conditioner is an effective way to make sure it operates efficiently, and possibly could extend the life of your unit.
The most effective thing you can do on your own is to replace the air filter in your air conditioner. The filter captures dust, pollen, pet hair and other debris, and removes those particulates from the air circulating inside your home. If your AC filter becomes clogged, the air conditioner has to work harder than it ought to in order to force air through the filter. A clean filter catches the airborne debris while still allowing air to flow easily through the system.
Replacement filters can be purchased at most popular home improvement stores, hardware stores or can be purchased from your local HVAC specialist. A good way to make sure you get the right filter is to look at your old one before you head out for the store, taking care to write down the size of the filter. If you’re not familiar with filters, it’s also helpful to note the filtration level of the current filter if you are wanting to buy something similar.
For detailed service of your air conditioner, contact the seasoned professionals like the crew at Fire & Ice HVAC to do scheduled maintenance on your system. They’ll inspect your system, clean or lubricate parts that require attention and look for worn-out parts and potential problems.
2. How Do I Clean Air Conditioner Coils?
In addition to making sure your indoor AC unit is operating efficiently, it’s necessary to tend to your outdoor unit. Cleaning the coils on the exterior unit of your AC is a simple way to increase its efficiency and can extend the life of your entire system.
The coils, which are attached to extensions called fins, are used to release heat from the refrigerant into the outside air. This lowers the temperature of the refrigerant, which then goes back inside your home so it can absorb more heat from the air in your home's interior. Cleansing the fins and the coils will help them release heat more easily.
To clean your air conditioner’s fins and coil:
1) First, shut down power to the outdoor unit. It’s best to flip off the the on/off switch, instead of turning the thermostat off.
2) Take off the top of the outdoor AC so you can reach the inside of the unit. Then, taking care not to strain any cords or attachments, safely move the top to the side.
3) Apply a cleaning solution on the fins, beginning at the top and then working your way down. Commercial coil cleaners are on the market and commonly found in both the canned aerosol spray from as well as products foaming solutions that are applied with your garden hose.
4) Follow directions on the product to apply. For most cleaners, it's suggested that you spray the product on, let the cleaner soak in for a brief period of time to loosen the grime and then carefully spray it off with a garden hose. Take care not to spray too hard, because that could ruin the coils or fins!
5) Secure the top back on the unit and then wait for the coils and fins to dry before turning the unit back on.
3. How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?
The life span of an air conditioner changes depending on the type of unit, its quality, how well it's maintained and how much it's used. That said, pros say you should start thinking about air conditioner replacement after about 12-15 years.
One of the best ways to make the most of your system is through regular conditioner maintenance. Tuneups from Fire & Ice HVAC consists of cleaning and inspecting the machinery, as well as putting in a new filter and mending any worn-out or broken parts. To keep your unit operating as long as it can, contact us today to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Manassas.
4. What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Selecting the correct sized air conditioner for your home is vital for keeping comfort and efficiency. Here are some elements to take into account when deciding what size air conditioner is right for your home:
- Square footage: The amount of space you need to cool is one of the biggest factors. Bigger spaces demand more cooling power.
- Home insulation: Well-insulated homes retain cool air better, which should reduce your cooling needs.
- Climate: If you reside in a hotter climate, you'll need a more powerful air conditioner compared to a person living in a cooler place.
- Number of windows: Windows frequently let in heat, particularly when they're south-facing or not well-insulated.
- Number of residents: More people in the house create greater body heat, which can impact your cooling needs.
- Present HVAC system: The size and productivity of your current system can provide a starting point for determining what you need.
Given that the size of your AC is so essential to your home’s comfort, you will definitely want a professional opinion. At Fire & Ice HVAC, we take the time to fully understand your family’s lifestyle, comfort needs and the many other factors such as your home’s design and size. This attention to detail and commitment to customer service is why Fire & Ice HVAC is known for excellent air conditioning installation in Manassas.
5. How Much Does an Air Conditioner Cost?
While prices vary depending on the size of the unit and your home’s unique specifications, a new AC generally costs between $5,000 and $12,500 to purchase and install. The good thing is that new air conditioners are crafted to be exceedingly efficient, so they do more with less power when compared to older units.
The cost of an air conditioner is influenced by several factors during the manufacturing process, such as the cost and availability of raw materials, manufacturing and labor costs in addition to federal regulations that necessitate changes to the design.
Know these are average costs and prices can vary. It's always a good idea to get numerous quotes from reliable HVAC companies before making a decision. If you’re contemplating air conditioning replacement in Manassas, contact Fire & Ice HVAC. We will provide you with a free estimate, explain the process and help connect you with available rebates or discounts.
6. What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?
An air conditioner freezing up can be caused by a number of factors, all of which boil down to the AC's inability to efficiently transfer heat. If your unit is suffering from issues causing it to freeze up, it is most likely time for air conditioning repair.
Here are some common causes of AC freezing up:
- Inadequate airflow: If the air isn't flowing properly through your AC system, it can't properly absorb heat. This could be due to a dirty air filter, blocked return air ducts or a failing fan.
- Low refrigerant levels: If your air conditioner is starting to get low on refrigerant, it can get too cold and freeze up. This is frequently a consequence of leaking in the refrigerant lines.
- Very Chilly outdoor temperatures: Operating the air conditioner when it's really cold outside can cause the system to freeze. The majority of units aren't designed to work in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
- Mechanical failures: Faulty thermostats, damaged blower motors and trouble with the relay or control board can all result in an AC unit freezing up.
Fire & Ice HVAC is the Trustworthy Source for Air Conditioning Service in Manassas.
At Fire & Ice HVAC, we are focusing on making your home a comfortable and enjoyable place. Our experienced technicians are up-to-date on the latest industry training and trends, and are knowledgeable on a wide variety of systems. That’s why community members make us the premier choice for air conditioning repair in Manassas and the surrounding towns.
If you’re planning to upgrade or its time for a new unit, we’ve got you covered there too, with our first-rate air conditioning installation in Manassas. No matter what, we can help you solve your cooling issues!
Contact Fire & Ice HVAC today at 703-595-4157 to schedule an appointment or complimentary estimate!