Your room’s air conditioning system is a godsend during summer. Whether it be hot and humid or just sweltering, we can always find relief with the AC on!
But not many of us know how these units work and what principles they follow to let us feel comfortable and relaxed even in the worst weather conditions!
With that, let’s take an introductory look at some of the basic yet exciting concepts related to air conditioners.
Air Conditioning Units
Air conditioning units are refrigeration devices. They undergo the process of compression and expansion to cool air down. The idea is to compress a gas (air) using an electric fan, increasing its temperature. This compressed hot air is then pushed through coils with refrigerants like freon inside them, causing the heat from the heated room to flow out of the room.
This process reduces the temperature and humidity levels, making it easier for you to breathe, sleep, work or even play in that weather!
Different types of Air Conditioning Units
Several cooling systems are available in the market today, each with its benefits. The types of air conditioning systems are:
- Split Systems
To install split systems, one must create an opening on the exterior wall large enough for the unit to pass through. A 15-30 minute procedure, split systems can cost up to USD 3,500.
- Central Systems
Used to cool an entire building or a subdivision, central air conditioning units cost around USD 5,000, depending on the size of the structure. In addition to being more expensive than window and split systems, central AC units have complex mechanics making it necessary to be serviced every six months.
- Window Units
Typically used for cooling one to two rooms, small window AC units are among the cheapest cooling systems available (USD 200). They don’t take up much space and can be easily fitted into a window. However, they consume more energy than split or central air conditioning systems.
- Heat Pumps
This cooling system is the most versatile and can cool and heat a room. Easily adaptable to outdoor and indoor conditions, heat pumps are the most efficient cooling system today. They also have a low installation cost since they can be fitted in a window.
- Chilled Water System
The most expensive option is a chilled water system that uses a natural refrigerant called “R744” without any oil or chlorine. These air conditioning units are used in homes where people have severe allergies. They cost more than USD 10,000 because they require unique installation and regular maintenance.
Wherever the air conditioning unit is placed, it must be accessible to professionals who can perform routine services on them. This means hiring an AC specialist to fix any problems that may arise.
Most Common AC Problems to Look Out For
One may experience several problems when using air conditioning units in their homes. Some of the most common issues are:
A leak in the refrigerant creates an open circuit, causing the compressor to stop working immediately. The system turns on for a few moments then shuts off again until all of the refrigerants have leaked out.
If this is your case, keep in mind that refrigerants are poisonous, and their fumes can cause heart attacks, flu symptoms, and even death. Call a professional AC specialist to fix the problem as soon as possible!
Dirty air filters
If you notice that your AC unit has stopped working and there is dust all over it, this probably means your air filter is clogged with dirt and debris. You may need to replace the dirty filter more often than usual or get a professional to clean it for you.
Having a dirty filter can cause a build-up of heat, contributing to other problems, such as refrigerant leaks.
This is a common problem among air conditioning units that have been used for several years. The accumulation of ice on the outdoor coils stops the system from absorbing heat and reduces its efficiency in cooling down a room.
You can fix this issue by requesting a professional fill up your AC unit with non-toxic antifreeze.
Frozen Outdoor Coils
As your AC unit ages, it may begin to accumulate dust and dirt, contributing to the freezing of its outdoor coils. You will need someone with experience in outdoor de-icing coils to fix the problem when this happens.
Leaking outdoor faucets
If you see water dripping from the outdoor unit, this could be a sign that its faucet has started to leak. It may also mean your AC system is low on refrigerant. Whatever the case, this will need to be fixed by a professional who specializes in air conditioning repairs.
How to Keep Your Unit From Breaking Down
You can take several precautions to make sure your air conditioning units stay in good condition for as long as possible. Here are a few tips for you:
Schedule a regular AC maintenance.
You should have your air conditioning units serviced each year by an expert. It’s also a good idea to change their refrigerant regularly every 10,000 to 12,000 hours of use. This will not only keep your system running smoothly but also save you a ton of money in the long run.
Get repairs before you need it.
Be proactive about your AC repairs! If you notice anything wrong with your air conditioning unit, it’s best to call a professional before the problem gets worse. The longer you wait to repair your AC system, the more you’ll end up paying.
Turn it off and clean the coils.
When your AC unit is not running, open up all of its doors and look at the coils from below. Clean all the dirt and other debris accumulated on it to ensure good airflow.
Fix any gaps, leaks, or cracks in the unit.
Most AC units are installed in cooled spaces. But if there is a crack or gap between the unit and the surface where it’s mounted, the air will be able to escape. Fix this problem immediately! You can use air conditioning foam insulation or caulk around the base of your unit.
Keep it clean.
Keeping your AC unit clean will ensure that its airflow is not obstructed or restricted in any way. You should also remove any bird nests, leaves, or other debris from around the unit.
Air Conditioner Issues: Should You Repair or Replace?
Figuring out when to replace or repair your air conditioning unit can be pretty tricky; there are several factors that you need to take into account.
Here are some general guidelines to follow when deciding between repairing and replacing your AC unit.
Age of Your Air Conditioning Unit
As a general rule of thumb, if your AC unit is over 10 to 15 years old, it’s better to go for a replacement.
Though it’s your HVAC technician might be able to repair the issue, you’ll likely experience more problems down the line as your AC unit will start to break down more often. Costly repairs, when accumulated, will put a dent in your finances.
Repair Costs—are they worth it?
Some repairs may only cost a few hundred dollars or less. However, if there’s a significant issue in your air conditioning unit, which will require a substantial amount of money to repair, do the Math.
For instance, if the repair costs are around $2,000 to 3,000 dollars and your AC unit is quite old, it’ll make sense if you opt for a replacement which will cost you approximately $4,500 to $8,000. Considering the high repair costs, replacement seems like a better option in the long run.
Energy Bills—if your bills are high, time to say goodbye!
If your energy bills keep rising—especially during summers—and electricity rates remain the same, your AC unit is not working efficiently and needs a replacement.
Most new AC units are highly energy-efficient, providing up to 50% energy savings per month. This will help you recover your investment in the long term and enjoy a higher comfort level.
A new air conditioning unit will also require fewer to no repairs in the earlier years, so you can also factor that into the equation.
Seek out an unbiased service provider.
Perhaps the best answer to whether you should replace or repair your air conditioning unit can be provided by your HVAC contractor.
They’ll evaluate the condition of your unit and assess whether a repair will do the job or your AC unit needs a replacement. One good practice is hiring a company that offers air conditioning repair and installation services. You can take their advice and your budget into consideration and make a final decision.
Set An Appointment With One of Our Pros Today!
Are you looking for a reliable air conditioning service provider in London and SW, Ontario? You can count on MaxCare Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving our clients since 1978, providing high-quality and reliable AC installation, repair, and maintenance.
Our licensed, qualified team of professionals can carefully evaluate your air conditioning unit and help you determine whether it can be repaired or needs a replacement. We also offer commercial and residential HVAC services, boiler installation, and water heater repair services in London, ON.
For more details, contact us at 519-641-9000!