How To Prepare Your Big Bear AC System for the Summer
As we’re heading into the summer months, many of us are starting to crank up the AC more and more often. After all, Big Bear gets pretty warm, with an average temperature of 80 degrees during the day. When it’s so hot outside, the last thing you want is for the air conditioning unit to break down. However, if you take a few preparatory steps, you will be able to enjoy a cool and comfortable home all year long. In this blog, we will review some of the most common AC problems during the summer months and explain how regular summer AC maintenance can help you avoid these issues.
Most Common Summer AC Problems
There’s nothing like rushing inside your home on a scorching day just to find the AC broken. Isn’t it interesting that this issue only happens when you need your AC the most? If you’re wondering why your AC isn’t working, perhaps it can be explained by one of the following problems:
Dirty or Clogged Air Filters
One of the main culprits of a broken AC is a clogger or dirty air filter. Air filters do the important work of cleaning the air before releasing it into the air. As a result, they accumulate a lot of dust and debris that must be cleaned periodically. Some common signs of clogged air filters include:
- Lack of airflow
- Lots of dust floating in the air
- High energy bills
- Stuffy atmosphere
We recommend checking your filters every 4-6 weeks, depending on how often you use your air conditioning unit. Take the time to clean or replace them, opting for higher-quality HEPA filters for better filtration.
Low Refrigerant Levels
Another common problem that presents itself over the summer months is when the refrigerant fluids begin to drop. The role of refrigerant fluid in the AC unit is to circulate through the coils and cool the absorbed hot air. Thanks to this beautiful chemical substance, air conditioning is possible. When this fluid’s levels begin to dip, the air conditioner will lose its efficiency and ability to cool the home. This happens for the following reasons:
- Active leaks
- Improper installation
- Issues with the evaporator coil
- Failing components of the unit
- Environmental factors such as hailstorms or fluctuations in temperatures
You will know something may be wrong with the refrigerant fluid if you notice puddles around the unit or a hissing sound. Never doubt your gut feeling, and reach out to an AC tech for their advice.
The thermostat helps regulate the temperatures inside the home, and if it starts to malfunction, your entire AC unit will also malfunction. Most of the time, thermostats just need their batteries replaced before they are good to go for another season of service. In the worst-case scenario, you may just need to replace the entire thermostat with a newer, more reliable model. Consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat, which is more energy efficient and convenient.
Clogged Condensate Drain
One of the many components of the air conditioning unit is the condensate drain. The purpose of this drain is to remove extra moisture from the air. When this drain is clogged, it can create a blockage causing the water to flow back into the unit. As a result, your AC may incur extensive damage. This issue is easily avoided when you keep up with regular AC maintenance in Big Bear, CA.
Dirty Evaporator or Condenser Coils
Evaporator coils perform the first essential role of the cooling process by absorbing the heat from the air in the home. Once these coils absorb the air, they are transferred to the refrigerant for cooling. These evaporator coils tend to accumulate a lot of dust, dirt, and even debris that wear them down and reduce their efficiency. As a result, your AC may begin to produce inconsistent temperatures throughout the home.
Though you may be tempted to pick up a rag and clean out these coils yourself, we advise you against it. The cleaning process requires professional training to ensure the safety of the person doing the job and everyone in the AC’s vicinity.
If your AC is old enough or has been exposed to harsher conditions than usual, it may have some electrical issues like frayed wiring or blown fuses. Sometimes, air conditioners short cycle due to an internal electrical problem. This problem can be very frustrating on a particularly scorching day when your only wish is to cool off a bit.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
We already discussed the problem of dirty evaporator coils, but what is even more concerning is when they are frozen. The problem is caused by different complications within the AC system, including the following:
- Reduced airflow
- Low refrigerant levels
- Dirty evaporator coil
- Malfunctioning thermostat
- Faulty defrost control
- Leaky refrigerant lines
When evaporator coils freeze, the work of the AC system can come to a complete halt. Not only will it create an inconvenience, but it will also wear out the unit’s compressor.
Blocked or Damaged Ductwork
Sometimes your air conditioning unit can work perfectly fine, but the attached ductwork will hinder its smooth operation. Ductwork is responsible for carrying the conditioned air throughout the home. It carries unfiltered air that passes through an air filter before being released into the home. As a result, the ductwork accumulates a lot of dust and debris that must be cleared out. If the cleaning is neglected, the accumulated debris can block the proper airflow and reduce the system’s ability to cool the home. Inspecting and cleaning ductwork is part of routine AC maintenance in Big Bear, CA, ensuring your home is comfortable and safe.
Overworked AC System
California is known for its hot temperatures that cause many residents to blast their ACs at full force. Though doing so may feel like a great plan, you must be careful not to overwork your AC. Setting the thermostat on too low a temperature for an extended period will cause the unit to work harder. This will create many issues, such as:
- Inefficient cooling
- Constant running
- Strange noises like squealing, rattling, banging
- Poor airflow
- Short cycling
- Higher energy bills than normal
To avoid overworking your AC, we recommend giving it an occasional break. Make the temperature settings on your thermostat are within a 7-degree range of the temperatures outside. Crack open the windows and doors when the outdoor temperatures allow it, and use your ceiling fans to give the AC a chance to rest.
Lack of Maintenance
You probably gathered by now that many of the outlined problems have one common denominator, which is the lack of maintenance. Air conditioning units are expensive and comprise numerous components that help the AC due to their vital work. The lack of cleaning and routine adjustments can create a whole host of issues on its own, and we recommend keeping up with the condition of your AC.
How Regular Maintenance Can Prevent AC Repairs
So what is it about AC maintenance that makes it so important? Isn’t it just a ploy for AC repair companies to make more money? This is a false perception, and we explain the reasons below. Thanks to AC maintenance, our technicians are able to:
Identify Problems Early
The key to a long-lasting and efficient system is identifying potential problems before they become extensive, expensive repairs. Our current economy makes it increasingly difficult for people to afford expensive repairs or replacements. A regular maintenance check will help you avoid these expenses and enjoy your home with its current AC.
Clean and Lubricate Components
The air conditioning unit is a well-oiled system that must remain clean and lubricated. In addition to running a diagnostic check for potential repairs, AC techs also spend time cleaning the unit’s various components and lubricating all moving parts. This prevents the parts from wearing out too quickly and making that scary screeching sound.
Replace Worn or Damaged Parts
Maintenance visits also include thoroughly inspecting all of the unit’s parts. If any of them happen to be damaged or worn, the technician will replace them. Air conditioning parts that wear out most often include:
- Air filters
- Fan blades
- Evaporator coils
- Condenser coils
Some of these replacements, like the air filters or capacitors, are something that is required over the course of time. Replacing them in a timely manner extends the lifespan of your AC and maintains its efficiency at optimal levels. However, when the compressor breaks down, it is best to replace the whole AC instead of buying a compressor that will most likely cost as much as the entire unit.
Maximize the Efficiency and Lifespan of the Unit
Few people have the desire or ability to replace their AC unit regularly. Maintenance helps homeowners use their air conditioners to the maximum 15-20 years they are meant to perform. Plus, with regular cleaning and tune-ups, the unit is far more reliable and will not break down during those moments when it is needed the most. To us and many other Big Bear homeowners, AC maintenance makes a lot of sense!
Is your air conditioning unit ready to serve you all summer long? Enjoy your warm, relaxing summer in Big Bear all the more with a smooth and efficient AC, thanks to expert AC maintenance. Call Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating today to schedule your visit and get your summer started on the right foot! Contact us at (909) 637 – 3951. Remember, we are available 24/7, so even if you are in a pickle, you can call for all services related to your AC.
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