They say knowledge is power, and that’s undoubtedly the truth when discussing your air conditioner. While complex repairs are best left to experts, it’s helpful to have a rudimentary understanding of your air conditioner and how to solve general AC issues.
Learning how your AC works and the typical problems it faces will enable you to handle little problems without needing to call an HVAC specialist every time. This not only saves you dollars on minor service calls, but knowing when to contact a professional can help prevent small issues from escalating into major repairs.
Your AC is an important component of your home comfort. Because of that, you should always err on the side of caution and call a NATE-certified professional for air conditioning repair in Rapid City if you're not sure about any aspect of your AC's operation or maintenance.
Here are several typical questions people ask our experts about their air conditioners:
1. How Do I Clean an Air Conditioner?
Cleaning an air conditioning system is a good way to make sure it runs efficiently, and potentially could extend the life of your unit.
The most effective step you can take on your own is to swap out the air filter in your air conditioner. The filter captures dust, pollen, pet hair and other debris, and removes those contaminants from the air circulating throughout your home. If your AC filter becomes choked with debris, the air conditioner has to work harder than it really should in order to pull air through the filter. A clean filter traps the airborne debris while still allowing air to flow efficiently through the system.
Replacement filters are available at most popular home improvement stores, hardware stores or can be purchased from your local HVAC expert. A good way to make sure you get the correct filter is to look at your old one before you go shopping, taking care to write down the size of the filter. If you’re not familiar with filters, it’s also a good idea to note the filtration level of the current filter if you are trying to buy something similar.
For detailed service of your air conditioner, contact the experienced professionals like the crew at Street Heating and Cooling to do routine maintenance on your unit. They’ll look over your system, clean or lubricate parts that need it and look for worn-out parts and potential trouble.
2. How Do I Clean Air Conditioner Coils?
In addition to making certain that your indoor AC unit is functioning efficiently, it’s important to tend to your outdoor unit. Cleaning the coils on the outdoor unit of your air conditioner is a simple way to increase its efficiency and can extend the life of your entire system.
The coils, which include extensions called fins, are used to release heat from the refrigerant to the outdoors. This lowers the temperature of the refrigerant, which then goes back into your home so it can take in more heat from the air within your home. Cleaning the fins and the coils can help them release heat more easily.
To clean your air conditioner’s fins and coil:
1) First, shut off power to the outdoor unit. It’s best to flip the power switch off, rather than turning the thermostat off.
2) Take off the top of the outdoor AC so you can reach the interior of the unit. Then, being careful not to pull hard on any cords or attachments, safely move the top to the side.
3) Spray a cleaning solution on the fins, first at the top and moving 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 softly spray it off with a garden hose. Be cautious not to spray very hard, because that could ruin the coils or fins!
5) Secure the top back on the unit and then wait for the components to dry before turning the unit back on.
3. How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?
The life span of an air conditioner depends on the type of unit, its quality, how well it's maintained and how often it's used. However, industry experts say you should start thinking about air conditioner replacement after about 12-15 years.
One of the best ways to get maximum value from your air conditioner is through regular conditioner maintenance. Tuneups from Street Heating and Cooling features cleaning and inspecting the machinery, as well as putting in a new filter and repairing any worn-out or broken parts. To keep your unit operating as long as possible, call us today to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Rapid City.
4. What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Finding the correct sized air conditioner for your home is crucial for keeping comfort and efficiency. Here are some elements to take into account when deciding what size air conditioner you need for your home:
- Square footage: The total area of the space you need to cool is one of the most important factors. Bigger spaces demand more cooling power.
- Home insulation: Well-insulated homes preserve cool air better, which could minimize your cooling needs.
- Climate: If you live in a hotter climate, you'll want a more powerful air conditioner compared to a person living in a cooler environment.
- Number of windows: Windows frequently let in heat, especially when they're south-facing or not well-insulated.
- Number of occupants: More people in the house create additional body heat, which could influence your cooling needs.
- Present HVAC system: The size and performance of your current system can provide a starting point for deciding what you need.
Given that the size of your cooling system is so critical to your home’s comfort, you will almost certainly want a professional opinion. At Street Heating and Cooling, we take the time to fully understand your family’s lifestyle, comfort needs and the many other considerations such as your home’s layout and size. This attention to detail and dedication to customer service is why Street Heating and Cooling is known for superb air conditioning installation in Rapid City.
5. How Much Does an Air Conditioner Cost?
While prices vary depending on the brand of the unit and your home’s unique needs, a new air conditioner generally costs between $5,000 and $12,500 to purchase and install. The good news is that new air conditioners are designed to be exceedingly efficient, so they do more with less power when compared to older units.
The cost of an air conditioner is affected by several factors during the manufacturing process, such as the cost and availability of raw materials, manufacturing and labor costs along with federal regulations that require modifications to the design.
Note these are average costs and prices can differ. It's always a good idea to get at least a few quotes from trustworthy HVAC companies before making a choice. If you’re considering air conditioning replacement in Rapid City, get in touch with Street Heating and Cooling. We will schedule an appointment to provide you with a complimentary estimate, make sure you understand the procedure and help connect you with available rebates or discounts.
6. What Causes an Air Conditioner to Freeze Up?
Air conditioning freezing up can be due to a number of factors, all of which boil down to the system's inability to efficiently transfer heat. If your AC is suffering from issues causing it to freeze up, it is more than likely time for air conditioning repair.
Here are some typical reasons for AC freezing up:
- Insufficient airflow: If the air isn't flowing properly through your AC system, it can't adequately absorb heat. This could be due to a dirty air filter, something stopping air from flowing through the return air ducts or a failing fan.
- Low refrigerant levels: If your air conditioner is starting to get low on refrigerant, it could become too cold and freeze up. This is often the result of leaks in the refrigerant lines.
- Very Chilly outdoor temperatures: Using an air conditioner when it's too cold outside can cause the system to freeze. The majority of units aren't designed to operate in temperatures of less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
- Mechanical failures: Malfunctioning thermostats, damaged blower motors and trouble with the relay or control board can all result in an AC unit freezing up.
Street Heating and Cooling is the Respected Source for Air Conditioning Service in Rapid City.
At Street Heating and Cooling, we are focusing on making your home a comfortable and pleasant place. Our skilled technicians are up-to-date on the latest industry training and trends, and work on on a wide variety of systems. That’s why community members make us the premier choice for air conditioning repair in Rapid City and the surrounding cities.
If you’re planning to upgrade or its time for a new unit, we’ve got you covered there too, with our first-class air conditioning installation in Rapid City. No matter what, we can help you solve your cooling issues!
Phone Street Heating and Cooling today at 605-206-3915 to schedule an appointment or free estimate!