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Four jobs to do to get the best out of your air conditioning system


It’s the time of year – late March – when Arizona homeowners start worrying about having an expert heating and cooling technician inspect their air conditioner. That’s great, but in fact, you probably should have a fall inspection too for your heating system.

And if you have a heat pump, some HVAC experts say your combined heating and cooling system should receive maintenance twice a year.

Here are four jobs to do to get the best out of your air conditioning system, depending on its location, according to Marla Islas, general manager at Temperature Control in Tucson.

1 – Clean up any dirt, leaves and debris outside the outdoor compressor that contains the cooling fins and fan for your AC. That fan sucks air through the fins to cool a coolant that the compressor then pumps into the house through a copper tube. Remember, you don’t want to plant large bushes or trees right next to that compressor either. Wind and rain can blow plant debris into the compressor.

2 — You can even rinse off fan blades with a water hose if the compressor is easily accessible. If you haven’t done this before, ask your AC service technician how to do it.

3 – If your furnace and AC unit are in the house and easily accessible – perhaps in a closet — inspect the cabinet for holes or leaks that a technician could fix. And don’t store any boxes or liquids or anything at all in that closet that might interfere with how your AC performs.

4 – Replace the air intake filters for your HVAC system every month.

Here are four problems to report when a technician pays a visit:

1 – Any unusual odors or noises in the house when your system starts up.

2 – Your AC system seems to blow all the time and never shuts off. That could mean that your system is running low on refrigerant.

3 – Barely any air comes out of the vents in your home.

4 – Unusual leaks seem to occur in your ceiling when it’s not raining. Or perhaps excessive water is coming out of plumbing pipe outlets near an outdoor compressor. That might mean an AC problem. Heavy leaks on your roof may be due to problems with an evap cooler.

Special tip about your AC: The air coming out of your vents should be about 20 degrees cooler than air going into your intake vent. Technicians call this the Delta-T. Anything greatly more or less than 20 degrees may mean something’s wrong. Hardware stores sell simple thermometers (about $10) that you can use to measure the temperature.

Rosie on the House

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