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Westminster AC Repair & Maintenance Guide

April 05, 2022

Historically, many Colorado homes didn't have air conditioning. The milder temperatures and lack of humidity made it less of a necessity than in other parts of the country. That trend is quickly changing, and as many as 80% of new homes built in the state now feature air conditioning of some kind.

Today, air conditioning is more important than ever. Temperatures in Westminster can reach 90 degrees in the hot summer months, and air conditioning is the only way to keep inside temperatures cool and comfortable.

Prepare for summer by learning all about AC repair and maintenance in Westminster, Colorado.

air conditioner technician checks operation of air conditioners

The Parts of an AC Unit

Knowing the various parts of an air conditioning unit can help when you perform basic AC maintenance tasks and troubleshoot issues. These are an air conditioner's most important components.

Refrigerant

Refrigerant is a chemical used to cool the air in your home. It absorbs heat from the environment and cools it down as it passes through your air conditioning system. When hot air comes in contact with refrigerant, it turns into vapor.

There are two types of AC refrigerants. Many older units use a chemical called Freon while newer units use Puron. The use of Freon has seen a sharp decline in recent years, as Puron is a more environmentally-friendly substance.

Compressor

The compressor's main function is to pressurize your AC system and circulate the refrigerant.

It pulls air from outside and exposes them to the refrigerant. This starts the heat exchange process. 

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is the indoor component of your air conditioning unit. It plays a chief role in the heat exchange that allows air conditioners to do their job. Its role is to absorb the heat that's inside your home.

You'll find the evaporator coil attached to your furnace or air handler.

Condensing Coil

When most people imagine an air conditioner, they think of the box that sits outside their home. This is actually the condensing coil.

It works in conjunction with the evaporator coil and compressor. Once the refrigerant has turned into water vapor inside the compressor, it's routed to the condensing coil. 

The condensing coil uses a fan to cool the refrigerant, returning it to a liquid state. This allows the heat exchange process to continue.

The Most Common Types of Air Conditioners

Installing a new air conditioning unit will dramatically increase your in-home comfort level. There are a few different kinds of units to choose from, and each offers its own unique benefits.

central air conditioning set on roof building

Central Air Conditioning

This is by far the most popular kind of air conditioner in America. If you live in a newer home with air conditioning, you likely have a central air system.

These AC units make use of all the components listed above. They use refrigerant to cool outside air and blow it through your home's ductwork.

A thermostat governs their operation. It monitors the air temperature in your home and turns the system off once the desired temperature is reached.

Central air conditioning is easy to use and cools the entire home evenly. You'll simply set the thermostat and let the system get to work.

The drawback with these systems is that they need ductwork to function. If your home doesn't have ductwork, adding it can be expensive. 

Ductless Mini-Splits

If your home doesn't possess the ducts necessary for a central air system, a ductless mini-split air conditioner will be the best choice.

These cooling systems function similarly to central air. They still use a condenser and an evaporator coil, but won't route the air through ducts.

Instead, the condenser sends air directly to a wall-mounted indoor unit, which cools the room directly. Multiple indoor units can connect to a single outdoor compressor.

These systems are perfect for older homes that don't have ductwork. They are also great if you want to keep certain rooms of your house at a different temperature.

On the other hand, it's more difficult to lower the temperature of an entire house with a ductless mini-split system. You'll have to go room-by-room and set each indoor unit to the right temperature.

Evaporative Coolers

This cooling system is a little different than the typical central air or mini-split systems. Instead of using refrigerant, evaporative coolers rely only on water and fans to cool a home.

These systems pull hot air into the home and route it over moisture pads doused with water. The water on the pads cools the air, and a fan propels it into the home.

Evaporative coolers are incredibly energy-efficient, but they only work in certain climates. Fortunately, the dry Colorado weather is ideal for this kind of system.

Coolers like these may require more maintenance than other kinds of air conditioning systems. They need to be cleaned regularly to stay free of mold and mildew. 

Basic AC Maintenance Guide

Staying on top of air conditioning maintenance is important. It can prolong the life of your AC unit, improve indoor air quality, and save you money on your energy bills. 

Air Filters

Your AC unit's air filters are a vital component. They contribute to increased air quality throughout the home. Some air filters can be cleaned and reused while others must be discarded and replaced. Never attempt to reuse a disposable air filter.

Dirty air filters can reduce your system's efficiency, so you'll want to keep an eye on them during the summer months. If a filter is saturated with debris, it can end up in your ducts or be deposited directly on your evaporator coil.

backyard air conditioner

Outside Unit

Keep the outside component of your air conditioner in working order by cleaning it regularly. Dirt and debris around the condensing coil reduce its ability to cool refrigerants.

Before you begin working, be sure to shut off the power to the unit.

Using a screwdriver, you can open the cage that covers the condenser. With it open, use a vacuum to remove any debris that has worked its way inside.

Condenser Fins

The fins you see on your AC condenser help increase its surface area so it can more effectively cool the air. However, a build-up of grime on these can restrict airflow.

Take a hose and rinse them clean. If you notice any bent fins, you can attempt to straighten them with a butter knife.

Clean Outside Area

With the interior of the condensing unit clean, turn your attention to the area around it. Rake any leaves and trim any foliage that is growing near the unit.

Leaves can fall between the bars of the unit's cage, so try to trim your foliage back at least two feet on all sides. When your AC unit isn't in use during the winter months, use a cover to keep it clear of snow.

Cleaning the Evaporator Coil

With the power to the AC unit still turned off, open the door to the evaporator coil. Spray a special contactless cleaning solution on the coil and let it drip into the pan below. Then, clean the drainage area with a mixture of water and a bit of bleach.

Common AC Issues

Even with regular maintenance, your AC unit may experience issues over the course of its lifespan. Air conditioners are major appliances and complex machines that rely on electrical wiring to function, so it's always advised that you consult with an AC repair service instead of attempting to fix them yourself.

AC Won't Shut Off

This is the most common issue that air conditioners experience, and it needs to be tended to as soon as possible. If your unit won't shut off on its own, you risk damaging its internal components.

Many issues can cause this, and a Westminster AC repair technician is typically able to identify the problem immediately.

Short Cycling

If your AC unit runs for a bit and then shuts off, only to turn back on again soon after, it's short cycling. It can be caused by dirty filters or a faulty thermostat. Air conditioning services may also inform you that your unit is too powerful for your home.

Isn't Turning On

If your air conditioner won't turn on, your issue is most likely electrical. The wiring or thermostat may be failing. Hiring Westminster AC repair services are the only safe way to remedy this.

AC Isn't Cooling the Home

If your AC unit is on but it isn't cooling your home, check to see if it's blowing warm air. If it is, you may have low refrigerant levels or an overheating compressor. If no air is coming out, you may need a new blower belt or more refrigerant.

No matter what the issue is, an HVAC repair service will clear it up in short order. 

JD's Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning Denver, CO

Trusted AC Repair and Maintenance in Westminster, Colorado

Your air conditioner is an important part of your home. No matter what kind of AC unit you use, maintenance keeps it doing its job. Should an issue arise, don't hesitate to turn to professional services in Westminster.

Looking for the best AC Repair and Maintenance in Westminster, Colorado? JD's Plumbing offers heating and cooling services to the Denver Metro area. Reach out to schedule an appointment today.

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