Types of Freon Used in Home A/C Units
There are two kinds of Freon that are in use today regarding home A/C systems. These are known as R-22 and R-410A. R-22 has been used since the 1950's and some units today, still use this type of Freon. Air Conditioning systems today are made to use R-410A Freon.
How does this affect you? If you have an older system and need to replace the outside condensing unit, you may be told that you have to replace the evaporator coil as well. If you buy a new condensing unit that uses R-410A Freon, you would need the appropriate matching evaporator coil. However if you really do not have the money to replace both the condensing unit and the coil, you may still buy a condensing unit that uses R-22 Freon and consider the upgrade later. You do not have as many choices as to the brand or efficiency, but they are still some available. This may be your best option if the evaporator coil is still in good shape and money is a concern. Also the cost of R-22 is rising rapidly and will only become more costly in the years to come. The government is reducing the amount of R-22 being produced every year until the year 2020 when no new R-22 will be produced.
However, recycled R-22 will still be available and some replacement refrigerants are becoming available for R-22.
Get the Jump on Summer Temperatures
March is a good time for getting your A/C system checked for the air conditioning season. Be sure to have a clean air filter. Check to see where your air filter is located. If you have a whole house air filter, it is in the attic behind the furnace. Many people forget about this filter. If you have an up-flow system, the filter is located at the bottom of the furnace. These filters, generally need to be changed every 4 - 6 months, depending on conditions.
On a day that is warm enough, "upper 60's to low 70's", turn the system on and let it run for 10 to 15 minutes. After that time, see that all the parts of the system are running. You should feel warm air out of the top of the outside condenser unit. The large Freon line, that is covered with black insulation, should be very cool to the touch and about the temperature of a cool can of soda on any exposed section of the copper tubing, that the black insulation doesn't cover. It usually will be moist as well.
The inside fan should be blowing cool air from the registers and from the ceiling grills. The temperature of this air is usually 15 - 18 degrees cooler than the temperature inside the home. This is a general indication that the system is full of Freon.
If the above conditions do not exist, turn off the system and call your A/C service company. Also look for any water dripping from the overflow line located on the outside of the home under the soffit. This indicates that there is a problem with the water being removed from the air, and could cause damage to your home if left in this condition.
Cleaning the Outside A/C Unit
Replace the A/C filter every month.
Turn off the breaker to the outside A/C unit. Wash the outside A/C coils with a water hose and spray nozzle. Most units have a wire cage or a louvered panel. Start in one area of the coil spraying water through the fins of the coils. Proceed slowly until you have flushed water through the entire coil. This takes about 15 - 30 minutes. Let the unit dry out for about 30 minutes before resetting the breaker and turning it back on.
Remember your A/C unit has to breathe just like you do. By keeping the inside filter clean and the outside condensing coil clean, you can make sure that it has all the "air" it needs, so it can give you all the "air" you need during the hot months ahead.
Be ready to take the Heat
As this cooling season gets underway, there is something you may not know about your air conditioning unit. Most people do not realize how much water the A/C removes from the air in their home each day.
Most systems remove from 5 - 12 gallons of water each day. The air conditioner's cooling coil drains this water into the plumbing drain system of the home. If the cooling coil is in the attic, it has a drain pan that sits underneath this coil. There is a PVC pipe or hose that connects to this pan, and then runs to the outside of the house at the roofline. If you see water dripping out of this pipe, call an HVAC company as soon as possible to correct this.
There are 2 sets of drain lines on most Air Conditioning units. The main drain line, drains the water from the coil, and if it is working properly, you never see any water. If it gets plugged up, the water drips into the pan that is connected to the PVC pipe that runs to the outside of the house. The pan under the cooling coil is called an overflow pan. Its name tells you its function. If this line gets plugged or does not drain properly, the next stop for the water is on your ceiling.
Remember - water does not come out of overflow pan drain lines unless there is a problem, if it does; call your HVAC service company ASAP.
The dog days of summer are here. Getting thru August's heat and humidity can be easier, if the thermometer and the humidity levels in your home are both working properly. The thermostat may read 76 degrees but if the humidity level is not right it will not feel 76 degrees.
You may notice the air just does not feel crisp coming out of the vents like it used to. Check your filters first to see if they are dirty. If they are ok, you may be low on Freon. Even a pound down on Freon will make the air inside your home uncomfortable with this noticeable change. Inspecting the ductwork upstairs in the attic, making sure the duct connections are still intact, where accessible, is another way a homeowner can visually see any potential problems. You may discover a piece of duct has come loose from the tape and you are air-conditioning your attic too!
The evaporator coil, (part of your central air conditioning and heating system), may be dirty or have a problem which would make the air conditioner unable to dehumidify properly. If your air conditioner does not cool like it used to or you notice a change in it's performance, give us a call.
Stay cool with JACK FROST!
FALL - is a beautiful four letter word. Now is the time to get your furnace checked, so it can be in tip top shape, for the cool days that are ahead of us. As important as the proper operation of the furnace is, the safety of the furnace is even more important. Unsafe furnaces can cause a fire or worse.
- Inspection of the venting system.
- Check for flammable materials that are too close to the furnace.
- Check for any gas leaks in or around the furnace.
- Look for any rust in the furnace and remove.
- Check proper operation of all components of the furnace.
- Check electrical wiring in the furnace as well as the ductwork that is attached to the furnace.
- Check air filters and replace if dirty.
- Perform a carbon monoxide test on gas furnaces.
- Check thermostat operation- replace batteries on digital thermostats.
- Check for proper heat rise of air coming from vents.
Call your HVAC company to schedule a fall - winter furnace check-up, to insure your family a safe and economical heating season.