How to Know if You Should Give Your AC a Break in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

used AC

May 9, 2024

Is the air conditioner in your Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, home ready for summer 2024, which experts predict will be hotter than usual?

If you’ve been replacing your AC unit’s filters once a month and setting the thermostat at the recommended 78°, your answer is likely a yes. After all, you know that these strategies help with the proper and energy-efficient use of air conditioning systems.

However, even such “properly” used AC systems will still need a break in the form of professional tune-up. While the above are undoubtedly helpful, they’re not the only things an AC needs to stay in top condition.

This guide discusses the signs that your AC needs a break and how a tune-up can help. 

Signs Your “Properly” Used AC System Needs a Break

Incomplete maintenance (or a lack of professional AC tune-ups) can lead to mold-like smells in your air conditioner. Your system may also begin to have airflow problems and become less efficient in dehumidifying indoor air. All these can happen even if you change or wash your AC filters regularly.

Your AC Smells Musty

If the only part you clean in your air conditioner is the filter, your unit can still emit musty smells. That’s because the filter isn’t the only place in your AC where molds can be present; they can also find their way into your system’s drain pan.

What’s an AC Drain Pan?

Warm, moist air passing over your AC’s cold evaporator coils creates water droplets. A drain pan serves to collect that condensation. A pipe called the drain line connects to this tray and channels the water out of your home.

Your HVAC system’s AC unit continuously “produces” condensation throughout the cooling cycle. So, as long as your air conditioner runs, your drain pan remains damp.

Problems Related to AC Drain Pans

Molds love damp environments and can multiply when their spores land in moist places. They can then keep spreading, cause property damage, and even potential health problems.

Since your AC drain pan is typically damp, it provides molds with an optimal breeding ground. That’s how it can cause musty AC smells and encourage more mold growth.

Mold colonies can also clog the pan’s drain opening and prevent the collected condensation from exiting your home. So, water can build up in the pan and trigger the AC’s wet/float switch, causing the air conditioner to turn off to prevent it from generating more condensation. 

However, a defective AC wet/float switch may not activate even with water buildup. That can lead to the pan overflowing and causing water damage.

Insufficient Cooling or Weak Airflow

Clogged filters, an obstructed condenser unit, and leaky ducts can all affect an AC’s airflow and cooling power.

The condenser unit, also called the outdoor unit, houses the condenser coil, fan, and compressor of a split AC system or heat pump. One of its primary roles is to expel the heat the indoor unit has extracted from the air during the cooling process.

Because it’s outside, the condenser unit is more susceptible to dirt and debris buildup. Any obstruction can reduce its efficiency in expelling hot air. That can affect the entire heat transfer process, potentially causing your AC to blow less cold air.

Duct leaks can also make your AC feel like it’s not blowing enough cold air. That’s because some of the conditioned air can seep out of the leaks. So, instead of cooling your home, that air goes to waste, lowering your HVAC system’s efficiency by as much as 20%

Your Ponte Vedra Beach Home Feels Muggy

Your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier, absorbing moisture from the air to make it easier to cool. It can do so thanks to its refrigerant, a chemical compound that absorbs heat and moisture.

The refrigerant flows through your AC’s condenser and evaporator coils. So, if either of these two pipes develops leaks, the refrigerant can seep out.

Without enough refrigerant, your system’s dehumidifying ability drops, and your home may feel muggy. This problem can also cause your AC to freeze or ice up.

Condenser and evaporator coils may develop leaks due to corrosion. The latter often occurs due to formic acid, a byproduct of water, copper (the coils’ material), and volatile organic compounds in the air. 

How a Tune-Up Gives Your AC a Break

A professional tune-up begins with an HVAC technician thoroughly inspecting your HVAC system. During this part, the expert will assess the condition of your AC and its components. They’ll look for potential problems, such as what we’ve discussed above, and recommend the best approach to resolve them.

After that, the pro will:

  • Clean your HVAC system’s indoor and outdoor units and their components
  • Check the refrigerant levels and look for leaks
  • Calibrate the thermostat
  • Tighten electrical connections
  • Lubricate parts as needed

So, having your AC undergo all those steps in a professional tune-up lets you enjoy the following benefits.

Improved AC Efficiency

The technician will clean all the crucial parts of your AC, from the air filters to the drain pan, coils, and fans. Once your entire AC is clean, it will cool your home more effectively than before the tune-up. So you can once again enjoy optimal cooling and comfort.

Lower Utility Bills

Incomplete maintenance can cause an air conditioner to use more energy than necessary to cool a home. That increased energy consumption then translates to higher energy bills.

Since a tune-up boosts your AC’s efficiency, it can also help control or lower your cooling bills.

Shower Your AC With Some TLC

If you think all it takes to have a “properly” used AC system is a regular filter change or the correct thermostat setting, think again. It needs more than that; it needs professional servicing or tune-up at least once a year.

So, give your AC a break and let Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning shower it with some TLC. Established in 1998, our HVAC company has served the First Coast community through our NATE-certified technicians for over 25 years. Our background and many 5-star Google reviews reflect our commitment to providing high-quality HVAC services.

So, if you’re ready for an AC tune-up, contact us today! We’ll happily give you a free inspection and estimate.

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