Early spring brings green lawns, budding trees, sprouting bulbs, and warmer weather. Along with this seasonal change comes flyers, postcards, newsletters and emails from air conditioning contractors throughout your local area. Sporting different services from AC Tune-Ups to Safety and Efficiency Check-Ups, your local HVAC contractor is making it known that there are several things a homeowner should do annually in an effort to maintain central air conditioning.
Is it necessary? The answer is, undoubtedly, without hesitation… YES. Annual AC Tune-up are a great way to start out the season. Maintaining your system each year will improve its efficiency and functionality.
So, you contact your local AC Contractor and schedule a Tune-Up. The technician arrives on a day that the temperature is above 50 degrees, sets the thermostat to the ‘cool’ position, changes your disposable filter and walks outside to the lonely condensing unit that has sat patiently awaiting this day. He throws a pair of gauges on your outdoor unit, waits a few seconds and frowns. Oh, Mrs. “Happy Customer”, he begins to explain… it seems your system is flat. Flat? you ask… The ac tech begins to explain that your system is totally empty, no refrigerant, meaning there’s no way it will cool. You’ve got a refrigeration leak! This example is only one of many repairs that may be necessary, but it’s a great place to start to prove a point. Get the facts about replacing freon see this.
So what’s a homeowner to do? Here’s where a multitude of questions arise. And, here are some thoughts we’d like to share.
The first step in attempting to resolve your situation is to recharge your central air conditioner. This is not an inexpensive repair, but necessary to get your system running. So reluctantly you may opt to do this.
How do you make the determination as to whether this is the right choice? We’ll tell you how…
Depending on the age of your system, this may be right for you. If your system is less than 10 years old, and has otherwise experienced no major repairs, go ahead and have this service completed. Because the refrigerant of older systems is on its way to becoming obsolete, it’s a costly repair. But it may work for a season or more. As a note, in 2012 the cost of R22 refrigerant has skyrocketed because it is in a phase out stage, soon to become unavailable. Today’s refrigerants are safe for the ozone layer.
Is your system older? Then the repair may be wrong for you. Your options here are to do what we refer to in the industry as a ‘leak check’. After the system is recharged, a special photo-fluorescent dye is injected into your system and allowed to circulate while the system is running. Your AC service tech will return in a few days to perform a leak check with a special light that may locate the leak, a repair might be effected and your in business. This assumes that the leak is easily located and not deep within the coils of the system.
Now, it’s possible that your system may lose the refrigerant charge before the tech returns. That’s not a good sign. Here’s where decision making comes into the picture.