The components that make up your home’s air conditioner depend on each other to perform to peak capacity, and that’s why your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance should focus on two key tasks. This will enable your HVAC system to operate optimally and at peak efficiency. What are those two key tasks? Checking the airflow level and the refrigerant charge.
Your HVAC contractor should check these two key items at each HVAC maintenance visit, as well as a myriad of other important tasks, including cleaning the system’s coils and checking electrical contacts.
Understanding the importance of proper airflow
The air handler in your air-conditioning system pushes cooled air into your ductwork, which carries it to your living spaces. Your air handler must be correctly sized to meet the capacity of your A/C. As a general rule, the air handler should deliver about 400 cubic feet per minute (CFM) for each ton of your system’s estimated cooling capacity. However, there is some wiggle room to this rule. In dry climates, more airflow is necessary, generally about 450 CFM, whereas more humid climates require less (approximately 350 CFM). Your HVAC contractor should have the expertise to size your air handler according to the demands of Tucson’s climate.
Ensuring a proper refrigerant charge
Upon installation, your contractor should have checked that the refrigerant in your system was charged correctly. However, over time, even a properly charged system can succumb to leaks in the refrigerant lines. That’s why during each HVAC maintenance visit, your contractor should check your refrigerant’s charge and level. Too little refrigerant can cause your system to consume more energy to maintain your desired temperature, as well as place pressure on the compressor. This can lead to repairs down the line or an early system failure.
The size of the refrigerant lines also will dictate performance capacity. If you’re concerned that the installation of your air conditioner was performed by a less-than-experienced contractor, be sure to have its size checked too. It’s common that many homes have air-conditioning units that are too large, and therefore, inefficient.
The next time that you schedule HVAC maintenance, ask your technician about airflow and refrigerant charge, and the procedures used for checking each one. At Rite Way Ventilating Co., our comprehensive HVAC maintenance-inspection checklist always includes a check of your airflow and refrigerant charge. Contact us today to find out why hundreds of residential and commercial customers in the Greater Tucson area rely on us for HVAC maintenance, year after year.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.