Many HVAC problems stem from neglecting the air conditioner and furnace in your home. Much like a car’s oil becomes dirty, decreasing its efficiency, dirt buildup on the condenser unit affects performance, energy bills and comfort in your home. But these kinds of problems are easy to address — and avoid! Read on to learn why it’s important to regularly clean the air conditioning and heating system to avoid HVAC problems.
Getting to the Root of Condenser Problems
The condenser unit plays several vital roles:
- It condenses refrigerant.
- It absorbs superheat, or it desuperheats.
- It rejects the heat load, or subcools.
When dirt builds up on the condenser or blocks the flow of air and gases, several problems occur:
- Heat transfer can’t take place: If the condenser is rife with dirt, it can’t reject the heat it takes on. This heat should be directed to the outdoors; however, dirt buildup keeps the heat inside the condenser, allowing it to reach increasingly higher operating temperatures. The system will keep running, but the temperature differential will rise and the internal pressure will increase, causing the unit to consume more and more energy to operate.
- The system uses more energy to run: Inside the condenser, there is very little room between the pistons and the valve. As the pressure increases, gas becomes trapped, which interferes with the normal opening and closing of the suction valve. As a result, the system has to run longer at a lower volume to accomplish cooling, greatly reducing its efficiency.
- Higher subcool temperatures: Simply put, as the temperature of the subcooled liquid rises, the temperature differential between the condenser and evaporator increases, reducing the systems’ cooling capacity.
- Condenser failure: As the discharge temperature rises, creating a higher internal temperature and operating pressure, the condenser has to do more work to cool the air. The increase in wear and tear (and higher temperatures) eventually causes the condenser to fail.
Solutions That Work
There’s a very simple, low-cost remedy to HVAC problems due to dirty condensers. The solution is to invest in annual tuneups for the air conditioner and furnace. Instead of allowing the condenser to become overrun with dirt, which prohibits heat transfer, reduces efficiency, raises temperature and pressure and leads to failure, the low-cost investment in a comprehensive system cleaning helps homeowners avoid having to deal with problems. By comparison, a tuneup costs around $150, whereas a condenser replacement can cost more than $1,000, according to HouseLogic.
The benefits of regular maintenance extend far beyond a clean condenser. A system that has clean and lubricated parts uses less energy, breaks down less often, lasts longer and ensures that you’re comfortable in your home. Considering the cost of having to pay for repairs or replace your system early, the return on investment in maintenance is clear.
If you need help with HVAC problems, contact Reliable Heating & Air today! We’re happy to help our neighbors with annual HVAC maintenance. We also offer a competitive, high-quality Peace of Mind HVAC Plan to help homeowners with tuneups and service.
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