Time to Check out the AC

in Real Estate News

Now is the time to Check it out before you need to turn it on. If you need an expert for this, call me at (877-ANNETTE)

Start With the Thermostat

How to tell if an air conditioning unit is working wellIt may sound obvious, but the first place to start with your hands-on check of the air conditioning system in your future home is the thermostat. Turn the temperature down several degrees to ensure the unit will remain running for at least 10 minutes before it cycles off again.

Make your way around the house while the unit is running, checking each vent for cool air output. Every vent should have air of roughly the same temperature and pressure escaping into the room. If one or two vents have a problem with the temperature or pressure, be sure to note it. This could be a sign of a duct that has come loose.

With the cool air still blowing, walk outside to observe the condenser unit in action. It should run smoothly, without making any unusual sounds, and it should run continuously until the house has reached the desired temperature. A unit that kicks on and off frequently may have a variety of serious problems and should be checked by a licensed professional.

You can use a probe thermometer to check the temperature differential between the return air duct and the vents. With the air conditioner running on a day when the outdoor temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, insert the thermometer into the vent nearest the air handler or furnace and leave it in place until the temperature reading is steady. Note the reading and move your thermometer to the return air duct, placing it inside the grill and leaving it in place for a reading. Subtract the conditioned air temperature from the return air temperature. A temperature difference of 14 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.

Check the Outdoor Condenser

Check outdoor condenser when determining if AC unit is functioning properlyIf everything looks good on the inside of the condenser, move outdoors to give the condenser a thorough once-over. On the back of the air conditioner, toward the ground, you’ll see two knob-like protrusions with tubes coming out of them. Carefully peel back the insulation from the insulated tube and feel it. It should be cool to the touch, especially if the air conditioner has run for more than 10 minutes. Check the other tube – it should feel warm. These two tubes are important parts of the condensation process. If the condenser isn’t working properly, you may be able to tell by the temperature of the tubes.

While you’re back there, look for a plate attached to the outside of the unit. On it will be several vital pieces of information about the air conditioner, including the manufacturer, model number, size, and the manufacture date. You can search the Web by the model number to find the manufacturing date if it’s not handy on the label. An air conditioner more than 10 years old is probably due for a replacement – these units have typical life spans of 10 to 15 years under ideal conditions.

Find the Evaporator Coil

More likely than not, the evaporator coil is located inside the furnace, so this is your next destination. Check that the filter is clean and the condensation line is flowing freely. The filter is easy enough – just slide it out and take a quick look. If it’s clogged with dust, it could explain low air pressure at vents or inadequate cooling. (But you should still have a professional check it.) The condensation line will have to be removed from the furnace to check how smoothly it’s running. Use a funnel to pour some water down the line and watch how quickly it comes out the other end. A clogged condensation line will empty slowly, if it empties at all.

The last things you should check, if you can access them, are the ducts themselves. This is pretty easy in a basement home, but if you’re dealing with a house with ductwork in the attic or crawlspace, get ready to get very dirty. Check the entire length of the ductwork for loose fittings, rusted out elbows, and sections that may be hanging and disconnected. Loose ducts invite dirt into the system and spew expensive conditioned air into spaces that don’t need it, robbing the interior spaces that do.

When you’re shopping for your next home, it’s important to understand the basics of checking the air conditioning unit. After all, replacing this complex piece of equipment right after you move in isn’t something to look forward to.(realestate.com)

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