KNOWLEDGE CENTER

Repair vs. Replace

When to Repair vs. Replace Your System

Air Conditioning systems in cooler climates can last 2 or 3 times longer than the same air conditioner in a hot climate. Increased run times and very high heat lead to system wear out and quicker failure. HVACopcost.com calculates the average operating hours for an air conditioner to be 4 times greater in our desert climate than moderate climates like Illinois or Michigan. A home heating and cooling system is not just a matter of comfort but a matter of safety.

When to Repair you air conditioner:

• Old air conditioning equipment becomes expensive to repair and offers no guarantee that additional problems are not close behind.
• If you plan on moving soon, you may not get your investment price from a replacement air conditioning unit when you sell.
• A replacement that involves other trades may be cost prohibitive. In rare situations, a new air conditioning system can require significant remodeling.
• The system has been trouble free thus far and looks to be mechanically sound still.

When to replace your air conditioner:

• If the equipment has reached 6 years old be careful not to throw good money after bad with repairs. The average life span of an air conditioning unit is 6 to 12 years.
• If the system is older than 12 years, major improvements in efficiency could be saving you BIG money. Super-efficient, modern equipment can save $1,000 or more per year.
• If you are not comfortable. Today’s modern air conditioning comfort systems can virtually eliminate hot and cold areas, high and low humidity, bad air quality, high utility bills, noisy indoor and outdoor equipment, and much more.
• If your system does not have variable air flow. Variable air flow is the key to comfort. New systems keep the air moving, adding to comfort and helping save money.
• If you are concerned about break downs. When an old system fails under the intense summer heat, a replacement air conditioner can easily be a week to 10 days away • Replace before the summer crunch hits. Do not pay higher summer prices. Many small air conditioning contractors prey on homeowners who must replace in summer when reputable companies get busy.
• If family members have allergies, asthma or other air quality health concerns. Indoor air quality can be improved throughout the whole house by 100 times with today’s high tech IAQ technology and air conditioning products.
• Replace before manufactures and utility companies’ rebates run out. Equipment manufacturers rebates are usually available through May. APS and SRP rebates can be discontinued at any time.


HOW AC WORKS

Central air conditioning is a necessity in Arizona But it’s also a mystery to most of us. How does central air conditioning get and keep our homes so pleasantly cool? What do you do if your air conditioner is not running properly? Here’s some basic information about the way your central air conditioner functions to help you understand

Air Conditioners Draw Heat Out

Air conditioners basically function the same way as your refrigerator does. In fact, your fridge is essentially an air conditioner that’s attached to an insulated box. Both of them work on the theory of drawing heat out of a room or other space (not, as is commonly believed, adding cool air into it). The final result is a space that has less heat in it, offering a much cooler feel.

Air conditioning also takes advantage of the way evaporation works to make us feel cooler. Ever had a swab of alcohol placed on your skin? The fast evaporation of the alcohol made your skin feel cool, but it wasn’t actually lowering your skin temperature, just drawing heat from the air to turn the alcohol into a gas.

Air conditioning units have a special kind of chemical in them, referred to as a refrigerant. Freon was one of the older chemicals used for this purpose, but its ozone depleting effects have caused it to be replaced by other substitute refrigerants. All refrigerants have the ability to evaporate, or change from liquid to gas, in a very short amount of time.

At the factory, the refrigerant will be pumped into the air conditioning or other cooling unit, plus some lubricating oil to keep the compressor working. It should never exit the unit, and if you have a refrigerant leak, you’re losing cooling ability, as well as causing environmental damage. That’s why correct central air conditioning installation and routine checks are important.(Seasonal Tune-Up)

There are a number of basic parts to the average central air conditioning unit. They are the:

• Condenser (Outdoor Coil)
• Evaporator (Indoor Coil)
• Compressor
• Expansion valve
• Thermostat

An air conditioner may also have thin metal fins on the condenser and evaporator. These allow heat to quickly be dissipated. The compressor is usually the heaviest part of the unit, as it has to be strong enough to stand the immense amount of pressure it’s under.

The Air Conditioning Process

1) The refrigerant enters the compressor. This usually happens at the bottom of the unit, but some other arrangements exist. The refrigerant is a cool gas at this point, but as it enters the inner chamber of the compressor, it is compressed, becoming an extremely warm gas under very high pressure.

2) The refrigerant then passes through a number of condensing coils that are located outside of the house. The heat in it dissipates into the air outside, the same way a radiator in a car removes the heat from engine coolant. Once the refrigerant makes its way to the end of the coils, it’s a lot cooler, has condensed to a liquid but still under a lot of pressure. It’s a lot like the liquid in an aerosol can, in fact.

3) The liquid refrigerant will then be forced through an extremely tiny opening. This is the expansion valve, and it works a lot like that aerosol can’s sprayer, creating an extremely fine mist of refrigerant. Refrigerants evaporate at a much lower temperature than other liquids, including water, so they start evaporating quickly as they travel through another set of coils.

This evaporation works like the alcohol on your skin, drawing heat from the surrounding air in your home. The fans blow air across metal fins that are located over these coils. Air comes to them through the duct work in your home, and leaves feeling much cooler.

4) Now the refrigerant in the gas stage goes back into the compressor. It keeps going around and around through the system until the thermostat registers that a specific temperature has been reached. Then the compressor shuts off and the action stops. Once the room warms up again, the thermostat sense this added heat, kicking the compressor back on again to pressurize the refrigerant.

Efficiency is Important

Of course, your central air conditioning system won’t have to work as hard or use as much energy if you take other measures to keep your home cool, like keeping the doors closed and the window shades down, and sealing air leaks that could cause the heat from outside to come into your house.

A central air conditioning unit is much more efficient than a window mounted air conditioner, as it is able to cool the whole house. Installation in homes that already have forced air furnaces is simple, too – that’s because you can use the existing duct system and just hook the air conditioning equipment up to it.

If your home is older and uses radiators, or some other method of heating, installation of a central air conditioner may be more complicated and costly, since the house will have to be fitted for ductwork. Remember to choose a unit of the correct size to cool the space in your home – units that aren’t large enough won’t provide enough cooling, and overly large units may be a waste of energy.

Expert Installation of Your Air Conditioning System

Installing a new, energy efficient central air conditioning unit is an excellent decision for any home owner who wants to add value to a home and improve the comfort of living. This upgrade can make a big difference in how your home feels in the summer.

Just remember it’s important to have your air conditioning system installation performed by an experienced professional. Galvez Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc has been in business in Arizona for many years and is listed by the majority of home builders in the area to install air conditioners in their new homes.

To keep your system in tip-top shape, consider our air conditioner maintenance agreement. You’ll save money in the long run by keeping your unit maintained properly.

If anything goes wrong, don’t hesitate to call us. It’s important to have your central air conditioning system serviced by Galvez Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc, we are the experts.


Common Repairs

Listed below are some of the more common items that need repair in an air conditioning system. Please click on each item to learn more about the causes and effects of each potential malfunction.

York is a leading air conditioning, heating, refrigeration, and ventilating company, with more than 20 worldwide manufacturing facilities and sales offices in over 100 countries.

• Electrical Components Fuses
• Contactor/Relay
• Capacitors
• Defrost Control
• Gas Valve
• Furnace Circuit Board
• Outdoor Fan Motor
• Indoor Fan Motor

• Compressor Piping Components Refrigerant Metering Device
• Reversing Valve
• Restrictions
• Indoor Coil
• Drain Lines

Electrical Components

Fuses

The Fuses and circuit breakers in the electrical supply to your air conditioning system have large demands. Their purpose is to prevent excessive load on the supply circuit, which could overload the entire system. Fuses can fail from age, a loose connection, an electrical storm, a faulty electrical component in the unit, or from simply being loose in their holder. Typically, a faulty fuse will result in no operation at all or only the indoor circulating fan working. Back To Top

Contactor/Relay

Relays are electrically controlled switches that turn the motors, or other components of the system, on and off. There are a variety of relays in any given system and the thermostat operates most of them. The largest relay is called the contactor, and it controls the power to the compressor. These devices can fail when the contact surfaces stop making contact, become stuck in the on position, or they turn on the wrong component. Also, each time one of these switches turns on and off, the contact surfaces pit from electrical arching, eventually causing wear and tear.

Capacitors

A Capacitor helps your air conditioning systems’ motor start from a stand still and run efficiently. Capacitors are filled with an oil-like fluid that acts like an insulator. Capacitors can weaken over time decreasing the motors efficiency. Heat can also cause them to swell, leak and fail. On occasion, a capacitor’s circuitry will open, and will need to be replaced. A weakening capacitor usually has no noticeable effect on your system’s operation; however it could be causing the motor to run warmer than normal, shortening its life expectancy. Once a capacitor has failed, the motor will not run.

Defrost Control

A Defrost Control limits the amount of ice that can form on you air conditioning system. An electric heat pump heats the home by extracting heat from the outdoor air. To do this, the system must operate at very cold temperatures. By operating at these temperatures, the outdoor unit can build up ice, decreasing its ability to heat. A defrost control will turn off the outdoor fan and place the system into a type of cooling mode to melt the ice. A faulty defrost control in the heating mode can prevent the system from going into the heat mode or allow excessive ice to build upon the unit, resulting in poor performance. A failure in the cooling mode can prevent the outdoor fan from running, resulting in a loss of cooling. Back To Top

Gas Valve

A Gas Valve is found in a gas furnace. When a signal is received from the thermostat, the gas valve controls the amount of gas needed for heating. A gas valve can fail from electrical or mechanical reasons. Debris or moisture in the gas piping can cause a valve to stick in the on or off position. A gas valve can fail at any time, but most fail after sitting idle over the summer. Normally a gas valve failure will result in no heat. Back To Top

Furnace Circuit Board

A Furnace Circuit Board performs a variety of functions, from normal operation of the furnace, to the monitoring of the furnace’s safety circuits. The furnace circuit board can fail for a variety of reasons. The normal vibration of the system can weaken the solder joints in its circuitry, causing a failure. A short, or electrical failure, of the components connected to the module can damage the internal circuitry. Also, if it becomes exposed to moisture or excessive dirt, the circuitry can become damaged. The failure of a furnace circuit board can have multiple effects, ranging from the indoor fan not turning on in the cooling mode, or a complete loss of heat. Back To Top

Outdoor Fan Motor

the Outdoor Fan Motor, also referred to as the Condenser Fan, draws air through the air conditioning unit to cool it off. Often, this motor can be viewed from the top of the outdoor unit and has a propeller type fan blade and discharges air out of the top of the unit. Due to their location, these motors are subject to year round weather conditions, in addition to all of the indoor heat removed while cooling a home. An outdoor fan can fail from wear and tear. Because they are running every time the outdoor unit is in operation, these motors can accumulate between one and two thousand hours of operation a year. Also, the harsh desert conditions subject the motors to extreme heat, weakening its electrical components. In the early stages of failure an outdoor fan motor in the cooling mode may work through the night and morning hours but overheat and stop in the afternoon heat. This can result in the rest of the system overheating and stopping for several hours. Once the motor fails completely, the unit will no longer function. Continued running with a faulty outdoor fan motor can stress the system and eventually cause a compressor failure, and a much more costly repair. Back To Top

Indoor Fan Motor

The Indoor Fan Motor, or Blower Motor, circulates the air from the home through the heating and cooling system. These motors run constantly when the unit is heating or cooling, but can also be set to run even when the air conditioning unit is off. An indoor fan motor can fail from normal wear and tear, or from electrical problems. If dust collects in the motor, it can cause hot spots on the electrical windings and damage them. If dust forms on the fan wheel, it may cause the wheel to spin out of balance. The more out of balance a blower wheel is, the more stress it places on the motor bearings. Early signs of motor failure due to the bearings will be increased operating sound. Total failure of the motor will result in no heating or cooling. The system may try and work, but it will not be able to circulate air from the home. If left to run in this state for too long, other heating and cooling components can be strained or compromised. Back To Top

Compressor

The Compressor acts as a pump to circulate refrigerant through the air conditioning system. It resides in the outdoor unit, and like the engine of a car, has an audible sound when in use. Compressors can fail for a variety of reasons, including the motor bearings simply wearing out. Most times, a compressor will be strained by the failure of another component, such as a fan motor or the capacitor. Electrical storms can cause problems for a compressor, and almost always produce a noticeable increase in compressor replacements. Early signs of compressor failure may be a decrease in performance or an increase in operating sound. Total failure will result in no cooling, or no heating from a heat pump. Back To Top Piping Components

Refrigerant Metering Device

The Refrigerant Metering Device controls the flow of refrigerant through the air conditioning system much like a traffic light controls the flow of traffic down a street. All air conditioning systems will have at least one refrigerant metering device, and heat pumps will have two. Much of a system’s efficiency is derived from the proper operation of this device. Too little refrigerant flow will cause the system to have reduced performance, and could cause the compressor to overheat. Too much refrigerant circulating though the system could overwhelm the compressor, causing damage. Often, a total failure of this component will result in the system not cooling or heating at all. Back To Top

Reversing Valve

Reversing Valves are only found on electric heat pumps and are used to reverse the flow of refrigerant from the cooling mode to the heating mode and back again. They reside in the outdoor unit, and all of the system’s refrigerant flows through them. The failure of a reversing valve can cause the system to stick in the heating or cooling mode. At times, the valve may fail in an intermediate position resulting in the system not working. Any debris in the system can cause the reversing valve to fail. Also, normal wear of other components in the refrigerant system, or the failure of a compressor or other device, can cause the reversing valve to fail. Back To Top

Restrictions

A Restriction, or blockage, in the refrigerant system of a air conditioning unit can come in varying degrees. Screens, strainers or filters in the refrigerant system are installed in an effort to trap debris and prevent the failure of various components. However, large amounts of debris can result in a restriction, reducing the refrigerant flow through the system. A slight restriction may result in decreased performance. A larger restriction can result in the system not cooling or heating at all. Back To Top

Indoor Coil

An Indoor Coil is a heat transfer device. The indoor coil absorbs the heat from the home’s indoor air, and passes it to the system’s refrigerant, which is then pumped outside. As the air passes across the coil, any airborne dust or lint that collects on the coil reduces its ability to perform. Also, to provide the highest level of heat transfer, the metal used is extremely thin. Airborne chemicals, detergents and cleaners can start corrosion, resulting in leaks. A coil in need of cleaning may have lower performance, or can ice up from the low airflow. A leaking indoor coil may operate for weeks, or even months, depending on the leak rate, but should be repaired or replaced to prevent further, more costly, damage. Leaks can occur in such locations that an attempted repair is not practical, and the entire unit may need to be replaced. Back To Top

Outdoor Coil

An Outdoor Coil is a heat transfer device. The outdoor coil draws the outdoor air across the coil to absorb the heat from the refrigerant. An outdoor coil should be cleaned periodically. Any dirt and dust in the air can be trapped on the coil and restrict its airflow and reduce its performance. They can also develop leaks from the constant vibration of the compressor, weakening the solder joints and tubing. The refrigerant is under very high pressures in the outdoor coil and even the smallest leak can result in a complete loss of the refrigerant charge. Any dirt and debris in the coil can increase these pressures straining the coil’s integrity. Back To Top

Drain Lines

Drain Lines allow your air conditioning system to drain off the water it has condensed from the air. Over time the drain line can become blocked and cause the drain pan in the unit to overflow. Dust and dirt from the indoor coil can be washed into the drain line, where it settles and causes blockage. Unlike the failure of most other items in the system, a drain line failure can result in expensive water damage repairs. Drain lines rarely give warning prior to becoming blocked and should be cleared annually. Back To Top

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