Cooling Coil or Evaporator Coil Diagnosis & Repair for Air Conditioners

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Inside the air handler of your air conditioning system is a cooling coil or evaporator coil. From a home cooling perspective, this is where the magic happens: where the actual cooling occurs. So, if there is a problem with the cooling or evaporator coil, you will notice a decrease in the performance of your AC system.

You may notice that the air flow has slowed significantly or even stopped, even though you can hear the air handler running. You may also notice that the air isn’t as cool as it used to be or should be. Aside from having a house that is not cool enough, this can also cause problems like high electricity bills or damage to other parts of the air conditioner. Use this quick guide to start diagnosing and repairing the problem.

 Diagnosis

For starters, just try to get a good look at the cooling coil. Some problems are obvious enough upon visual inspection that no further diagnostics or major repair is necessary. To inspect the cooling coil on your air conditioner, first turn off the electricity at your fuse panel or breaker box Then, locate the access panel on the air handler that can be removed to at least partially expose the coil. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for help.

Once you are able to see the cooling coil, look for things like:

  • Dirt and debris
  • Mold
  • Staining that indicates a refrigerant leak
  • Ice or frost
  • Damaged fins on the coil

 Repair

Any of these could be the culprit that is degrading the performance of your AC system. Some of these you can take care of pretty simply on your own – if there is obvious debris that you can remove safely, do so – but for most repairs you will want to call in a licensed Atlanta AC technician. Especially if the problem is something potentially hazardous like mold growth or a refrigerant leak, you don’t want to take the risk. Let a professional who is trained in safely and effectively repairing the problem take care of it, so that your home can be comfortable again. Call Cool Air Mechanical today if you nee any air conditioning repair in the Metro Atlanta area!

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Atlanta Air Conditioning Guide: Indoor Air Conditioning Components

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Air conditioning in Atlanta is a modern convenience that we can easily take for granted as long as all the parts are working well.  In every unit, no matter the size, the basic process is one of extracting heat from the conditioned space and moving it to the outside, leaving cool air in its place.

This process easily divides into indoor and outdoor components.

Air Conditioning 101

Based on the principal of thermal energy which states that heat gravitates toward cooler temperatures, compounds known as refrigerants are moved through a closed loop system, repeatedly contracting and expanding between liquid and gas forms, alternately releasing and absorbing heat along the way.  The particular chemicals are selected for their abilities to transform from one state to the other at low temperatures.

While the refrigerant evaporates into a gaseous state within the looped system, it absorbs heat, removing the stale air from the space being conditioned and evacuating it to the outdoors. The warm air is pulled through ducts to meet with the cooling loop.

Ductwork

The cooled air is distributed through ducts or tubing and released into individual spaces.  Additional ductwork is required to remove the stale air and pull it back to be reconditioned as it passes over the loop containing the refrigerant.  The air is moved in both directions by a blower, usually electric and sized to handle the amount of air no matter the building.

Ductwork is also sized to handle appropriate volumes of air. To maintain efficiency, large trunks distribute along central lines to smaller ones reaching farther out. The return air is usually taken from common areas.

The grates are found in the walls, floors and often as part of the dropped ceiling. When combined with a forced air heating system, the total energy use is much more efficient.

Looped Coils

The refrigerant is enclosed in a loop where it can expand and contract to make its transformation from gas to liquid and back again.  To change into a heat-absorbing gas, it travels through the evaporating coils, an intricate series of delicate fins that meets with the ductwork to regenerate the conditioned air.

An exchange valve allows just the right amount of liquid refrigerant into the evaporator coils.  If there is too much, the tube is flooded too tightly to allow expansion of the molecules and room to attract the heat.  If too little, the process is inefficient.

Cool Maintenance

When set up and maintained on a regular basis, your Atlanta air conditioning system should function with little attention and over sight. To schedule a maintenance visit today, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

 

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This Weekend’s Atlanta Area Events

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Are you looking for some activities for you and your family this weekend? We have a great list of Atlanta area family friendly events.

Events | Atlanta | Cool Air Mechanical

Canton Festival of the Arts
Saturday, May 19th
Brown Park, Canton, GA

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Career Fair and Exhibition
Saturday, May 19th
Georgia Tech Ballroom, Atlanta, GA

Farmers Market at Sweet Apple Village
Thursday, May 17th
Sweet Apple Village, Roswell, GA

Georgia Renaissance Festival
Saturday, May 19th
Georgia Renaissance Festival Grounds, Fairburn, GA

Cool Air Mechanical is happy to provide services for all of your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality needs. Check out our specials and promotions, and give us a call today to find out how we can make your home a more comfortable place.

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Atlanta AC Tip: Save Energy and Save Money This Summer

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Though we hate to admit it, we all do it without thinking: turn our Atlanta AC higher instead of turning on a fan, or forget about the thermostat settings which are set to full-blast when we are not at home.  Oftentimes it is the simple things which can have the most impact, and with saving energy this is true as well.

Households throughout the US will spend somewhere between $1,200 and $2,200 per year on energy costs.  With the cost of living in many areas of life skyrocketing, it’s nice to know there are some easy ways to lower at least one household bill: the energy bill.  Of course, some of these fixes are free, and some cost a little time and energy, while others must be paid for as long-term investments.

 Free, Do-It-Yourself Energy Solutions

These quick and easy, do-it-yourself, no cost solutions produce energy saving results almost immediately!

  • Adjust the air conditioning thermostat to higher numbers, such as 78 while at home and 85 or higher when away.  Supplement AC usage with a ceiling or room fan, as moving air feels cooler on the skin.
  • Eliminate wasted energy by turning off appliances, lights, and equipment when not in use, unplug electronic chargers when not in use, and get rid of spare appliances such as refrigerators which are plugged in but not in use.
  • Put those dishwashing gloves away and let the dishwasher do the dirty-work!  Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand.  In addition, let the dishes air-dry rather than running through the heat-cycle to save even more.
  • Do laundry more efficiently by washing and rinsing in only cold water, and line dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Use the microwave to cook and not only speed up the cooking process, but use two-thirds less energy than a stove or conventional oven.

 Low-Cost, Economical Energy Solutions

Most of these energy saving options can be procured at the local hardware store, are fairly inexpensive, and can be easily done by any competent home-owner.

  • Replace HVAC filters regularly, according to manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Weather-proof your home by plugging air leaks on doors and windows with weather stripping, sealant, or caulk where applicable.
  • Purchase and install ENERGY STAR® certified products such as porch lights, floor and table lamps, pocket lights, and even programmable thermostats to ensure energy using items are using as little energy as possible.

 Invest in Energy Solutions

If it is important to you to save energy and money long-term and on a larger scale, there are a number of durable energy-saving investments to consider.

  • Purchase new windows, a new air-conditioning unit, refrigerator, or other household appliances which use less energy than older units
  • Install window and house shading such as patio covers, or strategically plant trees to shade the home during peak times of heat
  • Install a whole house fan which can suck cool air into the home after sundown or in the early morning in order to cool the entire house thus reducing air conditioning usage
  • Seal and insulate all household ducts in crawl spaces and attics
  • Increase or upgrade attic insulation to higher than the standard grade to keep housing temperatures more constant

To save energy also means to save money, and by following any of the simple steps listed above the average consumer can save energy and save money almost immediately.

For more information on how to save on cooling in Atlanta, give Cool Air Mechanical a call today!

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Things You Should Never Do To Your Atlanta Air Conditioner

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Your Atlanta air conditioning system provides such comfort on blistering days, it seems it was a gift.  If it is broken, however, it can be very frustrating.

With proper care and maintenance, a central air conditioner should last for a decade or two.  Sometimes, however, people can do simple things which, in retrospect, should have obviously been avoided.

Some examples:

  • Don’t block the air intake–air is vital to the process, so laying anything over the unit (a towel or clothes to dry) will significantly strain the motor.  Always make sure there is enough clearance.
  • Don’t block the vents–likewise in a home, it is easy to move a sofa or lay an area rug over a grate in the floor or cover an unsightly vent in the wall with a pretty painting.
  • Don’t just set a unit in the window and trust the sash to hold it in place–make sure it is fastened properly according to the directions;
  • Don’t think it will run forever without cleaning the fins, vents and changing the filter at least once a heating season;
  • Don’t leave the units exposed in winter–always cover when not in use for long periods of time;
  • Don’t bury the condensate drain in the ground–in central units it is vital that the drain is left with a clear flow away from the house;
  • Don’t install the central unit on the ground–there are pre-made pads or mix up a little concrete and have the satisfaction of pouring a nice little pad yourself (and you can write your name in it too).
  • Don’t steam clean or use hot water to clean the fins–damage and corrosion can easily be caused by the heat; flush with warm water or spray.
  • Don’t overload the system with refrigerant– a task performed by a Atlanta AC professional, but a problem you should be aware of.
  • Don’t remove the overload relay to force continuous running–VERY dangerous and a guarantee of damage.

Air conditioners–especially the ones fitting in windows–are pretty much “plug and go” appliances, but a little attention goes a long way to ensure years of comfort. For more information on how to keep your AC in peak condition, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

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