The best way to find out if there is anything wrong with your air conditioning unit is through an inspection. An HVAC (Heating Venting Air Conditioning) contractor will perform the inspection. When deciding on which local HVAC inspector to choose, be sure that the inspector will do everything listed below. At the end of the inspection, he or she will provide you with an air conditioning tuneup checklist.
Outdoor Checklist (Turned Off)
With the power off, the inspector performs a visual inspection of the unit’s exterior and looks for anything unusual such as oil stains, rusted cabinet, dirty or damaged condenser coils and water leaking from the unit. He opens the panels and checks all the wires. He checks for exposed wires, nicks, frays and rotted insulation. He tightens all the electrical connection from the breaker panel to the disconnect box and contactor.
After removing all the wires on the capacitors, the inspector discharges it properly and uses a multimeter to see if the capacitors are within 6 percent to 10 percent of the manufacturer’s rating. He inspects to see whether the contact points are clean. The inspector checks both the evaporator and condenser coils for leaks. Dirty evaporator coils may be due to a leak in the air return. He then cleans the coils.
The inspector also checks for the blower motor and wheel. A dirty blower wheel reduces the amount of air thrown on the evaporator coils and could cause the unit to freeze. The blower motor should be clean and devoid of oil leakage.
He checks to see whether there is a play (movement or bending) in the shaft. He applies oil if the blower motor no longer has lubricant. Proceeding to check the condenser motor and condenser fan blade, the inspector looks for excessive oil leakage and play in the shaft or on the condenser’s fan blade hub.
Opening the terminal box, he checks the terminals to ensure the absence of excessive heat or damaged wiring. He should apply oil to the fan motor if it does not have lubricant.
The inspector checks the duct system for dirt, makes sure all parts are air-tight and seals any leaks.
He inspects refrigerant lines and checks if the air filters are clean; and turns on the thermostat and checks the operational controls and temperatures. The inspector also tightens the low voltage wires, such as the thermostat and control board wires. He inspects the blower/air handler and lubricates as necessary.
Outdoor Checklist (Turned On)
The inspector checks the blower belt, tension and condensate drain. He should check the voltages feeding the compressor, condenser fan motor and blower motor. He then checks the amperage to see if it is within the manufacturer’s range and listens for any unusual noises or excessive vibration.
Refrigerant and Temperature Splits
The inspector waits for the unit to run for up to 15 minutes so that he can check the refrigerant charge and pressures. He observes the temperatures entering and exiting the evaporator coil, as well as the temperatures entering and exiting the condenser coils.
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