Use These Techniques To Keep Your Old Air Conditioner Going While You Save Up For A New Unit

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Don't despair if you just don't have enough money to buy a new air conditioner just yet. While purchasing a new unit will generally save you quite a bit of money in the long run with increased efficiency, you won't save any money at all if you have to take out a high interest loan to get it. Instead, use some of these techniques to keep your old unit going while you put away the money you need for a new unit.

If You Haven't Been Doing Your Maintenance, It's Time to Start

Annual maintenance is key to keeping your air conditioner up and running, and it is even more important when your unit is starting to fail. A clogged condenser or filter can mean the difference between having cool air and having the motor on the condenser burn out. You can hire a technician to do the work for you, or you can do the basic work yourself.

  • Change your furnace filter at least twice a year. It is better if you do it quarterly or monthly, but semi-annually is all you need to keep grime out of the inner workings of your air conditioner.
  • Every fall, remove the cover from your air conditioner and remove all the leaves and twigs that have fallen into the condenser. A garden hose is all you need to wash away any dirt that has collected in the coils.
  • If you live in a climate where winters are harsh, you may want to put a cover over the condenser during the winter. While a cover is not a necessity, the freezing snow and ice certainly won't help keep your air conditioner running.

Add a Hard Start To Give the Compressor a Boost

Getting started is the hardest thing a motor needs to do, and the motor inside your condenser is no exception to this rule. As it ages, it will lose its efficiency, and at a certain point, it will no longer be able to overcome inertia and get the coil moving. Replacing the entire motor is expensive and rarely worthwhile, especially when it can successfully complete the rest of the process.

The answer to this problem is installing a hard start device. This device gives the motor the extra power it needs to start the process and then removes itself from the circuit so the unit can continue to function normally. They are relatively inexpensive to install and can give your system the boost it needs to keep going for a few more years. As an added bonus, they make the startup process more efficient, and you can put those energy savings towards your new unit.

Replace Popped Capacitors So the Electronics Don't Get in the Way

Capacitors are small electronic devices that store power that can be accessed quickly. Think of them as little batteries that are able to discharge all of their power at once. Just like rechargeable batteries, they only last for so many cycles before the chemicals inside start to break down and they can no longer function effectively.

Installing new capacitors can be tricky and is best left to a professional, but you can look at the electronics inside your condenser to see if you have any "popped caps". Capacitors usually look like fat tubes that have two wires coming out the bottom. The first thing to look for is if any of them are leaking. the second is to look at the top of the capacitors. The tops should be flat and will often have indents in the top to help you spot bad ones. If the tops of any are puffed up, they have gone bad and need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Keeping your old unit running is important if you can't really afford a new unit quite yet. While these techniques are only a temporary stopgap, they could be the difference between keeping your unit running while you save and taking out a loan you can't afford. For more information and tips, contact a local HVAC company like Air Conditioning & Heating Inc


29 October 2015

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