We have made our way into summer and if you have not started up your AC unit then you are among the very few. Many homeowners have whole-house fans or live at a higher elevation, so they do not have to get their AC unit running until much later in the year. If you have not run yours yet, then you will want to make sure that you get yours started up the proper way. Strouse Home Inspections has started up many AC units. In fact, before our business started up, I volunteered for years building and maintaining HVAC units. Here at Strouse Home Inspections, we might know a thing or two about residential and commercial HVAC units. Here are the proper steps to start up your AC unit:
The first thing to do is make sure that your unit is turned off safely. What we mean by that is that you want to have it turned off not at the thermostat but at the breaker box. This is especially important because without doing so you can put yourself in a lot of danger of an electrical shock that may result in significant injury or can even kill, moving blades are also a safety concern. When you turn your unit off at the breaker, you may want to consider taking an important step, locking out the breaker. This is so that no one else can come along, open the circuit panel while you are servicing the A/C unit and restore the power to it.
After power has been safely shut off, inspect the physical condition of the unit. Do you see any hail damage to the metal housing or to the coil fins? Do you see electrical wires exposed? Is the unit level? Are the line-sets uninsulated? If the answer is yes to all but the last question, you may want to call an HVAC professional contractor to address these more complicated issues.
After you have taken your safety precautions, then you need to diffuse any stored power in the capacitor. There will be a panel on the corner of your unit that can be removed. Once you find it you want to make sure that you remove that panel. To discharge the capacitor, you will need a screwdriver with an insulated handle and gloves designed for electricians. There is a cylinder-shaped device in there that you want to tap with a screwdriver that has a rubber end to it so that if there is a remaining charge, you are not shocked. Some capacitors have 3 leads other have only 2. You will discharge by tapping the screwdriver to the common lead with the fan lead and then the hern lead, we recommend doing so twice. By tapping it, this will release any stored energy in it. From here you want to unplug the electrical leads that are connecting it to the condenser. Just remember where it all goes back to though, or better yet, take a picture with your phone! This part of your AC unit you do not want to get it wet at all.We suggest that you take a picture of the model information from the capacitor as well. The capacitor is a very common failure point, and at about $15, you may want to buy a backup for future use and repairs.
Now that you have made sure your unit is completely safe to work on you can move onto the fun part. Screw off the top part of your AC unit and pull the fan component off. Take off the hail guard as well if you have one. Be careful not to bend any of the fins as you do this. To clean it you will want to get a hose that doesn’t have any attachment to it that makes the water come out harder. Slowly and gentle run the hose starting from top to bottom and going left to right at a downward angle. Do this first from inside of the unit and then the outside of the unit. This will remove any debris that has accumulated over the year. After this has been done, you can put it all back together.
Look at the insulation on the line-set, the 2 lines of copper tubing (one larger than the other) and see if it is missing or deteriorated. If either is the case, you should re-insulate the larger line with tube insulation. Ask if your home supply store has white HVAC line insulation tape. It will reflect UV rays and help make the insulation last longer.
The final part is to make sure you have all your electrical connections right, panel screwed back on, and turn the power back on. Turn your AC on through the thermostat, let it run for about 30 minutes and then go out and listen to it. You want to make sure that it sounds normal and running well. If it is not, then you might want to call a professional to come find out what is going on.
Strouse Home Inspections is all about making sure that you have a healthy home and that you know how to maintain it. If you are looking at buying a home, make sure that you do not just get a home without a proper home inspection. Call Strouse Home Inspections today and we would be happy to inspect your home when it is most convenient for you.
By Strouse Home Inspections 7-7-2020