AC/Heating Checkups

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My new Trane will be a year old next month and is running fine. I did not take the extended warranty which would have required me to have the dealer come out once a year and check fluid levels. My question is: Is it necessary to do this? I mean, if the a/c stops cooling I know to call them ... but can lack of a certain level of freon or whatever the new ones use now, cause damage? I want to take care of it but not waste money. Thanks.
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wrote:

Dottie, As a hvac professional, let me describe it to you this way.......... Your system is a workiing moving mechanical device that is affected by dust, temperature, pressure, wear, refrigerant, voltage imbalance, etc, etc. If you read your owners manual it will tell you most likely that not only is regular maintenance recommended but probably required. I would recommend it. Do you have to? No, you dont have to do anything. Properly serviced (stressing PROPERLY) your unit will most likely give you years of trouble free service and always operating at its peak efficiency. If you did NOT purchase a 5 or 10 yr parts AND LABOR warranty, you can still do it now.I HIGHLY recommend it on any hvac equipment. Just call your dealer. Hell, even I can sell you one. You pay the regular price but you lose the time already elapsed since you had it installed. You may be suprised when you see the repair bill on an out of warranty motor or major componet. You have your car serviced regularly, dont you? Bubba
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wrote:

My furnace (a Tempstar medium efficiency unit) warranty does not require the selling dealer to service it at all (thank goodness, because the dealer went T.U. 1 1/2 years after I bought it) - but the warranty is not much good either. The DC inductor motor/fan got noisy at 2 years. Still under warranty. Because the dealer is no longer in business, I would have had to pay full price for the OEM part, AND installation, then the repairing dealer would "talk to" Tempstar and I may or may not get anywhere from 0 to $600 back, sometime in the next ten years. Not only that, the required part was not in stock anywhere in Canada - and they were uncertain if one could be found in the USA. A replacement FASCO motor/fan was available out of the US for about $175 - so I pulled the fan unit myself and brazed the fan wheel to the hub (it was loose, as evidenced by "fretting" and rust stains coming out of the poorly crimped joint). It has been perfectly quiet, and running with no problems for close to 2 years now. If I find a spare at a reasonable price I will buy it. If not, it's working fine now.
As for the AC, mine is over 35 years old now and has never been touched. (no freon added). I did have it checked once about 15 years ago. If and when it fails, replacement will be cheaper than repair. I doubt half the parts are still available for it.
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Scaring people again I see. Its funny how my Lennox installer, a 50 man co. said "you dont need yearly maintenance" for heat as he knows my systems environment. Nor did my certified Weil McLain boiler dealer- installer. On the other hand I have a 4" air filter that keeps coils, blower, and heat exchanger clean. Some units run with crappy, cheap, poor fitting 1" filters in dusty condition do need yearly maintenance, some coils mold up. After 1 year its a good idea, then it might be a 1 - 3 yr schedule depending on its present condition. If you listened to every repair guy for all building-control-havc systems you have, you would be wasting alot every year for them to have a look see, for a buck. For AC, I have a yearly service contract, but everything else has a schedule based on past performance and its not yearly, its based on its need. And it doesnt Violate my warranty as bubba scares folks into believing. Bubba will sell you a warranty, id pass.
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On Fri, 10 Oct 2008 06:00:55 -0700 (PDT), ransley

Um, please be so kind as to tell us what your static pressure is with that 4 inch filter there sparky. I suspect that keeping the heat exchanger clean is not all it's doing! Ransley, you just like to look like an idiot I guess.
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ransley wrote:

I commend you for for having the good sense to get the best air filter available to you. I wish more people were smart enough to know which part of the HVAC system is important to pay the most attention to. What brand filter are you using? I have a customer who has an AprilAire Space-Gard 2200 that does a very good job at keeping things clean. Unfortunately, it's hard to get people to spend money on superior filtration when they're shopping price for a new HVAC system.
TDD
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Actualy check your spaceguard and AC coil, I have 2 at different locations and found a non positive seal occuring at the top due to lack of a weather stripping that Space Guard rep could not fix. It allowed my spacepack to get dirty at the top of the coil needing cleaning until I got thin foam weather striping to get a 100% air seal. Air Bear seals air tight, buy my 2 space guards didnt until I worked on them. They have great media, but poor filter holder to housing seal. I needed yearly coil cleaning until I retrofitted the weatherstripping, now its clean 3 years.
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Dottie wrote:

There's really not much that can go wrong with an AC unit and the things that can go wrong won't be helped by "maintenance." That is, there is no maintenance that can be done on a compressor, relay, or fan motor. When they fail, you replace them.
If the unit quits cooling, have a repairman find the leak, fix it, and add coolant. That's really all than can be done.
There ARE two things that fall into the maintenance regime, and both of those you can do yourself.
The filters need changing at regular intervals and the outside coil needs periodic cleaning.
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Dottie wrote:

We always recommend cleaning a straight AC condensing unit (the outside part) once a year. A heat pump, twice a year. We always admonish the homeowner to make sure that the AC is turned off whenever the grass is being cut anywhere near the outside unit. Why? The condensing unit will suck up all the dust and grass clippings in the air around it. The dirt will clog up the fins and cause the compressor to overheat which will damage it. Trane produces some fine equipment and yours may be equipped with high and low pressure cutout switches which will protect a unit from overheating due to the fins being clogged and damaged caused by a loss of freon. I've seen too many condensing units damaged by a homeowner who decided to clean the AC with the water hose nozzle set to KILL. This will bend and flatten the aluminum fins which will block the airflow and cause overheating. If you can find a good service company in your area, talk to them about a service contract where they will come out at least once a year to clean and inspect your HVAC system.
TDD
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3,000 PSI power washer with zero degree tip? Those do damage.
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I guess I will side with HeyBub rather than with Bubba.
A/Cs either work or they don't; not much preventive maintenance; except keeping the fins clean. Furnaces are another story. They do need to be cleaned.
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All I can say is you are NOT in my shoes. I would be happy to show you the amount of money I have taken in over the past 25 years due to repairs on units from lack of maintenance. This doesnt even take into account the amount of money wasted in energy use. A/C's are no different. I think you've heard the old jingle.................... "You can pay me now or pay me MORE later". I just luvz customers like you. :-) Bubba
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Bubba wrote:

We have an educational moment at hand!
What excessive expense could one expect from the lack of what periodic maintenance done by a professional?
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wrote:

Compressor failing as evidenced by amp draw, outdoor fan motor failing as evidenced by amp draw, capacitor failing as evidenced by micro farad reading, system leaking refrigerant as evidenced by low refrigerant pressure, contactor ready to short as evidenced by all the bugs crawling around in the system, indoor coil icing up because homeowner never changes filter...
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what a maroon wrote:

Especially if they have long haired pets that shed a lot. It's not just the evaporator that gets clogged up. For some reason or other, furry critters like lounge around the condensing unit too.
TDD
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On Oct 10, 8:24am, what a maroon wrote:

Here you refrence an old system ready to fail in a bug infested shack, OP has 1 yr old system, in perhaps the most benign, clean, environment there is. Do you go see your doctor every year even if you have no insurance and get a complete physical, bloodwork and MRI. cat scan etc. Folks that use AC 200 hours a year need to spend 150 a year on a checkup? In the south some heat only 50 hours a year. Talk to an insurance broker and he wants to sell you more insurance, talk to a car salesman he wants you to buy a new car, I go to my new car dealer and they always want me to do a 1000.00 worth of bs, on things just done !!!. Jiffy Lube wants you to believe 3000 mile oil changes are needed, but my car manufacturer says not so, talk to bubba and he just wants your money. Bottom line, Unit age, Type of filter, operating conditions, hours run, condition after 1 year, previous maintenance, determine what is needed. Nobody who drives 10000 miles a year needs an annual full car check up as bubby thinks.
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what a maroon wrote:

Good response! But I'm still confused.
Suppose a professional detects an increased amperage due to impending compressor failure. Where is the savings due to be had by this early detection?
Admittedly, replacing the compressor now (instead of six months down the line) will result in lower electric bills. Is that what you had in mind?
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wrote:

Because there is a reason for the amperage difference. Is it because of the cap going bad, loose connections, low or overcharged refrigerant, clogged coils, dirty filter, etc? Any of these things can cause your compressor to fail. If you catch them before the compressor fails you fix the problem and save a bucket of money because you did not have to replace the compressor when it's 105 degrees out, you're sweating your ass off and have to wait a week for a part.

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what a maroon wrote:

Ah, okay. I thought you were going to tell me a professional HVAC man says "Your compressor's going bad. Best to go ahead and replace it now. I have one one the truck."
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wrote:

No, that would be an hvac proffesional hack that does that.
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