Air Conditioners Category

Handling an A/C refrigerant fluid Leak in Your Cincinnati Home

A refrigerant fluid (refrigerant) leak, while not exceptionally common, is still a very real possible cause of the need for air conditioner repair in Cincinnati. This is due in part to our urban environment and hot, humid summers, which pose a number of threats to an air conditioner.

An Hvac technician searching for a refrigerant leak on an evaporator coil.

Source: istockphoto
A man checking for a refrigerant fluid leak.

Why refrigerant fluid Leaks Happen

If the joints or valves in your A/C’s copper refrigerant lines aren’t sealed thoroughly during installation, or they came from the factory damaged or poorly welded, refrigerant fluid will slowly seep out. You’ll start to notice a decline in cooling performance within one to five years after installation.

Formic acid, which naturally occurs in the soil, can cause pinhole leaks and cracks in refrigerant lines. These tend to worsen over time.

In our densely populated urban area, theft attempts are another potential cause of leaks. While trying to steal the valuable copper in your system, scrap metal thieves damage the refrigerant lines. The resulting leak usually causes a sudden drop in cooling performance.

How Your Technician Can Stop the Leak

A refrigerant leak does more than cut your system’s cooling capacity. refrigerant fluid is toxic, so if you suspect a leak, call a technician immediately. Your technician will bring an electronic refrigerant fluid leak detector that can be moved over the parts of your system and will produce a signal when it senses refrigerant fluid.

Once found, the leak can usually be repaired. This is often the most cost-effective option for systems less than 10 years old that still have most of their refrigerant fluid. Repairs usually involve soldering damaged copper tubing or replacing valves. If a coil is leaking, however, the component may need to be replaced.

Once the leak is stopped, replacement refrigerant fluid will be added. Alternatively, you could replace the whole air conditioning system while it’s still under warranty.

If all the refrigerant fluid has leaked out or the compressor or other components have failed, there’s only a small chance a patch will work. You’re most likely better off replacing the system.

For reliable air conditioner repair in Cincinnati, contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Don’t Forget A/C Maintenance as Cincinnati Heats Up

With summer temperatures reaching into the 90s, southern Ohio is hard on its air conditioners. This heat, combined with our area’s high humidity, makes air conditioner maintenance in Cincinnati a greater concern than in cooler areas, but it’s not necessarily complicated.

An air conditioning repairman working on a compressor unit.

Source: istockphoto
A repairman working on an a/c unit.

Keep Your System Clean

A buildup of dirt and debris on your air filter interferes with normal airflow. To compensate, your fan motor has to work harder to bring in enough air. This reduces the system’s energy efficiency and wears down the motor. Check your filter monthly and replace it if you find debris buildup. One-inch fiberglass filters usually last only a month. Consider upgrading to higher-efficiency pleated filters, which improve your indoor air quality, protect your system better, and last longer.

Thanks to our area’s wind, cleaning the outdoor unit is another important part of air conditioner maintenance in Cincinnati. Periodically use a stiff brush to remove dry leaves, grass clippings, and other debris from the outdoor unit’s fins. Every year, remove the unit’s top and clean out debris inside with a wet-vac.

A clogged condensate drain can let water back up into your house, causing damage. Every two months, pour half a cup of white vinegar into the condensate line to discourage algae that can cause blockages. Once or twice each cooling season, use a wet-vac to pull sludge from the outside end of the drain.

A Few Extra Steps

Easing the demand on your air conditioner also helps protect your air conditioner. Air leaks around your doors and windows let in hot, humid air, making more work for your air conditioner. Seal these leaks with caulk or weatherstripping as needed to improve your comfort and your A/C’s efficiency.

Well before the cooling season kicks off, schedule an annual professional air conditioner evaluation. A technician can clean the evaporator coil, tighten electrical connections, replace worn relays, check the refrigerant level, and perform other tasks that keep your system efficient.

If you’re looking for pro help with air conditioner maintenance in Cincinnati, contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Understanding A/C: What’s the Difference Between Evaporator and Condenser Coils?

To most folks, the science behind air conditioning is pure magic. The process cools your house and that’s all you care about… until it stops working. However, a basic understanding of the process behind air conditioning will provide you with a better ability to troubleshoot problems. Evaporator and condenser coils are at the heart of this process.


Source: Freedigitalphotos

Why Refrigerant Is So Important

First, it’s important to understand how refrigerant plays a role in air conditioning. It easily transitions between liquid and gas, and when it does, it either extracts heat from the air or releases heat into the air. Pressure aids the process.

How an Air Conditioner Works

In a split-system central air conditioner, liquid refrigerant, also called coolant, is pumped into the home. It flows through an evaporator coil, which is either located in a dedicated air handling unit or attached to the furnace plenum.

Before the coolant flows into the evaporator coil, an expansion valve reduces pressure on the refrigerant, causing it to evaporate into a gas. As this happens, the refrigerant extracts heat energy from the surrounding air. The removal of heat from the air cools it off, and that cooled air is blown away from the coil and circulated throughout the home via a blower fan and air ducts.

At this point, the A/C pumps the gaseous refrigerant back outside to the condenser/compressor unit, usually located on a concrete pad next to the house. The compressor squeezes the gas, turning it back into a liquid. As the gas returns to a liquid state , heat is released into the outside air, blown away by an exhaust fan.

All air conditioning systems — central, portable and package units — operate on the same principle. Electric, air-source heat pumps cool homes in this manner as well, using a reversing valve to switches the process from indoor cooling to heating. When this happens, the indoor evaporator coil operates as a condensing coil during heating, and the outdoor condenser coil becomes an evaporator coil.

For more information on how evaporator and condenser coils cool your greater Cincinnati home, please contact us at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

What to Expect From a Professional A/C Installation

A new A/C installation is a substantial home investment. The decisions you make will affect cooling bills and comfort for years. The efficiency of your new A/C is obviously important, but the SEER rating isn’t the only factor to consider for efficiency and ROI. Work closely with your HVAC professional to make sure the following four essential factors for installation are adhered.


Troubleshooting Tips for an Air Conditioner That’s Acting Up

If your cooling system isn’t doing its job, a little air conditioner troubleshooting can keep you from suffering through the greater Cincinnati area’s summer heat and save your a call to your technician.


Considering A/C Replacement? Understand the Difference Between First Costs and Lifetime Costs

Making the right call when it’s time for A/C replacement means considering two kinds of costs. With some consumer purchases, the total expense ends once the upfront purchase price is paid. When comparison shopping cooling and heating systems, however, both the first cost and the long-term lifetime cost of a given unit have to be calculated to gain a realistic estimate of the total price.


Improve Air Conditioning Efficiency in Your Cincy Home With These Tips

improve air conditioning efficiencyThe cooling season is in full swing in greater Cincinnati, and it’s only going to get hotter from here. If you’re looking for ways to improve air conditioning efficiency to increase comfort and lower energy bills, it’s time to make a few improvements in both your home and with its HVAC system. These tips can help you save money, lower your carbon footprint, prevent common A/C problems and take a load off the system for better performance. (more…)

4 Common A/C Issues That May Be Plaguing Your Home

common A/C issuesAir conditioners tend to be reliable systems if they’re installed correctly, and, often, most problems are related to routine maintenance issues. If the A/C in your Cincinnati area home has stopped working, check for theses common A/C issues before calling a professional and you may be able to save the cost of a service call: (more…)

3 Indicators That the Life Span of Your Home’s Air Conditioner Is Nearing Its End

Air conditioner life spanWhen your home’s air conditioner is humming along in good working order, you’re able to enjoy a cool, comfortable haven from the summer heat and humidity. If the system’s reliability is questionable, though, you’re no doubt wondering how long it will last and how you’ll know it’s time to consider replacement. There are some easy-to-spot indicators that can warn you that the A/C is nearing the end of its service life: (more…)

Is It Time to Replace the Air Conditioner?

replace the air conditionerThe right time to replace the air conditioner isn’t always obvious. While you could wait until your system fails completely, by doing so you might be missing out on the energy savings and greater convenience a new system can offer. Waiting also means you could end up spending the hottest days of the Cincinnati summer without A/C. To decide if you’d be better off with a new air conditioner, look for these signs. (more…)