Over the past decade, HVAC systems have become increasingly advanced. They’re more energy efficient, more compact, and have more customization options. With advance, complexity often increases—but that doesn’t mean that homeowners aren’t able to work on their own units, even for seemingly difficult tasks.
During the hot months here in Colorado, you want to avoid as much “downtime” as possible to keep your family cool—that’s why in today’s post, we’ll be going over three lesser-known air conditioner repairs that you are more than likely perfectly capable of doing yourself without calling a professional (like our team here at Best Buy Heating and Air!).
- How to straighten the fins on your air conditioner’s condenser
- What causes the pad beneath an air conditioner to sink (or depress) and what to do about it
- How to replace the insulation on your outdoor air conditioning lines
And, finally, we’ll cover one very important maintenance task that you don’t want to DIY—it’s something you definitely need a pro for. Let’s dig in, starting with the condenser fins:
How to Straighten Air Conditioner Condenser Fins
The fins on the condenser of an air conditioner can easily bend. Some of this is normal over the lifespan of the air conditioner, but if there are too many bent or crushed fins, the performance of the unit will struggle.
For small areas where fins have been bent, the fix is as easy as finding a thin dinner knife, inserting it between the bent fins by no more than half an inch, and wiggling a bit to straighten them out. Areas which have a lot of bent fins can be fixed using a tool called an HVAC straightening comb, which can be picked up for around fifteen or twenty dollars at your local hardware store.
How to Raise a Depressed Air Conditioner Pad
The air conditioner pad is the slab of concrete underneath your unit. Sometimes, especially after a number of years, the pad can start to sink. This is quite normal and to be expected over time—in many cases, you don’t even need to worry about it as long as the unit itself is dry and relatively level. You’ll also want to check for any strain on the coolant tubes and electrical lines. If everything looks fine, don’t worry about it and check it again once every six months or so to make sure that nothing has changed.
However, if any of those problems have arisen, you’ll need to raise the pad so to reduce strain on the lines and level out the unit. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds, as long as you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease.
Dig out a bit of the area near the end of the pad and wedge a long board underneath it. This may take some work, but you’ll eventually be able to raise the pad with the board. Once it’s up, pack sand underneath the pad as tightly as possible. Do the same for the opposite side, or wherever additional earth needs to be placed.
How to Replace Air Conditioning Line Insulation
The copper lines running out of your air conditioner are usually wrapped with insulation. If yours is rotten or missing, it can cost you money in the form of reduced efficiency for your unit. Replacing the insulation is an easy fix.
Peel off the old foam insulation from the large tube. The smaller tube that you see doesn’t need to be insulated, so it’s normal for it to not have any. Apply new insulation to the tube, ensuring that it meets the unit and the house.
The One Maintenance Task That Will Save You Tons, But You Must Hire a Pro For: Annual Inspections
As we’ve covered today, there are many tasks you can complete by yourself to keep your HVAC system in good working order year round. However, there’s one very important bit of maintenance you should leave up to the pros: an annual inspection.
An annual inspection is so important because our team of professionals will be able to catch problems before they start, or before they become bigger—and that can save you a bundle. We did the math in our post The Real Benefit of HVAC Maintenance is in the Numbers: How to Save Thousands, so if you like to crunch the numbers go and check it out.
If you’re ready to schedule an annual inspection or need assistance with anything else, please feel free to schedule a service appointment here. You’re also more than welcome to call us at (970) 218-0414. We look forward to serving you!