Commercial Air Conditioning Maintenance
What’s the Point? What Does It Prevent? How Do We Do It? What’s Involved?
The point of air conditioning maintenance is simple, stop your troubles before they happen. To that regard a maintenance is not simply a check-up. There are two types of air conditioning companies. A company that sends out a man who inspects the air conditioner then tells you what he wants you to buy. That’s one type and that’s also most of them, but if you find a company that performs a real summer ac maintenance or what I call a “clean, tune and inspect”. Then and only then will it be worth it.
A true air conditioning preventative maintenance will involve more than a simple inspection, it will involve cleaning or acid washing of both indoor and outdoor coils. Now you don’t have to tear apart and acid wash every evaporator coil you come across. Evaporator coils need cleaned when they are dirty and depending on how often the filters were changed has a big impact on the frequency but, on average expect to acid wash an evaporator coil approximately every 5-10 years. Also, clean off all the wires as dirty wires will not insulate the voltage running through them as well as clean wires, it’s called tracking. Once the system is clean move on to the electrical. You’ll want to test the capacitor, be sure it’s within 6% of its design. Also test all motors and the compressor’s windings, starting amps and use a megohmmeter to test the insulation on the wires inside the motors and compressor as knowing that will give you insight into how much longer that part will last.
Early replacement of select parts is optional but, I do it. We see the small wear and tear parts like contractors or capacitors fail approximately every 7-10 years. But, when small parts fail you run the risk of damaging the more costly items. That’s why we recommend replacing these wear and tear parts during your 10 year maintenance or earlier when they look to be wearing. Another vital part of maintenance is to check and feel all the wires. Brittle, loose or burning wires should be replaced or tightened before they get worse or cause worse. If you do find brittle or burning wires you should look deeper for the root cause which may be but not limited to failing compressor or motor, bad capacitor or even just a simple loose connection so go through and tighten all the connections.
Once your sure of your electrical start the machine paying attention to the starting amps on the compressor, a failing compressor will start to pull higher amps on start which will damage the compressor slowly every time it starts. The only solution here is to either replace the compressor which is not practical or install a hard start kit to help the compressor start. A hard start kit is a great item that can help a failing compressor start and run an extra few years or it can help a new compressor from ever having that problem so a hard start kit is good for every system whether its starting easy or not. ( hard start kits are for single phase systems only, if you have a 3 phase system you rely on an extra wild leg to start instead).
Now its on to the fun stuff, your refrigerant charge. Put your gauges on your system and watch the pressures, adding or recovering refrigerant to obtain your desired superheat or sub cooling depending on whether the air conditioner has a tav or a fixed rate piston. If your system has a fixed rate piston then you’ll need to charge to your target superheat. To determine target superheat you’ll need to use this equation ( indoor return air wet bulb temperature x 3 – 80 – outdoor ambient divided by 2 = target superheat or just use your i-manifold and it will do all that math for you. On systems with a expansion valve you’ll want to charge by sup cooling to the manufacturer specks.
Last but not the least is drain lines, its highly vital that we blow out drain lines with a high pressure inert gas like nitrogen to be sure that are clear and draining properly. The last thing you want is clogged drain line and water overflowing the side of the drain pan running into the ducts or worse on your drywall inside. All these things will help your commercial or residential air conditioner run without breakdowns this summer and last as long as god will allow, and that is all we can hope for.
Las Vegas Air Conditioning Inc.
6220 Kimberly Ave #13
Las Vegas, NV 89122