How to Avoid an Air Conditioning Breakdown Headache

When the Houston area weather forecasters are calling for *another* heat wave, we know it’s going to be a very long day of frantic phone calls, text messages, and social media posts from customers desperate for a quick repair. Sometimes the diagnosis and repair is quick, and sometimes it is more involved. But invariably, HVAC equipment when not properly maintained and working at capacity because of extreme heat and humidity can sometimes breakdown. But how do you avoid a breakdown to begin with and especially on a Friday afternoon or over a holiday weekend? Read on to learn how to prevent air conditioning breakdowns in the middle of summer and the best way to get fixed up fast  if this does happen to you.

Call right away if you suspect trouble.

If you are uncomfortably warm in the home, but your air conditioner appears to be running or is acting funny, pick up the phone and call our business line even if it is after hours. This secures your spot in line, and it helps us get back to you more quickly when we are setting up our schedule. Our answering service takes messages 24 hours a day, which  helps us respond to everyone who calls for an air conditioning repair or tune-up. The wrong thing to do is to wait until 4:30 pm on a Friday to call because now the air conditioner won’t start up at all. Save yourself the worry, and simply call when you suspect trouble especially in the summer.

Keep your outdoor condensing unit clean.

The outdoor condensing unit for your air conditioner or heat pump is generally located outside of your home or office. This equipment consists of three parts: an interior compressor which moves refrigerant through the system, a fan to blow outside air through the heat-exchanger, and a condensing coil with thousands of tiny metal fins that helps diffuse heat from indoors. If this condensing coil gets clogged with debris, dirt, or covered by greenery, it cannot adequately “breathe.” This restriction in airflow can cause motors to work harder and to fail sooner. When you are out working in the yard, you can cut away vines or branches that are crowding your condenser, and use a garden sprayer to make sure those tiny little fins on your coil are clean so the heat has some place to go. Cottonwood seeds, dirt, and leaves are usually the culprit. This important maintenance step can make a big different during the summer.

Maintain your condensate drain.

Condensate drain overflows which can cause leaks in the home are a common repair we see during the summer, and they are so easy to prevent. You can save money by doing the preventive maintenance yourself with a cup of plain white vinegar. (See our DIY to show you exactly how to do this step by step with pictures.)  If remembering to pour vinegar in your drain regularly is tough, ask us about installing algicide pads in your condensate drain to accomplish the same goal without having to crawl into the attic and service the drain as often. Another time-saving accessory you might consider installing is a ceiling saver switch. In the event of a clog in your drainline, this turns off your HVAC system so more water cannot accumulate and leak down your ceiling and walls.

Replace your indoor air filters.

Believe it or not, very dirty air filters can cause your air conditioner to freeze up due to restricted air flow. Depending on which type of air filter you purchase, this fix is often less than $20 per filter. Some homes may have more than than one filter to replace every 1-3 months. If you have pets, allergies, or construction nearby, you may need to replace them more often. We regularly repair air conditioners where we spot air filters that have not been changed for a year or more. At that point, it is just a matter of time until the breakdown happens because inevitably restricted air flow will cause the system to go down.

Have your system serviced in the spring.

Year after year, we encourage our customers to have their air conditioner or heat pump serviced in the spring before the summer heat arrives. This gives us an opportunity to spot potential issues and fix them in advance. We can also perform regular maintenance, clean and inspect your HVAC system from top to bottom. Customers who subscribe to our Peace of Mind Protection Plan, a planned maintenance and priority service program, rarely have an equipment breakdown during the summer (or the winter). This can take the hassle out of maintaining equipment yourself and prevent the massive headache of an out and out HVAC equipment failure in the summer.

We can keep you cool.

If you’re hot under the collar from hassles every summer when your air conditioner or heat pump stops working, call Rob and Kenny from Terry’s A/C and Heating at 281-495-7830 which operates in the Southwest part of Houston and surrounding communities of Katy, Richmond, Sugar Land and Fulshear.  As a factory-authorized Carrier dealer, we service all makes and models of equipment and can help you with a warranty repair, too. Find out what our customers have to say about our service and what makes us different from all the other air conditioning companies in the area.