Who Can Perform AC Condenser Replacement?
Your air conditioner is made up of several different components, each of which serves a crucial function in ensuring that your home is kept cool as the mercury starts to rise. One of the most critical of these parts sits inside the outdoor unit of your air conditioner and is called the condenser. The condenser is the actual set of refrigerant coils responsible for absorbing all the extra heat energy inside of your home and releasing it outside. This, of course, is the primary responsibility of an air conditioner in the first place, so what happens when that condenser breaks down?
An AC condenser replacement is a large, complex undertaking. It should only ever be done by a trained and licensed professional. In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what the job entails as well as how to find the right professional to perform the task for you.
Your AC Condenser: How It Works
The process of cooling your home begins when you set the thermostat to the temperature you desire. Utilizing a thermometer, the thermostat cycles the unit on or off depending on the need. When the unit cycles on, a large fan draws air from your home through your previously existing system of ductwork. This air is then drawn through the condenser, where it is cooled down.
The actual cooling process is done using the same type of refrigerant coils that keep the food in your refrigerator cold. Some type of refrigerant liquid is kept pressurized by the compressor, and by being under pressure, the refrigerant has an extremely low boiling point. It’s this low boiling point that gives it the ability to absorb heat easily. As the hot air from within your home passes through the condenser, all of that extra heat energy is absorbed by the pressurized liquid in the refrigerant coils.
Air expands as it is heated, and the reverse is also true: it condenses as it is cooled down, hence the name of the condenser unit of the air conditioner. Condensing the air also condenses the water vapor inside of it, causing much of it to liquefy. This removes a lot of the excess moisture in the air, effectively rendering your air conditioner a type of dehumidifier. Because humidity affects the relative temperature of an air conditioner, this also helps cool the home down to a more comfortable temperature.
Once the air has been cooled, it is recirculated throughout the home by that same large fan. As the desired temperature is achieved, the thermostat can then cycle the air conditioner off until it is needed once again.
What Can Go Wrong?
There are a few common problems that can occur with your AC condenser that will lead to the need for a repair or replacement. The condenser is a complex piece of equipment, and it has multiple moving parts. A failure in any one of these parts can ultimately prevent the entire AC unit from working the way it’s supposed to.
Your condenser’s primary job is to transfer heat energy from the inside of the home to the outside. So, if there are any obstructions, such as a plant, tree, or any other large object, it may block this transfer. If the heat can’t be vented outside, the only place for it to go is back in.
If the coils become dirty, which they will, gradually, over time, they may also begin to lose their effectiveness. The dirt and debris will build up on the coils and block the transfer of energy. This will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the whole system.
Mechanical issues have been known to plague air conditioner condensers as well. The fan can short circuit or the thermostat itself can input incorrect information due to a malfunction on its end. Other problems with the machinery can be more serious. For example, if refrigerant fluid leaks out of the coils, then they will depressurize and quickly fail to perform their job.
Repair or Replacement?
In many cases, the problem is likely to be a fairly easy fix. In fact, most of the common problems with an AC condenser are easily avoided with regular maintenance. For example, occasionally having the coils cleaned can prevent the buildup of dirt and debris that will otherwise slow the system down.
On the other hand, if your condenser is leaking fluid, is particularly old, or has failed catastrophically in some other way, it may need to be replaced. In any case, you will need an HVAC professional to advise you as to the best course of action.
Who Can Do the Job?
An HVAC professional should be certified by an organization such as ASHRAE, which is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers. This will ensure that they have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the best practices with regard to repair, replacement, and safety of HVAC technology.
For an AC condenser replacement, you should look for an HVAC technician who specializes in air conditioning units. Pressurizing refrigerant coils is a complicated, specific task and requires someone with the particular know-how and certification to do so properly.
How To Find the Best HVAC Technician in Your Area
Of course, it isn’t enough to find an HVAC technician who carries ASHRAE certification. That is simply where you start looking. You should find a trustworthy contractor with years of experience and a strong track record of previous satisfied customers. Before hiring someone to replace your AC condenser or perform other air conditioner repair work, read reviews, check references, and ask questions of your potential contractor.
If you are located in the Portland area, Entek HVAC should be your first call when you have a problem with your AC unit. With years of experience in the business, Entek offers 24-hour emergency services, meaning that no matter what time of day or night you need an AC condenser replacement or repair service, you can ensure it will be done quickly and to an exacting standard.