Tech Page: The Precision Air Conditioner Tuneup

May 14, 2002
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Contrary to a popular belief out of the Northeastern United States that last year’s summer never really left us, winter has passed, and spring is almost over. A new summer is fast approaching — and the advent of summer brings us to another season filled with air conditioning opportunities.

The most basic opportunity from which many more can sprout is the “Precision Air Conditioning Tuneup.” During this procedure you will prepare and tune up your customer’s a/c system for operation during another cooling season. It is also an excellent time to address your customers’ overall comfort needs and make appropriate recommendations.

Here are the steps involved in a premium-level precision tuneup.

CONDENSER

  • Check to make sure the condenser is level.
  • Remove dirt, debris, and leaves from inside the condenser.
  • Clean electrical components with compressed air or nitrogen.
  • Verify that drainage holes in the bottom of the condenser are clear.
  • Check for damaged fins; straighten if necessary.
  • Clean condenser coils and exterior of unit.
  • Check condenser fan mounting bracket or wires.
  • Check and record condenser fan amp draw.
  • Check the condenser fan motor for bearing wear.
  • Lubricate the motor if applicable.
  • Check the balance of condenser fan blade.
  • Check and record coil temperature differential.
  • Check refrigerant piping for kinks or bends.
  • Check suction line insulation.
  • Tighten and secure all electrical connections.
  • Check for frayed, worn, or brittle wiring.
  • Check for proper voltage; record.
  • Check the outdoor electrical disconnect.
  • Check fuse holders and verify correct fuse sizes.
  • Verify capacitor microfarad rating.
  • Check crankcase heater operation.
  • Check contactor contacts and operation.
  • Check electrical relays.
  • Check high- and low-pressure controls.
  • Check and record superheat and subcooling.
  • Check compressor terminals.
  • Check and record compressor amp draw.
  • Check for high temperature differential across refrigeration components.
  • Check and record operating temperatures and pressures.
  • Check for adequate refrigerant charge.
  • Check for refrigerant leaks.
  • Check to make sure refrigerant piping is secure and not vibrating.
  • Check for and replace missing screws, bolts, and hardware.

    EVAPORATOR

  • Check and clean the evaporator coil.
  • Check the coil for air restriction.
  • Check the TXV for proper location and contact with the suction line.
  • Check and secure suction line insulation.
  • Check capillary tubing for kinks.
  • Check and clean the condensate pan.
  • Check and clear the condensate trap and piping.
  • Check operation of the condensate pump, including the safety switch.

    FURNACE, AIR HANDLER, CONTROLS

  • Check and clean the blower assembly.
  • Check the air filter; clean or replace as necessary.
  • Clean the inside compartments of the air handler.
  • Check the blower motor; lubricate if applicable.
  • Check and record blower motor amp draw.
  • Check blower belt and tension, if applicable.
  • Check fan center and cooling relay.
  • Clean the exterior of the unit.
  • Tighten and secure unit electrical connections.
  • Check for frayed, brittle, or worn wiring.
  • Check and record temperature drop across the evaporator coil.
  • Check for and replace missing screws, bolts, and hardware.
  • Check thermostat electrical connections.
  • Make sure the thermostat is level.
  • Check thermostat accuracy.

    DUCTWORK

  • Verify that all registers are open.
  • Check the system’s external static pressure.
  • Check for proper airflow.
  • Verify proper duct sizes.
  • Check ductwork for air leakage.
  • Check for any missing or loose insulation.

    CUSTOMER RELATIONS

  • Clean up your work area.
  • Inquire about the customer’s indoor comfort.
  • Inquire about any occupant allergies in the home.
  • Inquire about excessive utility bills.
  • Explain your company’s service agreement program.
  • Recommend any repairs in immediate need of attention.
  • Offer a discount on repairs if the customer purchases an agreement.
  • Recommend IAQ strategies.
  • Recommend system upgrades.
  • Provide the customer with information on any items discussed.
  • Inform the customer that s/he may visit your website for more information.
  • Offer to have a sales engineer drop over that day.
  • Collect payment.
  • Ask your customer for feedback.
  • Thank your customer for their business.
  • Ask if you may be of service to any of your customer’s friends, relatives, or neighbors.
  • Invite your customer to stop by your place of business.

    Rothacker is a director of area51hvac.com. For questions or comments on the Tech Page, contact Rothacker at ewizaard@hotmail.com (e-mail).

    Publication date: 05/20/2002

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