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Window Air Conditioner Maintenance, Repair and Replacement

Window Air Conditioner Maintenance, Repair and Replacement
Whether you are servicing your existing air conditioner, in need of repairs or in the replacement market, the tips and information I’ve provided should help you make the best, most economical decisions.
Changing the filter (consult your use and care guide on where the filter is located and how to gain access) at least once a season is the best thing you can do to extend the life of your A/C as well as get the most out of its performance. Make sure the part of the cabinet that is outside of the your house is free of any overhanging bushes or tree limbs potentially restricting the air flow and heat dissipation from the condenser coils. Also make sure that nothing is laying against or too close to the inside cabinet such as drapes, lamps, plants, etc. restricting the flow of air across the evaporator coil. If you neglect to change the filter regularly the outside condenser coil can become dirty which slows down the heat dissipation process. The remedy involves pulling the a/c unit from the outer casing and cleaning the coil using a cleaning solution specifically designed for this purpose.
Since the replacement costs of air conditioners has dropped so precipitously and the costs of repairs have risen so dramatically it is seldom economical to make a repair. There are exceptions, such as large units with high BTU ratings (such as 18,000 BTU’s and above), Units that are built in to a specific frame including in a transom above a window or through a brick wall, etc. Our rule of thumb in making any repair takes into consideration the cost of the repair, the condition of the air conditioner and the total replacement costs including installation. If the unit is in marginal shape, and the repair price is close to or more than one half of the replacement cost we would normally recommend replacing the unit.
There are several key considerations required to determine the proper size of the air conditioner replacement: what is the specific square footage of the cooling area, what direction does the window face, is there any shading to that area of the house, is the kitchen part of the overall cooling area, and on which floor is the A/C to be installed. Don’t simply use the existing BTU rating to decide what size replacement unit you will purchase. Gather the data I’ve listed and allow the combined results dictate the replacement size. Air conditioners accomplish two specific tasks: they cool AND they dehumidify. Many people only consider cooling as their end goal and often oversize their air conditioners. The net effect of oversizing your air conditioner is that the cooling area will reach the desired temperature much too quickly, preventing the dehumidification process from taking place. When an air conditioner is properly sized for the cooling area, the unit will continue to run and over a period of time slowly remove the moisture while at the same time cooling off the temperature. The result is a comfortable environment, free of heat AND humidity!

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