Archive for June, 2014

How Do Technicians Detect AC Refrigerant Leaks?

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Your AC works much like a refrigerator; it moves heat from the inside of your home to the outside. Refrigerant is vital to this process. As it cycles through the AC system, it changes from a liquid to a gas and back again. This allows the refrigerant to absorb the heat in your home and release it outside so that indoor blowers can circulate cool air.

If your system has a refrigerant leak, it will not be able to complete this cycle, which may result in reduced cooling or no cooling at all. While this may initially cause only a little discomfort, the leak could force the evaporator coils to freeze, which may eventually cause system failure. It’s important to remember that only an AC technician is qualified to handle refrigerant and check for leaks, which are usually not visible to the human eye alone.

A technician may detect refrigerant leaks either during a scheduled maintenance call or when you call for air conditioning repair. You should call for repair as soon as you experience problems with your system. However, sometimes the leak is small enough that you don’t immediately notice the signs. This is why you should consider scheduling maintenance to check for common AC problems such as refrigerant leaks. We recommend scheduling maintenance once a year to decrease the chances of a serious leak that halts your AC system.

One sign of leaking refrigerant that your technician will look for is frozen evaporator coils. However, this symptom is not enough to determine the source of the leak. Refrigerant moves through your AC system rapidly via a looped tubing system with hundreds of connectors to help join the various twists and turns. Sometimes, refrigerant works its way slowly out of one of these joints. In many cases, leaks can only be located with a specific refrigerant detector that pinpoints the location of the leak.

Refrigerant leaks can be caught early with regular maintenance checks by a qualified technician. If you suspect a leak, don’t wait to call for repairs. When you run into problems and need reliable Portland air conditioning repair service, call Clean Air Act today!

Troubles with the Motors in Your Air Conditioning System

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Depending on your type of air conditioner, you will have at least one fan as part of your system. Each fan plays an important role, and if there is a malfunction or breakdown with the fan’s motor, your whole system can be affected. Motors are complex, so it is best to use a qualified technician from Clean Air Act, Inc. for your air conditioning repairs in Beavercreek, OR.

Why Use a Specialist?

The motors in your air conditioner need to operate at a certain capacity in order to do their job correctly. The motors have small, intricate parts, including a system of wires that make the motor run. In addition, the motor, like other parts of your air conditioner, is tied into your home’s electricity, so unless you have the training to both repair your motor and work with electricity, it’s better to use a trained professional for your fan motor repair.

What Can Go Wrong With The Motors?

Three separate motors can leave a lot of room for malfunction. Let’s start with the fan motors.

Fan Motors

The fans’ jobs in your air conditioner are to move air (air flow) and help with the heat release and cooling process in your system. When one of these fans malfunctions, it can affect the whole system.

Typical problems with fan motors include:

  • Wiring and other electrical issues
  • Burnout from stress
  • Breakage of the small components within the motor itself

Many times the fan motors can be repaired, but there is the possibility that the motor may need full replacement.

Compressor Motor

The compressor’s job is to take the cool refrigerant gas that enters from the evaporator and turn it into a hot, high-pressure gas that moves to the condenser. This is how your AC releases its heat.

Common problems that can occur with a compressor motor are:

  • Problems with pressurization due to issues within the compressor or from the intake valve
  • Electrical problems
  • Breakdown due to overheating
  • Issues with the run capacitor

The compressor is a complex component, and because it works under pressure, it is not a part that should be handled or repaired by an untrained person.

Motors Not Running? Give Us a Call

The best way to stay on top of potential motor repairs is to have bi-annual maintenance conducted on your air conditioning system. During regular maintenance appointments, your AC is thoroughly inspected and cleaned, including the components and wiring. If you suspect something may be off with one of your air conditioner’s motors, don’t ignore it – it could become a bigger issue than it has to be. Call Clean Air Act today and schedule air conditioning repair service in Beavercreek, OR.

Repairs That Will Make Your AC Run More Efficiently This Summer

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Repairs aren’t just for when there is a total breakdown with your system; you can actually make repairs that can help prevent bigger problems from developing. We have seen this happen over and over again at Clean Air Act: a small issue gets ignored until it becomes a big problem that usually costs a lot more to fix. You can avoid serious problems by scheduling your air conditioning repairs quickly.

Common Repairs That Can Make Your AC Run Better

These are some of the more common repairs we have done for our Portland customers that have helped increase their energy efficiency:

Leaky Ductwork

Leaky ductwork can be responsible for up to 30% of total air loss in your air conditioning system. Ducts leak air due to holes, cracks, or poor connections. By having your ductwork inspected once a year, you can keep on top of any leaks that may have developed, and save money and energy at the same time.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can start off quite small – so small that their presence can be hard to detect. The one thing you can count on when it comes to refrigerant leaks is that they will become worse, so even if you can’t detect it, your air conditioning technician can. Refrigerant leaks can lead to reduced cooling power, icing on the coils, and possible breakdown, so it’s best to take care of a refrigerant leak sooner rather than later.

Damaged/Broken Fans

There are two fans in your air conditioning system: the condenser fan and the indoor blower. These fans help with the heat release and cooling process, as well as to keep air moving through your system. Typical fan problems can include:

  • Motor issues
  • Electrical issues
  • Broken or bent fan blades
  • Worn or broken fan belts

When one of the fans malfunctions for any reason, the cooling process and air flow will most likely become compromised, leading to repairs that can be large. As such, having your fans repaired can help save you money and discomfort by attending to them quickly.

Be More Efficient by Scheduling Professional AC Repairs

Attending to air conditioning repairs quickly helps your air conditioner to run better; it also prevents small problems from turning into large ones. The longevity of your air conditioner is tied to how well it runs during regular use; an air conditioner in need of repair is not one that runs well, so premature wear-and-tear can set in. Call Clean Air Act today to schedule air conditioning repairs in Portland, OR and let us help your AC be more efficient.

The Purpose of Refrigerant in Air Conditioning Systems

Monday, June 9th, 2014

How do air conditioners cool down a house? The process can be described succinctly this way: Refrigerant moves between two sets of coils in the system, one indoors and one outdoors. Along the indoor coil, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the indoors, cooling the air. The refrigerant then moves to the outdoor coil and releases the heat. The process then repeats.

There is an enormous amount of detail missing from that description, but it also begs the question: “What is refrigerant?” We’ll address this important question. It will help you understand a number of the repairs that ACs can require during their lifetime.

Whatever trouble you may have with your air conditioning in Beaverton, OR, you can call Clean Air Act any time of the day or night for experienced and effective repairs.

What Refrigerant Is and What It Does

Refrigerant is the generic name for the chemical blend that cycles through an air conditioner, changing from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs and releases heat. Sometimes referred to by the trademarked name Freon, refrigerant has come in a variety of types (“blends”) during its history, starting originally as toxic and combustible chemicals. Today’s blends are safe and have no ozone-depleting effect.

Refrigerant can shift easily between liquid and gas states, which makes it ideal for ACs since it doesn’t take significant amounts of energy to cause the phase shift. Refrigerant starts inside the compressor, where the reduction of volume turns it into a high pressure gas about 150°F. It moves to the outdoor condenser coil, where the warm air (which is still cooler than the refrigerant) moves across it and causes condensation, which releases heat from the refrigerant. The gaseous refrigerant then heads toward the indoor coil, and is now lowered to about 100°F. The gas moves through an expansion device, dropping its temperature and pressure and changing it to a liquid about 20°F.

The cold refrigerant now passes through the evaporator coil, and the warmer indoor air blowing across the coil goes through evaporation, warming the refrigerant and lowering the indoor temperature. The refrigerant, now approximately 50°F, returns to the compressor to restart the cycle.

At no point in this process is refrigerant lost: it remains at a set level, known as its “charge,” at all times. Refrigerant will only lose its charge through leaking, which is a major repair need; a lowered charge will not only endanger cooling power, but the change in pressure in the system can cause damage to the compressor.

Take good care of your air conditioning in Beaverton, OR this summer with maintenance and repairs from Clean Air Act. If you are having problems from a loss of refrigerant, we can seal up the leaks and recharge it to its proper level.

Causes of a Faulty Fan in Your Air Conditioning

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A basic part of air conditioning operation is the fans. There are two fans in an AC: the indoor blower fan that sends air from the return vents past the evaporator coil (cooling the air) and then out into the ventilation system; and the outdoor fan that pulls in exterior air and exhausts heat. The fans are not only crucial for sending air through the vents, but for permitting heat exchange to occur.

If the fans in your air conditioner develop faults, you will need to have professionals look into their operation, diagnose the problem, and apply targeted repairs. This isn’t something you should attempt to do on your own. For the necessary air conditioning repairs in Gresham, OR that will take care of your fan problems, contact Clean Air Act any time of the day or night.

Reasons for fan faults

  • Failing capacitors: A fan that has trouble starting or remaining on may have problems due to the capacitor. Capacitors are the cylindrical components that transfer voltage from the electric system into the fan motors. If a capacitor begins to fail due to age or overstress, the fan will experience problems starting; usually you will hear an odd clicking noise as the fan attempts to start up. Call for repair technicians to replace the capacitors or install a “hard start kit” to solve the problem.
  • Bent fan blades: This is a common trouble for outdoor fans, which can sustain damage from rocks, gravel, sticks, and other debris that enter the outdoor cabinet. When fan blades suffer from damage that bend them, the blades will start to strike the edge of the fan casing, creating a terrible noise and spreading around the damage. When you hear loud mechanical noises coming from the cabinet, shut down the system and call for repairs immediately.
  • Fan motor failure: The fan motor can suffer from a number of electrical and mechanical issues. The most common is motor freeze from stress on the mechanical moving parts due to wear and tear or excess dirt. If there is too much stress on the motor, it could burnt out and fuse its wiring, in which case the motor must be replaced. Smaller issues that can stop the motor include broken relays and loose wiring, which are usually simple fixes for a repair technician.

Fan, motors, and capacitors are too complicated for non-professionals to handle, so don’t turn to amateurs or a DIY guide for the work: call Clean Air Act and let our training and expertise fix the fans that are threatening your cooling. For all your needs for air conditioning repair service in Gresham, OR, put your trust in us.