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-   -   How to Service your own A/C with pics (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=319234)

Lancear15 07-07-2010 8:18 AM

How to Service your own A/C with pics
 
I noticed my A/C has been running more than usual this year, and not cooling the house as fast. HVAC companies want about $75 just to come and look, and $100-150 just for a regular "servicing", which is basically a heat exchanger cleaning. So I decided to do it myself, here is how.

Tools used: 5/16ths nut driver, shop vac, garden hose.

Here is my unit:

http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/8770/ac1w.jpg

1. Turn off your thermostat

2. Pull out your service disconnect switch and replace it in the off position

http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/4039/ac2ft.jpg

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/127/ac3w.jpg

3. With a 5/16ths nut driver remove the screws around the very top perimeter of the unit and those holding the cover to the electrical components.

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/9074/ac4m.jpg

http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/7851/ac5s.jpg

4. The wires that go to the fan that is mounted to the top of the unit need to be loosened and fed into the unit so that there is enough slack to take off the top portion of the unit. You may have to cut a ty-rap or two. Then pull off the top of the unit and place it next to the unit, be careful not to damage the wires.

http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/8162/ac6c.jpg

Lancear15 07-07-2010 8:19 AM

5. Then remove the screws around the bottom perimeter of the unit and remove the vented side walls. Be careful not to damage/bend the fins of the heat exchanger while removing the side walls.

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/5602/ac8n.jpg

This is what my Unit looked like disassembled.

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/6821/ac7d.jpg

http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/9076/ac9q.jpg

http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/6144/ac10i.jpg

http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/5713/ac11r.jpg

Very dirty as you can see, a combination of dog hair, vegetation debris, and dirt.

6. vacuum up the large debris inside and out, move the vacuum hose up and down on the heat exchanger so you don't bend the fins. Also be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp fins.

http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/4087/ac12w.jpg

Lancear15 07-07-2010 8:20 AM

7. This is over kill, but I like to do it right and do it once. I took a soft bristle brush (which became a dog chew toy a while back), and gently brush up and down the heat exchanger. It was amazing how much dirt came out, I had to stop a few times just to get some fresh air there was so much dust in the air. This is even after vacuuming with a 6hp shop vac very thoroughly. After brushing I vacuumed again and then brushed again. I know, I'm anal...

http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/7603/ac13.jpg

8. With your hose wash from the inside out the entire heat exchanger.

http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/9419/ac14.jpg

Here is the final product.

http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/3918/ac15l.jpg

http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/4186/ac16t.jpg

http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/6959/ac17z.jpg

Should be good for another 5 years now.

Reassemble in opposite order:

1. Put side walls back on, screw in base screws (do not tighten completely until entire unit is back together)

2. Put top with fan back on and get screws started.

3. Pull the slack out of the wires feeding the fan back into the electrical enclosure and secure them (ty-rap, tape, twisting, etc.)

4. Put electrical enclosure cover back on.

5. Now tighten all screws on the unit.

6. But service disconnect back into on position.

7. Turn thermostat back on.

Done!

GP3 07-07-2010 8:24 AM

A/C Service
 
Thank you!

Untamed1972 07-07-2010 8:28 AM

So how's it running now? Reminds it's prolly about time to go check mine. Fortunately it's been a mild summer down here so far and I haven't had to use mine yet.....but the summer is still young.

Although the one thing that an A/C would do also as part of a normal service is check/top off your refridgerant charge if it needed any.

Lancear15 07-07-2010 8:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Untamed1972 (Post 4577293)
So how's it running now? Reminds it's prolly about time to go check mine. Fortunately it's been a mild summer down here so far and I haven't had to use mine yet.....but the summer is still young.

I did it last night after work, I noticed an immediate difference. It took about an hour to do it, and if I had known how dirty it actually was I would have done it a long time ago.

Very much worth the effort.

freonr22 07-07-2010 8:31 AM

Inside between the supply and the return registers, ideally you are looking for an 18-22 degrees temperature split. on a 70 degree day or warmer.


AWESOME write up!

audiophil2 07-07-2010 8:32 AM

Great thread. I'll have to do it over the winter as a few hours without AC could be dangerous here.

lewdogg21 07-07-2010 8:44 AM

Lancear I may name the next island I conquer in honor of you.

Saving this thread for this weekend when I get home.

GP3 07-07-2010 8:51 AM

I'd like to add to the thread:

Don't forget to clean or replace your blower/evaporator unit filter (pictured bottom right)

http://www.aroundthetownhvac.com/wor...-system-11.jpg

jre 07-07-2010 8:52 AM

sweet! thanks for sharing.

Lancear15 07-07-2010 8:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lewdogg21 (Post 4577369)
Lancear I may name the next island I conquer in honor of you.

Saving this thread for this weekend when I get home.

Hehe, you're all welcome.

Sticky for the summer months mods?

Hoologan 07-07-2010 8:59 AM

So many people never think about cleaning their condensing units, let alone changing their evaporator filters every month! Nice work!

dirtnap 07-07-2010 9:03 AM

Sweet, my neighbor's AC is running hot, I'll pass this info off to him...it would be awesome if it's this easy to fix!

Lancear15 07-07-2010 9:37 AM

Sweet my first sticky'd thread...:79:

lugar 07-07-2010 10:56 AM

Did you check the indoor air filter? One of my hats is as an HVAC mechanic and I've never seen a condenser that bad. Good catch.

Lancear15 07-07-2010 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lugar (Post 4577987)
Did you check the indoor air filter? One of my hats is as an HVAC mechanic and I've never seen a condenser that bad. Good catch.

Yes, I change the return air filters very regularly. I figure most people do too, that's why I didn't put it in the write up.

Crazyhorse 07-07-2010 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lancear15 (Post 4577429)
Hehe, you're all welcome.

Sticky for the summer months mods?

We need a how-to forum. Too many pros on this site from carpentry to auto to ac to not have one.

CH

freonr22 07-07-2010 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by freonr22 (Post 4577897)
Any thoughts on a subforum for do it your self maybe non gun related with stickies, so like the clean you a/c condensor would be easier found?

I agree, Posted in the calguns open letter 1.5 hrs ago,

bomb_on_bus 07-07-2010 12:05 PM

I second the how to forum!

Wicked Pete 07-07-2010 12:07 PM

What kind of freon and how do you test pressure(S)?

Lancear15 07-07-2010 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crazyhorse (Post 4578323)
We need a how-to forum. Too many pros on this site from carpentry to auto to ac to not have one.

CH

Absolutely. I third the motion.

1lostinspace 07-07-2010 12:18 PM

I don't service mine but that's cool

freonr22 07-07-2010 12:19 PM

http://www.yellowjacket.com/images/p...II-F-hosem.jpg
http://www.yellowjacket.com/HVACRPro...l=5&c=34&p=322


But you can do a bunch with a thermometer, that way you dont cause potential leaks by getting into the refrigerant side

Gary13 07-07-2010 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GP3 (Post 4577405)
I'd like to add to the thread:

Don't forget to clean or replace your blower/evaporator unit filter (pictured bottom right)

http://www.aroundthetownhvac.com/wor...-system-11.jpg

Sorry for my ignorance, but is there always a filter next to the blower? I have a cold air return filter that I replace regularily, and will be preforming this cleaning thanks to this wonderful thread, but not aware of any other filters. I assume that it would be in my attic as that is where my furnace and blower are.

GP3 07-07-2010 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary13 (Post 4578479)
Sorry for my ignorance, but is there always a filter next to the blower? I have a cold air return filter that I replace regularily, and will be preforming this cleaning thanks to this wonderful thread, but not aware of any other filters. I assume that it would be in my attic as that is where my furnace and blower are.

I'm pretty sure we are talking about the same thing, just the terminology is off. The filter I was talking about is indeed the cold air return filter.

freonr22 07-07-2010 1:08 PM

There should never be 2 filters inline. You may have more than one filter grille in paralell its ok just not in series

Lancear15 07-07-2010 1:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by freonr22 (Post 4578692)
There should never be 2 filters inline. You may have more than one filter grille in paralell it ok jut not in series

Ya, I have 2 filters in parallel, both the same size. I buy the 3M 1000 filters and replace regularly. I also have two Honeywell HEPA air filters from coscto running whenever I'm home. I like clean air, my wife and I both feel we sleep better since getting the HEPA filters.

bden 07-07-2010 2:00 PM

Thank you! I'll revisit this I'm sure.

rg_1111@yahoo.com 07-07-2010 3:00 PM

Thanks Lancear15, You just saved me some money.

LoneWolf1 07-07-2010 6:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wicked Pete (Post 4578379)
What kind of freon and how do you test pressure(S)?

Freon is just a trade name that was picked up on and is used as a description for different refrigerants.

As for the type of refrigerants, your A/C will either contain R22(currently being phased out) or R410a which is what we use today. It should tell you on the service plate along with the serial and model numbers. They are not compatible and cannot be used together. You need to be EPA certified to purchase or even handle any refrigerants. epatest.com/

In order to test your pressures, you will need a set of Manifold Gauges, made to match either R22 or R410a. You will also need at the minimum, a pressure temperature chart to verify your pressures. Having a clamp on thermometer to get your temperature differences and calculate superheat and subcool will also be a plus.

spectr17 07-09-2010 10:24 PM

Thanks for helping members out.

Out here in the 909 I hose off the fins and insides every spring. We get a lot of wind and they get dusty every year. Every 5 years would cost me a lot of money.

The other thing to save on AC bill is silicone off any air leaks in your window frames or door frames. Add weatherstripping to door and window frames too if they don't already have it, about $5 for one door.

Joewy 07-11-2010 4:06 PM

There often are 2 filters in the return air duct. One is sometimes in the filter grill and the other can be located within the furnace from the factory. You should tale a good look.

Also when you wash your condenser it is advisable to turn off the power to your furnace. Your compressor contactor can be engerized during the cleaning process and result in a burned out control transformer. Most furnaces in California are plugged into the wall but if it is hardwired either find the circuit breaker or just remove the door the the fan cabinet and usually there is a safety switch that will disconnect the power.

Clinton 07-11-2010 9:32 PM

Good write up! I own a small HVAC company and you wouldn't believe how many people call every year with AC problems that turn out to be nothing more than a dirty condenser coil.

Clinton 07-11-2010 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Southpaw45 (Post 4577726)
That was great advice. Cleaning your condenser coil will also save your compressor by the fact it wont have to work as hard and your not slugging liquid back to it. .


ummm......... go back to tech school. A dirty CONDENSER will NOT cause floodback. In fact it causes the exact oposite problem, not enough liquid to the evaporator coil. If the coils are dirty, it runs hot and the freon doesn't condense to a liquid.
However, a dirty EVAPORATOR coil will cause liquid refrigerant to slug the compressor by not allowing enough airflow (through the coil) to boil off the freon to a vapor. So avoid that problem by changing your air filters regularly!

spegull03 07-12-2010 7:39 AM

My a/c was not working well last night, I woke up at 2am and it was still running. Usually its off by midnight or so. I hosed it all out but the fins were so thick I couldn't go inside to out. Water would not make it through. I just angled the nozzle so it would blow the junk to the groud not deeper into the fins. Worked well, thanks!

I think I might need some more coolant though, we shall see tonight how well the cleaning worked.

freonr22 07-13-2010 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spegull03 (Post 4603046)
My a/c was not working well last night, I woke up at 2am and it was still running. Usually its off by midnight or so. I hosed it all out but the fins were so thick I couldn't go inside to out. Water would not make it through. I just angled the nozzle so it would blow the junk to the groud not deeper into the fins. Worked well, thanks!

I think I might need some more coolant though, we shall see tonight how well the cleaning worked.




Quote:

Originally Posted by freonr22 (Post 4577306)
Inside between the supply and the return registers, ideally you are looking for an 18-22 degrees temperature split. on a 70 degree day or warmer.


AWESOME write up!



do a temp split test

Never Convicted 07-14-2010 7:26 AM

Condensor coil is now clean, thanks for the help !

SVT_Fox 07-14-2010 4:26 PM

vacuum the **** out of it

Lancear15 07-15-2010 11:25 AM

93 out right now, it is forecast to be 105 :eek: in the central valley tomorrow, thank god I will be working in the Bay... If you haven't done this already, you might want to do it tonight! :D


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