The concrete pads under home air conditioner and heat exchanger units tend to settle over the years. As long as there’s no strain on the copper coolant tubes and electrical lines, and the unit stays dry and level, it’s OK that the pad has sunk. But if it continues to sink and pulls the lines tight, or if water puddles around the unit, you’ll need to take action. Here’s how to fix it.
Inside the unit, the air passes over the evaporator coil first, and is cooled and dehumidified. The now dehumidified, cold air then passes over the condenser coil where it is warmed up again. Then the air is released back into the room. The unit produces warm, dehumidified air and can usually be placed freely in the environment (room) that is to be conditioned.
In the United States, HVAC engineers generally are members of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), EPA Universal CFC certified (for installation and service of CFC HVAC devices), or locally engineer certified such as a Special to Chief Boilers License issued by the state or, in some jurisdictions, the city. ASHRAE is an international technical society for all individuals and organizations interested in HVAC. The Society, organized into regions, chapters, and student branches, allows exchange of HVAC knowledge and experiences for the benefit of the field's practitioners and the public. ASHRAE provides many opportunities to participate in the development of new knowledge via, for example, research and its many technical committees. These committees typically meet twice per year at the ASHRAE Annual and Winter Meetings. A popular product show, the AHR Expo, is held in conjunction with each winter meeting. The Society has approximately 50,000 members and has headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
Your HVAC professional can also help you verify that your system is properly matched by providing you with an AHRI Certificate of Certified Product Performance upon request. The certificate verifies that the outdoor unit (condenser) and the indoor unit (evaporator) combination has been certified as a matched system by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). For higher efficiency systems, this certification may help you obtain a rebate from your utility or local municipality if you have to replace your unit in whole or in part. Not all areas offer a rebate, but your technician will likely be able to provide information about the certification process. Fees for performing this certification vary, but generally are relatively inexpensive.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that all technicians who open a system containing a controlled refrigerant be certified to do so. There are four levels of certification, one of which is a “universal” certification to allow the HVAC technician to work on any type of equipment containing refrigerant. Your HVAC technician should be certified as “Level II Certified” at a minimum or, preferably, “Universal Certification” to work on your central air conditioner. Obtaining this certification information from your professional HVAC technician may be required in the event you are working with a realtor to sell your home. Costs for certification average $40 to $240.
A pinging or popping sound coming from the duct work can come from thermal expansion—the ductwork expanding and contracting as it heats and cools. Or, air blowing past a loose flap of metal can make the sound. Track along the duct runs, listening for the sound. If you locate it, make a small dent in the sheet metal to provide a more rigid surface that’s less likely to move as it heats and cools.
In the most general sense, air conditioning can refer to any form of technology that modifies the condition of air (heating, (de-) humidification, cooling, cleaning, ventilation, or air movement). In common usage, though, "air conditioning" refers to systems which cool air. In construction, a complete system of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is referred to as HVAC.
With the split system, the evaporator coil is connected to a remote condenser unit using refrigerant piping between an indoor and outdoor unit instead of ducting air directly from the outdoor unit. Indoor units with directional vents mount onto walls, suspended from ceilings, or fit into the ceiling. Other indoor units mount inside the ceiling cavity, so that short lengths of duct handle air from the indoor unit to vents or diffusers around the rooms.
Replacing a capacitor is easy. Just take a photo of the wires before disconnecting anything (you may need a reference later on). Then discharge the stored energy in the old capacitor (Photo 4). Use needle-nose pliers to pluck one wire at a time from the old capacitor and snap it onto the corresponding tab of the new capacitor. The female crimp connectors should snap tightly onto the capacitor tabs. Wiggle each connector to see if it’s tight. If it’s not, remove the connector and bend the rounded edges of it so it makes a tighter fit on the tab. When you’ve swapped all the wires, secure the new capacitor (Photo 5).