In the refrigeration cycle, heat is transported from a colder location to a hotter area. As heat would naturally flow in the opposite direction, work is required to achieve this. A refrigerator is an example of such a system, as it transports the heat out of the interior and into its environment. The refrigerant is used as the medium which absorbs and removes heat from the space to be cooled and subsequently ejects that heat elsewhere.
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.

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An annual inspection of your unit can ensure that the various potential problems mentioned above are detected early, and before they require complete replacement. During this inspection, for instance, a professional might find small cracks in your heat exchanger or a faulty seal in your blower motor. Some manufacturer's warranties even require these annual inspections to maintain validity. Typically, your furnace inspection will cost between $80 and $150 depending on the area in which you live and the professional you work with.
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).
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