They say knowledge is power, and that’s undoubtedly the truth when it comes to your air conditioner. While complicated repairs are best left to professionals, it’s helpful to have a rudimentary understanding of your air conditioner and how to solve common AC issues.

Learning how your AC works and the typical problems it faces will allow you to deal with simple problems without needing to call an HVAC specialist every time. This not only saves you cash on minor service calls, but knowing when to call a professional can help prevent small issues from escalating into major repairs.

Your Air conditioner is a fundamental component of your home comfort. Because of that, you should always err on the side of caution and call a NATE-certified professional for air conditioning repair in Lake Forest if you're unsure about any aspect of your air conditioner's operation or maintenance.

Here are some common questions people ask our experts about their air conditioners:

1. What Is the Best Way to Clean an Air Conditioner?

Cleaning your AC is a smart way to make sure it runs efficiently, and potentially could extend the life of your unit.

The most significant step you can take on your own is to swap out the air filter in your air conditioner. The filter captures dust, pollen, pet hair and other debris, and removes those contaminants from the air circulating in your home. If your AC filter becomes clogged, the air conditioner has to work harder than it should in order to pull air through the filter. A clean filter catches the airborne debris while still permitting air to flow efficiently through the system.

Replacement filters are sold at most popular home improvement stores, hardware stores or can be purchased from your local HVAC professional. A good way to make sure you get the proper filter is to look at your old one before you leave for the store, noting the size of the filter. If you’re not familiar with filters, it’s also a smart idea to note the filtration level of the current filter if you are trying to buy something similar.

For thorough service of your air conditioner, contact the skilled professionals like the crew at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning to do regular maintenance on your system. They’ll look over your system, clean or lubricate parts that require attention and look for worn-out parts and potential issues.

2. How Are the Coils on My Air Conditioner Cleaned?

In addition to ensuring your indoor AC unit is operating efficiently, it’s also a good idea to tend to your outdoor unit. Cleaning the coils on the exterior unit of your air conditioner is a simple way to improve its efficiency and can extend the life of your entire system.

The coils, which are attached to extensions called fins, are used to release heat from the refrigerant to the outdoors. This cools the refrigerant, which then goes back into your home so it can absorb more heat from the air in your home's interior. Cleansing the fins and the coils will help them release heat more easily.

To clean your air conditioner’s fins and coil:

1) First, turn off power to the outdoor unit. It’s best to disconnect it completely from power, instead of turning the thermostat off.

2) Remove the top of the outdoor AC so you can access the interior of the unit. Then, taking care not to pull hard on any cords or attachments, safely set the top to the side.

3) Put a cleaning solution on the fins, first at the top and moving down. Commercial coil cleaners are available and commonly found in both the canned aerosol spray from as well as in the form of foaming solutions that are applied with your garden hose.

4) Follow directions on the product to apply. For most products, it's advised that you spray the product on, let the cleaner soak in for a short period of time to attack the grime and then softly spray it off with a garden hose. Be careful not to spray really hard, because that could harm the coils or fins!

5) Secure the top back on the unit and then wait for the coils and fins to dry before turning it back on.

3. How Long Do Air Conditioners Last?

The life span of an air conditioner can vary based on the type of unit, its quality, if maintained and how much it's used. However, industry experts say you should start looking into air conditioner replacement after about 12-15 years.

One of the best ways to get maximum value from your HVAC is through regular conditioner maintenance. Tuneups from 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning features cleaning and inspecting the machinery, as well as putting in a new filter and repairing any worn-out or broken parts. To keep your unit operating a long time, call us today to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Lake Forest.

4. What Size Air Conditioner Should I Have?

Choosing the proper size of air conditioner for your home is vital for maintaining comfort and efficiency. Here are some factors to take into account when deciding what size air conditioner to buy for your home:

  • Square footage: The total area of the space you need to cool is one of the biggest factors. Bigger spaces demand more cooling power.
  • Home insulation: Well-insulated homes hold cool air better, which could decrease your cooling needs.
  • Climate: If you reside in a hotter climate, you'll require a more powerful air conditioner compared to a homeowner living in a cooler climate.
  • Number of windows: Windows frequently let in heat, especially when they're south-facing or not well-insulated.
  • Number of people: More people in the house produce more body heat, which may affect your cooling needs.
  • Present HVAC system: The size and effectiveness of your current system can provide a starting point for determining what you need.

Given that the size of your air conditioner is so essential to your home’s comfort, you will likely want a professional opinion. At 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, we take the time to thoroughly understand your family’s lifestyle, comfort needs and the many other variables such as your home’s design and size. This attention to detail and commitment to customer service is why 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning is known for superb air conditioning installation in Lake Forest.

5. How Much Does an Air Conditioner Cost?

While prices fluctuate depending on the type of the unit and your home’s unique needs, a new AC generally costs between $5,000 and $12,500 to purchase and install. On the plus side, a benefit of air conditioning replacement is that new air conditioners are designed to be exceptionally efficient, so they do more with less power when compared to older units.

The price tag of an air conditioner is influenced by several factors during the manufacturing process, such as the cost and availability of raw materials, manufacturing and labor costs along with federal regulations that can impact the design.

Realize these are average costs and prices can differ. It's always helpful to get numerous quotes from reliable HVAC companies before making a decision. If you’re considering air conditioning replacement in Lake Forest, reach out to 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning. We will schedule an appointment to provide you with a free estimate, describe the procedure and help connect you with available rebates or discounts.

6. Why Is My Air Conditioner Freezing Up?

An AC freezing up can be a consequence of a number of factors, all of which boil down to the failure of your system to efficiently transfer heat. If your air conditioner is suffering from issues causing it to freeze up, it is very likely time for air conditioning repair.

Here are some typical triggers for AC freezing up:

  • Inadequate airflow: If the air isn't flowing easily through your AC system, it can't sufficiently absorb heat. This could be due to a clogged air filter, blocked return air ducts or a failing fan.
  • Low refrigerant levels: If your air conditioner is getting low on refrigerant, it could grow too cold and freeze up. This is usually a consequence of leakages in the refrigerant lines.
  • Cold outdoor temperatures: Running the air conditioner when it's really cold outside can cause the system to freeze. The majority of units aren't designed to work in temperatures lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
  • Mechanical failures: Broken thermostats, damaged blower motors and problems with the relay or control board can all play a role in an AC unit freezing up.

1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning is your Respected Source for Air Conditioning Service in Lake Forest.

At 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, we are focusing on making your home a comfortable and pleasant place. Our knowledgeable professionals are up-to-date on the latest industry training and trends, and work on on a wide variety of systems. That’s why community members make us the first choice for air conditioning repair in Lake Forest and neighboring towns.

If you’re planning to upgrade or its time for a new unit, we’ve got you covered there too, with our first-class air conditioning installation in Lake Forest. No matter what, we can help you solve your cooling issues!

Contact 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning today at 949-204-0859 to schedule an appointment or no-cost estimate!