Cleveland HVAC Blog

Protect your A/C for Longer Life

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Tue, Aug 03, 2010 @ 09:35 AM

Air conditioners get a real workout in the summer, when soaring temperatures often have them working overtime.  Increased hours of use, however, means increased wear and tear, and possibly a shorter life span for system components.  Considering the high cost of replacing parts such as motors and compressors, it’s a good idea to take steps to protect your A/C system from working too hard and wearing out early.

There are several measures that Cleveland-area homeowners can take to keep their A/C systems operating smoothly for many years.  Protection devices, for example, are components designed to protect your air conditioning compressor. The compressor being the heart of the system, it is very expensive to replace.  When checking into a new system, ask if these devices are included:

1. Filter/Dryer: Designed to filter out contaminants or moisture that may enter the refrigerant system during installation or servicing.

2. High and/or low pressure switch: Senses the refrigerant pressures and protects the compressor against undue stress caused by excessively high or damaging low refrigerant pressures.

3.  Time delay relay:  This prevents the short cycling of the compressor.  A compressor that is allowed to turn off and be immediately turned back on is subject to extreme stress.  A time delay relay ensures the compressor will remain off for at least 90 seconds before restarting.  Most programmable thermostats also have a time delay built into them.

We like to think of a time delay relay device as a way to keep your system operating on “highway miles” rather than “city miles” (a lot of stops and starts).  By stopping your unit from going on and off (short-cycling) so much, a time delay relay keeps it from wearing out prematurely.  The great thing about this device is the fact that no matter how often you change the setting on the heat/cool switch or the fan on/auto switch, you can’t burn out your compressor.  This is because the time delay relay won’t turn your system on for 3-5 minutes after the last thermostat adjustment has been made.

4.  If your area suffers from erratic electrical service or surges, we can install a safety control that will monitor and protect against these problems.  It will also let us know that the condition exists and how often it occurs.  Additionally, it can also reduce the annoying light dimming problem that can occur when the AC clicks on.

Another step you can take to protect your A/C system is to plant shade trees near your outside unit, so it doesn’t have to work so hard during the hot summer months.  Remember, though, to keep all plantings at least 2 feet away from the compressor so that they don’t obstruct airflow.

Protecting your A/C for longer life and better performance is often just a matter of taking simple, easy steps to ensure that it doesn’t work harder than it has to.  Ask us about ways that you can keep your A/C operating efficiently for years to come.

P.K. Wadsworth services the Greater Cleveland, OH area including cities Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Eastlake or anywhere in between.  To get started, check out our website.

Topics: air conditioning compressor, c systems, thermostats, cleveland area

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