Friday, October 5, 2012

Cooling Problems - Part 1

Everyone in the apartment or rental industry has dealt with this.  You receive a call from a resident stating that no matter what they do, it wont get cool in their apartment.  You check it out and sure enough, the thermostat is turned own to 60 degrees, the air handler is working overtime and only blowing room temp air.  You check the A-coil and it's frozen solid.
Weather you are in the apartment industry or not, cleaning your condenser coils is a great way to ensure that your air conditioner is running as efficiently as it can.
The first thing to do is to turn off the air handler and AC.  This thing needs to thaw out while we deal with the real problem.  Thaw out can take from just a few hours if it's hot out to a full day weather and humidity is not in your favor so let the resident know to be patient.
Go ahead and check the furnace filter and replace it if necessary - your in the apartment, just get it done.  With better airflow, the system will work better.
Now go outside and check the condenser unit.  If it looks like it's wearing a sweater then you probably found your problem.  If the fins are so covered with debris that they cannot transfer heat then the coolant cannot do it's job.

Here is how to deal with the problem!

1.  Turn off power to the unit and remove the wire grate or vented cover from the condenser unit.  This is usually all 4 sides but some units may only use 2 or 3 of the sides for fins.
2.  Use a soft brush or coil comb to remove the lint, leaves and trash from the coils.  I like to use a toilet brush - they are cheap and cover more area than a coil comb.
3.  Use a coil clean to spray down the coils.  Coil cleaner can be purchased in concentrated form from and HVAC supply warehouse or by the singe use can from your local hardware store.
4.  Allow the cleaner to sit (READ THE DIRECTIONS) and then rinse off using a hose of a bucket of water.  Some coil cleaners will damage the fins if left on too long while others claim they can be left on and need no rinsing.  I prefer to rinse no matter what the can says.
5.  Replace the outer cover and turn the unit back on.  NOTE: make sure to completely thaw out the A-coil before running the system again.  It wont work while it covered in ice!

If everything else is working properly, you should have a cool running unit (that is, when the iceberg now residing in the air handler finally thaws out).

If your air handler is working and your condenser coils are clean but the system still does not work well, you may have a dirty A-coil or possibly be low on Freon.  We'll deal with these issues later.


  1. Yes everyone face the problem of cooling especially in summer so without it our AC not work properly. We should twice in a year service your AC in order to get better results.

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  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss that, I really feel strongly about it and love learning more on that about this heating and air conditioning service topic. If achievable, as you gain competence, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is highly helpful for me.

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