When should I get an A/C inspection?

Mar 06, 2018

When should I get an A/C inspection?


The weather in Northern Virginia this time of year can be unpredictable — one day can be 35 degrees with a chance of snow, and the next day can be sunny and 65. We’ve seen unseasonably warm February days this year, and a wild, windy March storm that took out power and destroyed property across NoVA.
So what’s that mean to you? It means that now, believe it or not, is actually the perfect time to start thinking about getting an air conditioning tune-up. 
According to USclimatedata.com, March and April 2016 offered a dozen days where temperatures reached over 75 degrees — including four in the mid 80s. Last year was even warmer, with a total of fifteen days over 75, 10 of which were in the 80s. One day even surpassed 90 degrees. 
It’s like your parents told you when you were a kid: plan ahead. Don’t find out that your air conditioning isn’t ready to handle a hot spring day when the mercury is already climbing.

Common Air Conditioner Problems

There are a number of issues your A/C system can experience if it isn’t serviced regularly. Warm weather in Northern Virginia often extends into early fall, which means your HVAC system is working hard for the better part of the year. 
It’s important to have an HVAC professional conduct an inspection each spring to ensure there wasn’t any damage to your cooling system during the previous warm season. Here are some of the most common air conditioning problems we encounter that often go unnoticed by homeowners:
Dirty evaporator coil. After a long summer of running the air conditioning, there’s a good chance your unit has built up a layer of dirt. Debris on the evaporator coil can delay the cooling process, which makes your A/C work harder and can eventually cause the system to break down.
Blocked or dirty condenser. The condenser coils on your outdoor unit also need to be cleaned regularly since they are exposed to the elements. Dirt, accumulated leaves, or even animal nests can create blockages that restrict air flow.
Clogged air filter. Air flow is restricted when your system’s filter is full of dirt and debris. Without adequate air flow over the coils, the system can’t properly cool the air to the set temperature, which means it’s going to work harder to cool your home.
Fan speed issues. If the fan is running at a low speed, your HVAC unit will have to run longer to cool your home. Low fan speed may be caused by built up debris on the fan blades, or the speed settings may need to be adjusted. 
Low refrigerant. A leak in your HVAC system’s coils can lead to loss of refrigerant, which means your unit will work harder to cool your home. In this case, you will need an experienced HVAC pro to repair the leak and replace the lost refrigerant.
Incorrectly sized unit. If you’ve recently renovated or rearranged the layout of your home, it’s possible that your HVAC unit can no longer meet the needs of your space. A certified HVAC professional can perform a load calculation to determine what size and model of HVAC system is right for your house.


Our Inspection Process

This chilly time of year may be the best time to have one of our five-star technicians perform your HVAC system inspection. Not only do you get peace of mind knowing that your home is ready to take on the upcoming summer heat, but you save yourself the headache of trying to schedule your service during our busy season, when appointments fill up quickly. 
The one challenge HVAC professionals face when conducting winter A/C inspections is the outdoor temperature. Luckily, our technicians have found a way to overcome that obstacle. 
Robert Allen, one of our HVAC Quality Control Managers, has nearly 40 years of commercial and residential HVAC experience. Here’s how he and other our other fantastic technicians approach cold weather A/C inspections:
“The temperature needs to be above 55 degrees for the air conditioner to run properly, so what we do is simulate a specific outdoor temperature for the condensing unit by trapping heat in the unit while is running,” Robert explains. “When the air conditioning is running, the outdoor unit rejects heat from the house, so we use that expelled heat to raise the temperature the unit reads by trapping the warm air as it leaves the outdoor unit. We can then look for specific refrigerant temperature readings called ‘superheat’ and ‘subcooling’, which can tell us if the HVAC system is operating properly, and if not, which repairs need to be made.”


Call CroppMetcalfe Today

Don’t wait until a problem arises to have your HVAC system inspected — an A/C tune up now can save you time and frustration later down the line. Call one of our five-star technicians at 1-877-740-6657 or contact us online today to schedule your A/C inspection.