This Week’s Air Conditioning Repairs

I sure was glad to see the rain yesterday.  My goodness we needed it.  The rain sure does a number on our air conditioning service calls.  It usually brings with it cooler weather which will bring our air conditioning service calls to a grinding halt.  But we’re used to that, we’ve always had the ebbs and flows of the air conditioning industry–crazy busy one week and very slow the next.  We’ve been having such weird weather patterns over the last few months, it sure makes me wonder what kind of Summer we are in for this year.  We never know, unfortunately, what kind of heat exactly we will have, what kind of calls, what kind of equipment we will sell.  We go blindly into every air conditioning season every year.  It’s like opening a gift, you just don’t know until you get it out and look it over exactly what you’re going to get and by then, it’s too late, you get what you get.  Well, Summer is definitely upon us.  Last week’s heat brought some interesting service calls and I wanted to share a few of interest with you.

I got a call on Wednesday from a new customer.  She found us on a Google search by typing in air conditioning repair in Garland.  She owned a rental property in Garland. The tenant had called her and said that the inside was freezing up and it was not cooling.  She asked that I call the tenant, schedule the appointment, and go out and take care of it.  I did just that.  I called the tenant that evening and told her to shut the system off the next morning before she left for work and then scheduled the call for 1-2 that afternoon.  Anytime there are freeze ups we need the system left off for at least 4 hours to make sure it is completely thawed.  I arrived around 1:30 and headed straight for the furnace, which was located in a closet in the home.  The tenant had shut the system off that morning as I requested so it was thawed.  After making all the checks of the reason a system could freeze up I found that it was low on R-410A refrigerant and the outdoor coils were very, very dirty.  I added refrigerant but didn’t like the looks of my pressures, my sub-cooling or the fact that the temperature differential was very high.  I did a little further investigating and found that the evaporator coil in the closet stated it was for R-22 refrigerant.  I noticed it had a TXV added to it and that the outside unit was installed in 2009 but the evaporator coil was older.  It appeared, and this is crazy but we DO have to become private investigators a lot of time on these systems to figure out problems, that the outdoor unit was installed and the company that installed it tried to convert the indoor evaporator coil to R-410A by changing or adding the TXV, not realizing (or not caring) that the evaporator coil stated plainly on the front that the coil was for R-22 only and it had a maximum pressure of 500 psi.  R-410A can sometimes go higher than that.  I called the landlord and she stated she had just bought the house in foreclosure in 2010, so all this work was done before she purchased the house.  This is a really good example of a low-bidder situation.  I understand the bad economy and hard times of the world today but the old saying, “you get what you pay for”, holds true.  It’s really a buyer beware market and if you don’t know the company who is doing work for you then you really don’t know what you’re getting.  You always end up paying in the end.

We also had to follow up this week on some air conditioning installations we had done the week before.  We finished up installs on cool days and that makes it near impossible to get the refrigerant charge correct.  You really need a warm day, with a heat load inside the house to get the refrigerant charge and the subcooling just right.  So we returned this week to a couple houses to make sure that was all correct.

We also purchased a new trailer this week.  Ronnie was so excited.  The air conditioning equipment has gotten so large these days, with efficiency comes size, and all of our trailers were too small to pick up entire air conditioning systems or several air conditioners.  I remember the days when you could fit an entire air conditioning system in the back of our vans.  Now the air conditioners alone don’t fit.  So the trailer was the newest addition to our business, it’s a nice one we picked up over near Rockwall.

One more thing I encountered this week, I was on a service call in Garland, an old customer of ours that has been with us for several years.  Her air conditioner was 19 years old and the condenser fan motor was seized up.  Also, the start capacitor which helps the compressor start had discharged, which is an indication that the compressor could be failing.  When customers ask my advice on repair, 10 years is usually my cut-off for replacing a condenser fan motor.  If the unit is 10+ years old I tell them it’s time to really think hard about whether or not to put that much money into the old unit.  Condenser fan motors are expensive and if the unit is beginning to fail it could be a complete waste of money.  But I ultimately leave the final decision up to the customer.  As I stated before in past blogs, I will give you my advice and direction but I will let you make the final decision.  We’re an old fashioned, family-owned air conditioning company.  We do things “old school” and we do things right the first time.  We take care of our customers and treat them like family.  That’s just the way we do it around here, and I’m proud to be the owner of Acme Air Conditioning.

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