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How to Test an AC Capacitor?

How to Test an AC Capacitor: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Air conditioner capacitors store electrical energy, and when they malfunction, it can cause your AC unit to run inefficiently or not at all.

Testing an air conditioner capacitor is relatively simple.

Nevertheless, it will require you to know a few things about your AC unit first.

By understanding how an air conditioner capacitor works and what tools are needed to test one, you can quickly identify any issues before they become unfixable.

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to test both start capacitors and run capacitors.

We’ll also discuss different types of AC capacitors and their function in the overall operation of an air conditioning system.

Keep reading to learn how to diagnose a capacitor problem in your AC.

What is an AC Capacitor and How Does It Work?

An air conditioner capacitor is an essential component of a home air conditioning unit.

It is typically found near the fan blades or coils of the AC unit.

Its primary function is to store and supply power for your system’s motors.

In simple terms, it acts as a surge protector, providing a jolt of electricity to get your AC up and running when you first turn it on.

The amount of electricity required to turn on an AC can be quite high.

As such, the capacitor helps reduce this load by storing energy in powerful bursts.

This helps increase the speed at which your air conditioner starts up.

It can also help with reducing wear and tear on its components.

After the initial start-up phase, the capacitor reduces its output to a steady current that powers your system until it shuts off.

Air conditioner capacitors come in different sizes and are measured in voltage and microfarads (MFD).

Voltage measures how fast electrical current moves through the capacitor.

Meanwhile, MFD indicates how much electrical current it can store.

Most capacitors range from 5 MFD to 80 MFD, depending on their size and model.

A larger capacitor will typically have more voltage and MFD than smaller models.

This means they can handle higher loads of electricity without overloading the system or causing damage.

While all capacitors serve similar functions, they should not be used interchangeably.

Since they are designed for certain types of air conditioning systems, using them on an incompatible system can lead to irreversible problems.

If you’re unsure about what type of capacitor is right for you, contact your local HVAC specialist.

They can help you identify what type of capacitor works best for your AC unit.

What Is a Dual-Run Capacitor?

A dual-run capacitor is a combination of two capacitors in one unit.

It powers the fan motor and compressor motor simultaneously, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to start up your AC unit.

Dual-run capacitors are more common than single-run models as they help improve efficiency while also reducing wear and tear on the components.

Start and Run Capacitors: What Are They?

Modern AC units have two types of AC capacitors: a start capacitor and a run capacitor.

Let’s look at each type before moving on to our step-by-step guide:

Start Capacitor

A start capacitor is a temporary capacitor that helps get the motor running.

This type of capacitor has a higher voltage rating and will only be used for a few seconds when you first turn on your AC.

Run Capacitor

The run capacitor, on the other hand, works to maintain continuous power flow to the motor after the initial start-up phase.

It has a lower voltage rating and stays charged until the AC is turned off.

Its main function is to ensure that the fan or compressor motor runs efficiently without straining or overheating.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Test AC Capacitor

Now that we’ve gone over what an AC capacitor is and the two types of capacitors used in modern ACs, let’s take a look at how to test the capacitor.

Materials & Tools Needed to Test an AC Capacitor

To test an AC capacitor, you’ll need the following materials and tools:

  • Multimeter
  • Insulated gloves
  • Voltage tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers

Step 1: Wear Insulated Gloves

Before beginning, make sure to wear insulated gloves for safety.

Additionally, double-check that your AC has been turned off, to avoid harmful and unwanted accidents.

Step 2: Locate the Capacitor

As mentioned earlier, the capacitor is typically found near the AC fan motor or compressor.

Use your screwdriver to open your AC unit and find the AC capacitors.

You’ll see some wires connecting your AC components to the start and run capacitor.

Take a picture of the wires to use as a reference when you reconnect them later.

Step 3: Discharge the Capacitor Terminals

Capacitors that are in good condition can carry charges for hours up to months after being unplugged from their main power source.

Before anything else, make sure to discharge the capacitor terminals to avoid harmful accidents.

Using the metal shaft of your screwdriver, short the terminals connecting your AC unit to the capacitors.

Keep your fingers as far away from the screwdriver’s metal shaft as possible.

It may take a few minutes for the energy to evacuate the air conditioner capacitor.

Step 4: Check voltage rating and Remove Wires

Check the voltage on the capacitors using a voltage meter or multimeter.

Using a pair of pliers, remove the wires connected to your air conditioner capacitor.

Now, you can test your capacitor’s “capacitance” levels.

Step 5: Set Multimeter

You can use two types of multimeters to test a capacitor: an analog or digital multimeter.

A digital multimeter is easier to use than an analog meter. However, we’ll walk you through how to use each type.

How to Use a Digital meter

Set your digital meter to “capacitance.”

Using the probes provided with the multimeter, touch one end of each capacitor terminal.

If the readings are below the stated capacitance setting on your AC manual, you likely need a new capacitor.

How to Use an Analog meter

If you’re using an analog meter, connect the probes to each capacitor terminal.

Turn your dial until you reach the capacitance setting and observe the needle’s deflection.

Again, if the needle does not move far enough or points below the stated capacitance value on your AC capacitor, it likely needs replacement.

Tips for Troubleshooting AC Capacitor Issues

If you experience any issues while testing your AC capacitor, here are some tips to help troubleshoot them:

  • Make sure all connections are secure and firmly in place.
  • Inspect the capacitor for any signs of corrosion or damage to the casing.
  • Check that all wiring is intact and properly insulated.
  • Use a quality multimeter to ensure you’re getting an accurate reading.

When all else fails, it is best to seek professional help from an HVAC technician.

Signs of a Bad AC Capacitor

A bad AC capacitor can be tricky to spot. Fortunately, there are signs that can help you identify an AC capacitor problem.

Compressor or Condenser Fan Motor Won’t Start

The first sign you’ll notice when dealing with a bad AC capacitor is a dysfunctional compressor or fan motor.

Since your AC capacitor is not supplying enough energy for either component, it makes it harder for them to maintain functionality, if they manage to turn on at all.

Insufficient Cooling

Another sign that your AC capacitor has gone bad is if your AC stops producing enough cold air for your home.

This is because your unit might not be receiving sufficient energy to keep things running.

Higher Energy Bills

The condenser fan motor has to work harder to make up for a faulty AC capacitor.

You can expect lesser efficiency and higher energy bills as a result.

Since your fan motor needs to work twice as hard to keep up with the demands of your home, a faulty capacitor can also shorten the life expectancy of your unit.

In other words, you may have to replace your AC unit sooner than you thought.

When to Seek Professional Help

If the AC capacitor in your system has gone bad, it is best to replace it as quickly as possible.

Testing an AC capacitor is not a difficult task as long as you know what you’re doing.

If you arm yourself with the right materials and tools, as well as understand how to use them properly, you can easily test your AC capacitor for any faults.

If all else fails, seek professional help from an HVAC technician who can handle the job safely and efficiently.

A specialist can also detect any other underlying issues in your AC unit that could be causing a problem and make the necessary repairs.

Reliable and Effective Solutions to All Your HVAC Needs

Having a malfunctioning air conditioner can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient.

Not only is it uncomfortable, but you also run the risk of higher energy bills due to inefficient cooling.

Plus, if your AC capacitor has gone bad, it could shorten the life expectancy of your unit and require costly repairs or replacements.

A qualified and experienced professional can inspect your AC unit, identify any underlying issues, and provide reliable and effective solutions to all your HVAC needs.

One-Stop Heating and Air Conditioning is a trusted provider of HVAC services for homeowners across Sandy, UT.

With years of experience in providing air conditioning and heating systems, we are devoted to making sure that your home is comfortable and energy efficient all year round.

Our team of qualified professionals can provide comprehensive diagnostics of your AC system. We also offer reliable and effective solutions to all your HVAC needs.

Whether it’s a new AC capacitor, AC repairs, or AC maintenance—we can help you get the best results at an affordable price.

Contact (801) 355-9500 for more details.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace AC Capacitor?

Comparing Prices and Options for HVAC Repairs

An AC capacitor is a vital part of the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.

Without a capacitor, your AC unit won’t be able to turn on or run efficiently.

But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t know much about your air conditioner capacitor — let alone how much it costs to replace it when it starts to fail.

In this article, we’ll look at AC capacitor basics: different types available on the market today and associated costs for replacement parts and installation services.

Keep reading to learn more about the costs of AC capacitor maintenance and repairs.

What is an Air Conditioner Capacitor?

An AC capacitor is like a battery that provides the initial jump of electricity to start and run the AC system. It also helps keep it running steadily by controlling the amount of power going into the compressor motor.

How Long Does An Air Conditioner’s Capacitor Last?

Generally speaking, an air conditioner’s capacitor lasts around 10 years or longer. Age and usage will play a big role in how long they last.

If your AC capacitor is more than 10 years old, it may be time to start looking into AC capacitor replacement costs and options.

Types of AC Capacitors

The three main types of AC capacitors are run capacitors, start capacitors, and dual-run capacitors.

Run Capacitor

The run capacitor is responsible for keeping the AC compressor motor running smoothly.

It helps regulate the electrical current that is needed to power the AC compressor motor consistently.

Start Capacitor

The start capacitor provides an initial burst of energy when starting up your AC unit, allowing the AC blower to begin circulating air.

Dual Run Capacitor

A dual-run capacitor is a combination of both a start capacitor and a run capacitor. The great thing about dual-run capacitors is that they can run larger AC units thanks to its larger power supply.

Unfortunately, if one part fails, you will have to replace the whole thing. This may mean more expensive AC repair costs.

Signs of a Bad AC Capacitor

A common sign of air conditioning capacitor failure is a sudden decrease in AC performance.

If your AC unit is no longer cooling or heating as it should, it may be due to a faulty HVAC capacitor.

Other signs can include:

  • Loud humming or clicking noises coming from the AC unit
  • Delayed fan start-up times
  • AC doesn’t turn on
  • AC shuts off randomly
  • AC doesn’t produce cool air as efficiently
  • A burning smell coming from the AC unit
  • Higher energy bills
  • Gas leakage

If you notice any of these signs, it might be time for an AC capacitor replacement. Contact an HVAC contractor to help diagnose your problem.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace AC Capacitors Alone?

Standalone AC capacitor prices generally depend on the type and model you’re planning to buy.

The capacitor’s brand and voltage may also affect its price.

If you plan to replace an AC capacitor in your HVAC system, you must consider these factors in your budget.

Here’s a closer look at how much each capacitor type is:

Costs for a New Dual Capacitor

Dual capacitors can cost around $15 to $45.

They’re the ideal choice for large HVAC systems as they can easily power both the compressor and fan motors simultaneously.

You have several options for where to buy the parts.

You can visit a local AC parts store or shop online from various AC part suppliers.

Costs for a New Start Capacitor

You can buy a start capacitor at a slightly cheaper price than dual-run capacitors.

For parts alone, you can expect to spend around $9 to $25.

Location, labor, voltage, and other factors can affect these numbers.

Request a quote from your HVAC services provider before finalizing any decisions.

Costs for a New Run Capacitor

Run capacitors are responsible for maintaining the proper energy supply in your air conditioner system.

Buying a new run capacitor can cost you anywhere between $6 to $30.

Other Factors That Affect AC Capacitor Cost

There’s more to consider than just capacitor prices alone when trying to determine the overall costs of replacements.


Location is a major factor that affects AC capacitor prices.

Depending on where you live, AC parts may be more expensive due to higher demand or lack of AC repair contractors.

Hotter climates typically require ACs to run year-round, which can increase AC repair costs as the demand for AC services increases.

Similarly, living in an area with a higher cost of living can lead to more expensive AC capacitor replacement costs.

AC Type and Size

AC capacitor cost can vary depending on an HVAC system’s type and size.

Larger AC units may require more expensive capacitors to power their systems.

Meanwhile, smaller ACs can get by with cheaper AC parts.

AC units that are older models will most likely need to use an AC capacitor designed for those types of ACs.

This can be harder to find and may need to be custom ordered. Thus, it may cost more than traditional parts.


AC capacitor cost can increase significantly during the summer. That’s because AC contractors are busy and more people need AC repair when it is hot outside.

If you want to save on replacement and repair costs, consider getting services during off-peak seasons.

AC Capacitor Cost: DIY Replacement

Some homeowners prefer DIY air conditioner capacitor replacements.

While it’s true that DIY repairs and replacements can save some people money, it’s not always the best solution.

You can replace an old or malfunctioning AC capacitor for as little as $60 to $100. This saves you around $60 to $200 in parts and labor costs.

However, taking things into your own hands means you need to take extra care when conducting repairs.

The slightest mistake can set you back several hundred dollars.

Additionally, if you don’t already have the necessary tools to conduct DIY repairs, you need to set aside a budget for it.

Materials and Tools Needed

Tools and materials can also affect your AC capacitor replacement cost.

Here’s a general list of tools you’ll need with their corresponding prices:

  • Electricians Safety Gloves ($20)
  • Insulated Screwdriver ($15)
  • Nut Driver ($5)
  • Safety Glasses ($10)

These prices are not fixed. Your location, the brand you buy, and the date that you buy will affect the tool prices.

AC Capacitor Cost: Professional Replacement

If researching how to properly and safely replace an AC capacitor is not your style, you can always ask a professional to help.

Depending on their level of experience, assistance from a professional can cost you anywhere between $60 to $200.

Transportation, tools, parts, and union are typically charged separately.

DIY vs Professional AC Capacitor Replacement: Which Is Better?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

It all depends on your AC repair needs and your skill set. If you’re comfortable with DIY AC capacitor replacements, then go for it!

On the other hand, seeking help from a professional AC repair contractor can give you peace of mind that the AC capacitor replacement is conducted in a proper and safe manner.

This could save you money in the long run, as well as prevent any future AC repair problems.

Whether you decide to go for DIY or professional AC capacitor replacements, always remember to compare prices and options from different sources.

This can help you find the best AC capacitor replacement for your AC unit.

How to Save Money on AC Capacitor Replacement Cost

We understand why most people would want to avoid getting professional services.

Most people aren’t willing to pay for professional AC capacitor replacement costs.

However, there are still ways you can save on professional services when you need to replace an AC capacitor:

Buy Your Own Replacement Capacitor

To save money on a professional AC capacitor replacement, purchase your own AC capacitor and hire an experienced HVAC technician to do the installation. You can find capacitors in a variety of sizes, voltage levels, and types, so make sure you do some research online before buying the right one for your AC unit.

Study the Signs of Capacitor Failure

Know the signs of a failing capacitor. That way you can shut off your air conditioner before further problems arise.

Get Regular Maintenance and Repair

Get maintenance and repair services during off-peak seasons. Contractors are typically in less demand this time of year.

Inquire About Packages Deals and Discounts

Ask your provider if they offer package deals or discounts to shave a few dollars off your bill.

Your One-Stop Shop for All Things Heating and Air Conditioning

Keeping your home comfortable and energy-efficient requires a well-running HVAC system.

Unfortunately, your air conditioner capacitor can malfunction or break down anytime, leading to costly repairs and replacements.

AC capacitor problems can be hard to detect until it’s too late.

This can result in expensive repair bills that could have been avoided with proper maintenance.

One-Stop Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help!

We provide professional AC maintenance and AC repair services at competitive prices so you don’t have to worry about taking things into your own hands.

Our experienced technicians are knowledgeable about all types of air conditioners available on the market.

Thus, we are confident that we can help you find the best solution!

We also have package deals and discounts so you can save money on our services.

Please feel free to reach out to learn more about our offers or get a free quote by calling (801) 355-9500 today.

We look forward to working with you!

How to Diagnose a Low Freon Problem in Your Home Air Conditioning Unit

Are you worried that your home air conditioning unit might have a low Freon problem? Don’t worry – it’s not as difficult as it may seem.

In fact, with the right tools and knowledge, anyone can diagnose their AC and identify potential problems.

This article will provide an easy-to-follow guide on correctly diagnosing your system and pinpointing any issues related to refrigerant levels or blockages in the refrigerant lines.

We’ll also discuss the importance of proper maintenance for air conditioners and provide tips on how to prevent future problems from occurring.

What is Freon?

Freon is a refrigerant used to cool your home. It’s often referred to as a “refrigerant gas” or “coolant” and is found inside most AC systems.

It is a colorless, odorless gas and was first developed in the 1930s. It is referred to by its chemical name, dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC-12), and is one of the most widely used refrigerants in the world.

Freon works by evaporating and condensing rapidly to create a cooling effect. This process is known as vapor compression refrigeration.

When the compressor in your system compresses freon gas, it increases its temperature and pressure. The new hot and pressurized freon then travels through a series of coils.

As this happens, heat is released outside while cooler air flows into your home or building’s interior spaces. The newly cooled air is then sent back to the compressor where it begins the cycle all over again.

What Causes Freon Problems in Air Conditioning Systems?

If your AC unit is running inefficiently or isn’t cooling correctly, it could be due to a low refrigerant issue. Low levels of freon can be caused by several things, including:

  • A leak in the evaporator coil
  • Refrigerant blockages
  • Improper maintenance
  • Poorly installed units

How to Diagnose a Low Freon Problem

In order to properly diagnose a low freon problem in your AC system, you’ll need the following tools:

  • An AC pressure gauge
  • A thermometer
  • A vacuum pump

Step 1: Check for Leaks

The first step in diagnosing a low freon problem is to check for leaks. Begin by inspecting all of the refrigerant lines and joints. Look for any signs of wear or damage that could be causing a refrigerant leak, like cracked seals or loose fittings.

If you find any visible signs of a leak, the next step is to use the pressure gauge. Connect it to the refrigerant line and check for a drop in pressure from one side of the system to the other. If you see a significant difference, this could be an indication that there is a leak in the line.

Step 2: Check for Blockages

After checking for leaks, the next step is to check for blockages. Start by checking all of the refrigerant lines and making sure that there aren’t any foreign objects blocking the flow of freon gas. You can also use a thermometer to measure the temperature of each line. If it’s significantly cooler than the outside air, this could be an indication of a blockage.

Step 3: Check for Proper Maintenance

If you haven’t been regularly maintaining your AC system, this could also be causing problems with the refrigerant levels. Make sure that you have had your AC unit serviced by an HVAC technician at least once per year in order to ensure that it’s running efficiently and the refrigerant levels are correct.

Step 4: Check for Poor Installation

If your AC system was not properly installed, it could also cause problems with your AC’s refrigerant levels. Make sure that all components are properly configured and connected during installation to ensure optimal performance.

Step 5: Use a Vacuum Pump

If all of the above steps have been completed and you still haven’t been able to diagnose the problem, then your last option is to use a vacuum pump. This tool will help to remove any air or moisture from the system and can help to identify any leaks or blockages that may be causing the issue.

Low Refrigerant Symptoms: What You Should Know

It’s important to be aware of the signs of low refrigerant problems in your AC system. Common symptoms include:

  • AC produces warm or hot air instead of cold air
  • Unusual noises coming from the unit
  • Increased energy bills
  • Ice on your evaporator coil

Let’s take a closer look at each sign:

Reduced cooling power

Is warm air blowing from your AC? The first sign you’ll notice when your AC unit is low on freon is reduced cooling power. This is when your AC produces lukewarm or warm air instead of cool air. You can use a thermometer to check the air temperature of your unit.

Another symptom of a low freon problem is poor air circulation. This means that your AC unit isn’t efficiently distributing the air throughout your home or office. You may notice that certain areas of your space are not cooling properly, while other areas are over-cooled.

Unusual noises coming from the unit

Leaking freon lines is a common cause of low refrigerant problems. This means there is refrigerant escaping somewhere in the coils. As a result, your AC won’t have enough refrigerant to carry out its duties.

When there’s a refrigerant leak, you will often hear an unusual bubbling sound or hissing sound coming from your HVAC system.

If you do, turn off your AC unit and contact an HVAC expert immediately. An expert can help you spot the leak and patch it up quickly and safely.

High energy bills

Are your utility bills suddenly higher this month? This could also be a sign of a low refrigerant problem in your AC system.

Air conditioners need freon to effectively cool your home. If there’s a shortage of it in your AC unit, your system will work twice as hard to compensate for the cooling demands in your home.

Not only can this increase your monthly energy bills but it can also cause the early deterioration of your system’s components.

Ice on your refrigerant lines

If you see ice or frost forming on your refrigerant lines, this is a surefire sign of a freon problem.

This usually happens because the AC unit isn’t able to adequately cool the air inside your home so it begins to freeze the refrigerant lines instead.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to contact an HVAC technician to refill your air conditioner’s refrigerant and perform necessary repairs.

What to Do If Your Air Conditioning System Is Low on Refrigerant?

If you’ve identified that your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it’s important to take action quickly. The best course of action is to contact an HVAC expert as soon as possible.

An experienced technician can diagnose the problem and help you decide on the best solution for your situation. They will also be able to repair any damage and ensure that your AC unit is running efficiently.

Can I Refill the Freon in My Air Conditioner?

While it’s perfectly possible for you to refill the freon in your air conditioner, it’s not exactly legal.

According to EPA regulations, only a certified HVAC expert is allowed to change the refrigerants in your air conditioning system.

We strongly advise against changing the freon in your air conditioner alone. If you suspect that your unit is already low on freon, we would be more than happy to assist you!

How Often Should the Freon in My AC Be Refilled?

It is recommended that you check the freon levels in your air conditioner once a year. This should be done during the spring or summer months when your AC is being used more frequently.

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to contact an HVAC expert right away so they can check the level of refrigerant in your AC and refill it if necessary.

By regularly checking the freon levels in your AC, you can help maintain a healthy, cooling system for years to come.

Benefits Professional HVAC Services

When it comes to air conditioning problems, professional HVAC services can provide you with the fast and efficient solutions you need.

An experienced technician can not only refill your unit’s refrigerant but also make sure that all other parts of your system are functioning properly. This is especially important if you want to prevent future air conditioning problems from occurring.

24/7 HVAC Maintenance and Repair in Sandy, UT

Looking for reliable and accessible HVAC maintenance and repair services can be tricky. This is especially true if you don’t know what to look for in a provider. Luckily, we’re here to make your search much easier and faster.

Here at One-Stop Heating, our priority is always our customers. Therefore, all our services are tailored to fit your needs and requirements exactly.

Before we do any work, we will do a full assessment of your air conditioning system and provide you with an honest estimate of how much it will cost.

We offer 24/7 emergency services, so you can count on us for all your HVAC needs anytime!

Contact (801) 355-9500 for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Refill AC Refrigerant

Can’t Beat the Heat? Here’s How to Recharge your Home Air Conditioner 

Picture this: It’s summertime. The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and it’s getting harder and harder to stand the heat. When the fan has been doing nothing but blowing hot air around the house, you finally decide to turn on the AC. You wait for hours, but somehow, your house isn’t getting any cooler. What could be the problem?

Owning a home air conditioning unit is a huge convenience, especially in places where summers can go up to 95 degrees. However, it’s very important to be on top of all repairs and maintenance to ensure the longevity of your unit. If you’ve been diligent with maintenance but your unit is still not cooling as intended, maybe it’s time to recharge your AC.

What does recharging your AC mean?

Recharging your air conditioner means refilling your unit’s refrigerant, which is the main component that cools your house. With the help of your AC’s evaporator and condenser, the refrigerant constantly changes from one state to another to absorb the heat from your home and convert it into cool airflow.

A lot of people still refer to refrigerant as Freon, as it has been the main refrigerant that has been used in residential air conditioners for many years. However, studies have shown that Freon or R-22 is extremely bad for the environment; thus, it has been phased out by manufacturers worldwide.

As of 2020, manufacturers no longer make Freon or Freon-compatible AC units. Modern air conditioners instead use Puron or R410A, which is safer for the ozone layer but still provides the same level of cooling.

Although the production and importation of Freon are banned in the United States, Freon can still be found for sale online or under certain conditions. However, for those with older AC units, it is recommended to upgrade to a more modern unit to avoid using R-22 altogether.

Whether your unit requires R-22 or R410A, it is designed to hold refrigerant for its entire lifespan. If you need to recharge your AC, that means there’s been a leak in your system that’s contributing to the refrigerant loss.

Before you set out to refill your refrigerant, you need to do a leak repair first. Adding refrigerant to a leaking unit can cause even more damage. It is important to consult technicians to conduct check-ups and AC repairs to avoid further damaging your unit.

How to know if it’s time to recharge your AC

There are a few ways to diagnose if your AC needs a refrigerant refill. Although some symptoms don’t necessarily mean your AC is leaking refrigerant, it is important to still watch out for one or more signs so that you can attend to the problem as soon as possible. Here are some issues that can mean it’s time to recharge your unit:

  • Your air conditioner runs the whole day, but it’s not effectively cooling your home or it’s blowing warm air
  • You find ice or frost buildup on the refrigerant line
  • You find water leaks from melted ice around your unit
  • Your electric bill may be higher due to your AC operating inefficiently
  • You hear concerning sounds like gurgling, hissing, or bubbling coming from the refrigerant line

How do you know if the refrigerant is the problem?

Sometimes your AC not cooling your home can be fixed by simply cleaning the unit and its air filter. However, if you have done your routine cleaning but your AC is still not working, this may be a surefire sign to have your refrigerant refilled.

Another sign to look out for is if the weakening of your unit’s cooling system is gradual. Sometimes, an AC’s decreased cooling ability is caused by a broken thermostat. If that is the case, your unit may lose cooling very suddenly or have its output temperature fluctuate. In contrast, a slow and gradual decline in cooling ability signals refrigerant loss over time, which points to a leak.

If you’re unsure, schedule a check-up and AC maintenance session with certified technicians to pinpoint the real cause of your AC issues.

How to Recharge your Home AC

If in doubt, don’t do it yourself. Refrigerants are dangerous substances, and if you’re not careful, you can sustain injuries that would need serious medical attention. Refrigerant inhalation can lead to headaches, breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, and coughing. Longer exposure can even lead to more severe effects like brain damage and sudden death. Meanwhile, physical contact with refrigerants can severely irritate the eyes and skin.

In general, recharging air conditioners is a dangerous procedure not just for your health, but also for your unit, since doing the procedure incorrectly can add damage to your AC.

It is highly recommended to hire skilled and certified technicians to recharge your AC for you. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all professional technicians to be certified, so you can rest easy knowing your unit is in safe hands.

Technicians can also start with a broader diagnosis of your unit and can facilitate the leak repair before refilling the refrigerant.

However, if you are confident in your DIY and AC maintenance skills and you have access to the right equipment, you can try your hand at recharging your air conditioner. As long as you are correctly handling modern refrigerants, there is no law preventing you from doing this procedure at home.

Here are the steps you need to take before you refill your AC refrigerant:

  1. Make sure the AC is clean and maintained.
  2. Choose the correct refrigerant & prepare the right tools.
    • For this procedure, you will need a refrigerant gauge set with 3 valves and a canister of refrigerant. You may also need an electronic leak detector.
    • Make sure that you have the correct refrigerant for your unit. If you’re unsure, check your device manual or check your unit for more information. Certified technicians can also determine this for you.
    • If you have an older unit, you may need R-22, which can be difficult to source since you will need EPA certification to do so. In this case, you will have to hire a maintenance service to do this for you.
  3. Check the temperature outside your home.
    • Refrigerants are attracted to the coldest temperatures. Normally, this will be the inside of your AC unit, which is where the refrigerant should be. If it’s too cold outside, your refrigerant may behave erratically and get attracted to the outside environment.
    • Schedule your AC recharge when the temperature outside is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit so that the refrigerant remains in your unit.
  4. Wear protective gear.
    • To avoid any injury, prepare thick gloves, safety goggles, long-sleeved protective clothing, and a respirator before you start the procedure.
    • In case you come into physical contact with refrigerant, rinse the area immediately and seek medical attention. In case of accidental inhalation, go to a well-ventilated area away from the refrigerant and seek medical help.

Once you have everything ready, it’s time to start recharging your AC. Here is a step-by-step guide that you can follow:

  1. Start the procedure by turning off your AC unit. Then, make sure to turn off its power source at the breaker and thermostat.
  2. Hook your refrigerant gauge to your AC. Only connect the left (blue) and right (red) tubes and leave the middle valve open for now.
  3. Wait 15 minutes, then turn the AC back on. Let it run for a while so you can get an accurate reading on your gauges.
  4. Attach one end of the yellow hose to the refrigerant canister and another end to the center valve.
  5. Open the low-pressure valve (left side). Do so intermittently until you reach the right subcooling temperature on your gauge. To find out the correct temperature, check your outdoor unit’s rating plate.
  6. Once you reach the correct subcooling temperature, switch the valve off.
  7. Close your refrigerant canister. Then, disconnect all hoses from their valves & remove the gauge from your unit.
  8. Conduct a leak test using an electronic leak detector. Doing this will ensure that the refrigerant is staying in your unit and not escaping. You can also hire a technician to do this for you.
  9. Store your refrigerant responsibly. Each canister comes with instructions for proper storage. Refrigerant canisters are pressurized and need to be put away in the right conditions to avoid accidents. Some refrigerants are also flammable, so make sure to read the canister properly.

After refilling the refrigerant, observe your air conditioning unit and see if it’s cooling effectively again. If everything has been done correctly, you can now sit back and enjoy the comfort of a cooled home.

Preventative Maintenance for your AC

When temperatures soar, nothing beats the comfort of an air-conditioned home. To make your AC unit last longer, you need to conduct regular cleaning and maintenance. The air filters need to be cleaned or replaced every 1-2 months, while the interior of your AC unit has to be cleaned at least once a year, which is best done before summer.

Air conditioners require high-quality and constant maintenance. While you can clean filters yourself, it can get hard to find time to do full AC maintenance on your own, especially if you run into more complex problems like leaks and mold.

Licensed air conditioning technicians can help you properly maintain your unit. They know how to dismantle, clean, and reassemble your unit’s parts correctly. Moreover, they can provide assessments and diagnose if your air conditioner has any other problems that need attending to.

With regular care, a good air conditioning unit should last up to 10-15 years.

One-Stop Heating and Air Conditioning

Schedule your next maintenance session with the most trusted Heating and Air Conditioning service in Sandy, UT. Our skilled and highly qualified technicians can take care of your AC systems for you.

Don’t settle for anything less. We provide affordable, effective, and reliable services to ensure your utmost comfort at home.

We also provide a 24/7 Emergency Repair Service to attend to your most pressing AC issues. Should you need to replace your unit, we also offer AC Installation services.

Call us now at (801) 355-9500.  

Our hotline is open 24/7 to attend to your emergencies and urgent inquiries.

You can also schedule an appointment online, and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Why is my AC Taking So Long to Cool My Home?

In states like Utah, the climate is dryer and hotter, and faulty air conditioners can be more than a nuisance.

If your trusty air conditioner is suddenly taking longer to cool your home than usual, various reasons may be to blame for all that pesky warm air that just won’t go away.

Your AC system might not be able to fulfill your desired temperature due to two main reasons:

  • Dirty air filters
  • Refrigerant leaks

Here, we will talk about each of their underlying causes and how to resolve them.

What’s Wrong with My Air Conditioner?

An AC unit that can’t cool your house may be facing immense stress from higher outdoor temperatures.

Your home’s warm air may be harder to cool due to the heat absorbed by your outdoor unit.

An air quality expert will tell you that outdoor temperatures hinder any air conditioner’s ability to make or keep your house cool.

Air conditioners can only condition the air, but none can generate their own.

How Does the Air Outside Get Into My Home?

An outdoor unit, otherwise known as a condenser unit, absorbs outdoor air and conditions it by altering its temperature and filtering out any contaminants.

While air filters sort contaminants, they can gather and collect everything filtered from the outdoor air.

When filter tubes and screens fill up, it doesn’t only interfere with the ability of your indoor unit to cool your house but can also release contaminant overflow into your indoor air.

You can avoid buildup by ensuring the quality of your home’s air is kept in check.

Ventilation Systems

You should deploy natural and mechanical ventilation systems regularly to avoid contaminants from collecting indoors.

An air conditioner has its own air vents built into its system.

Still, it helps to have backup systems that help clean your ambient air, which may be as simple as opening doors and windows.

If you are experiencing uneven temperatures, your AC’s built-in vents may be to blame.

Blockages can hinder ventilation from the outside, but clogged filters can cause internal blockades of their own.

If it takes your AC system too long to cool air, it may be time to clean out your filters.

How to Clean a Dirty Air Filter?

If your air conditioner has an accessible air filter, you can get away with cleaning it on your own.

  1. Turn your air conditioner OFF.
  2. Unplug it from its Power Source.
  3. Check the air vents of your indoor air conditioner.
  4. Dismantle any visible air filter.
  5. Vacuum-up particles stuck to the filter.
  6. Brush off any particles left on the filter.
  7. Submerge your filter into a mixture of vinegar and warm water for one hour.
  8. Rinse the filter through cold water. (Don’t use a hose with pressurized water.)
  9. Dry with a blower or hang it somewhere clean.
  10. Reinstall the filter.

Do not forget to lock it in place properly. There are usually small “teeth” protruding from either end that is used to latch the filter in place.

However, it would be best to remember that you will only be cleaning these filters on a surface level.

The filters that may be accessible to you typically only catch larger particles like pet hair, fabric, and dust bunnies.

The more significant filters are usually found inside your indoor unit.

An AC filter that is within your air conditioner requires special skills and equipment to access, and managing its maintenance isn’t simple.

Still, all filters play a pivotal role in properly conditioned air.

Have an HVAC professional look into your indoor and outdoor units. An AC technician will be able to give internal systems a thorough cleaning.

Remember, excessive dust won’t only settle on accessible filters.

If you have cleaned out your filters by yourself and still not getting enough air at your set thermostat temperature, chances are the issues lie with internal filters.

Does a Central Air Conditioner Have Air Filters?

Every air conditioning system has an air filter. Filtration is essential in the cooling process of an AC system.

While ductless mini-split systems work on a closed loop transmission, a central air conditioner with a dirty air filter can spread contaminants to more parts of your home.

It can be even more hazardous than ductless mini-split systems operating on more minor scales.

Your indoor air can suffer from a dirty air filter and affect every room in your house. It is imperative that you have an HVAC specialist routinely check on your ductwork and indoor units.

Dangers of a dirty air filter

A dirty air filter carries contaminants like bacteria, viruses, mold spores, mildew, dander, and dust mites.

While filters are meant to keep them locked in, all these hazardous particles are spread through your home without proper maintenance, including routine cleaning.

Your home’s warm air spreads mold spores better, thriving on humidity and higher temperatures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released statements regarding Air Quality control and its role in your health and comfort.

If you have inexplicable allergies and other respiratory ailments, you can thank dirty air filters for those.

However, a refrigerant leak may also be to blame for the deficiency of your AC’s ability to cool your home.

How Is My Air Conditioner Affected By a Refrigerant Leak?

While we are already speaking of dirty air filters contaminating your AC system, particles may spread and lead to dirty condenser coils.

In case you didn’t know, all HVAC systems have a chemical agent that helps cool your home, known as refrigerant.

The refrigerant absorbs your home’s ambient heat.

During standard refrigerant cycles, ridding your home of heat comes first. Newly conditioned air can fill up your home more efficiently by not taking as much of long time to cool your home.

Your AC’s evaporator coil found inside your indoor air conditioner holds refrigerant absorbing warm indoor air before transporting it to the corresponding condenser coils found in your outdoor unit.

Excessive dust blowing through AC takes away from more than its sanitation score.

How Can a Refrigerant Leak Lead to Emergency AC Repair?

Dust can scratch through different components in your air conditioning system, causing abrasions to refrigerant lines, coils, and wires, leading to various leaks.

Moisture can freeze during your typical cooling process and cause more damage to your evaporator coil.

Refrigerant lines can also cause ice buildup disrupting your AC’s ability to cool your home even further.

A refrigerant leak is more hazardous than a dirty air filter.

While your new air conditioner can cool your home just fine, leaks can be detrimental, preventing it from being able to cool your home ever again.

That’s right. Low refrigerant levels and leaky ducts won’t only produce as much heat as the sun’s surface.

Your AC cycling on and off can surge your energy bills and eventually lead to short-circuiting your home’s wiring.

Central AC system and leaky ducts

Central AC systems can deal with worse due to leaky ducts housing harmful contaminants.

When leaks affecting your condenser coil and evaporator coil turn into ductwork leaks, it can deteriorate its entire internal system.

Ducts housing warm air are perfect breeding grounds for mold colonies. Mildew can build up over time, and simple cleaning of indoor units won’t be enough.

Enough refrigerant freezing your coils will not only take your home a long time to cool, but it might never reach the set temperature that suits your comfort.

How Can I Tell if My AC System Has Leaky Ducts?

You already know one way to tell would be your HVAC taking longer to cool.

However, there are other things you can take as serious indications for leaky ductwork.

  1. AC that is set to the lowest temperature, producing warm air.
  2. Your AC is cycling on and off.
  3. An unusual bubbling sound is coming from your outdoor unit.

What Should I Do About a Refrigerant Leak?

Call for air conditioning repair as soon as possible to avoid major technical or hazardous problems.

You can save both your indoor and outdoor units by calling a professional with the proper tools to give your entire system a thorough cleaning.

When It’s Time to Call a Professional HVAC Technician

Call a professional at any sign of leaky ductwork unless you want to crawl in there yourself. It would help if you also called an HVAC specialist after hearing any unusual sounds coming from your indoor or outdoor unit.

Who to Call if You Are From Sandy, Utah

If you are having AC issues and can’t wait to walk back into a cool house, you can avail of a reliable company offering the same-day service right in Sandy, Utah!

AC Maintenance: One Stop Heating and air conditioning

A thorough, reliable, affordable, fast, and friendly service is just waiting for your call.

Whether it’s AC Installation or AC Repair, our team is ready to listen to your urgent concerns and coach you through steps you can do by yourself.

You will feel cool in no time! Please take advantage of our same-day service offerings, including inspection, repair, and replacement.

Call (801) 355-9500

A Homeowner’s Guide to End-of-Summer AC Maintenance

If you’re like most homeowners, you know that your air conditioning system needs to have maintenance performed on it at the beginning of the summer season. However, many homeowners don’t realize that maintenance should be performed on their air conditioning system at the end of the summer as well. There are a number of different tasks that you need to complete to ensure that your system is prepared to last another year.

Change the Air Filter

The first maintenance task that you want to perform is to check the state of your air filter. Go ahead and pull it out of the filter housing. You want to hold the filter up to a light and look through it. If you aren’t able to see through your filter, it’s time to replace it. If you can still see through it, you still have some life left in it.

Although you’ll need to purchase an air filter that is of the same model as your existing filter, you do have some style options. There are four main types of filters that you can get, which include fiberglass, pleaded, reusable, and HEPA filters. Fiberglass filters have the lowest filtering capability, and HEPA filters have the most. Pleated filters are the most commonly used as they have a great filtering capability and are available at an affordable price.

Smell and Listen

We’re sure you’ve had that experience where you walked into somebody’s home or room and get a whiff of a lingering unpleasant odor. However, it seems like the person living there doesn’t even notice that the odor exists. When odors developed over a period of time, they’re harder for us to take notice of. The same thing holds true with sounds that start out very soft and become louder over time.

You’ll want to actively listen to your air conditioning system at both the inside and outside units. Pay attention to any unusual noises like clicking, humming, or buzzing. While you’re checking out these units, you’ll want they have your nose at a heightened level so that you can detect any unusual smells. The smell of garbage, exhaust fans, or even gunpowder can indicate a problem with your system. If you notice any unusual smells or noises, it’s best to get them addressed now so that you don’t have to deal with them at the start of the summer season next year.

Wipe Down the Vents

To circulate air throughout your home, your air conditioning system uses ducting with the vents. There should be at least two different vents in each room of your home. These include the supply vent and the return vent. Due to the constant movement of air in and out of these vents, it’s not uncommon for them to end up getting covered with dust and unwanted debris.

Grab a damp cloth and clean off all the grates of the vents. All the debris that you can clean off of the vents is helping to improve your indoor air by keeping the unwanted debris out of your air. If you’re able to pull your vents out of the wall, you should do so. This will give you more access to clean the entire vent off than if you were to just clean it while it’s still in the wall or floor.

Clean the Evaporator Coil

Next, you want to kill the power to your entire air conditioning system at the circuit breaker. Go ahead and remove the access panel to your indoor air conditioner components and locate the evaporator coil. You’ll want to use a foaming coil cleaner to remove the stuck-on debris. While you can use a regular cleaner on these coils, they’re going to require a lot of elbow grease. By using a foaming cleanser, it will take care of much of the scrubbing for you.

Clean the Condensate Drain

Once all the cleaning foam strips off of your evaporator coils and into your drain pan, it’s time to clean out the drain. It’s a good idea to mix up a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. Simply for this down the drain pan and it will work the remove any stuck-on debris. depending on the amount of debris that is stuck in your drain, you may have to remove some by hand in order to get it completely cleared out.

Clean the Condenser

Now, it’s time to head outside to your condenser unit. You want to start by cleaning up the unit and removing any loose debris. Go ahead and unscrew the condenser grille cover and set it to the side. You should use your hose to spray off the outside grille cover to remove any excess debris that is stuck to it or any of the openings throughout it.

Apply a coil cleanser to your condenser coils. Because your condenser coils are exposed to the outdoor elements, they tend to collect a lot more stuck-on debris than the interior components of your air conditioning system. For this reason, it’s best to purchase a foaming coil cleaner that is specifically designed for outdoor condenser coils.

Next, use your hose to remove the remnants of the coil cleanser and any loose debris that’s inside the unit. If you have a lot of loose debris inside of the unit, you may want to use a vacuum to get rid of it. Make sure that you’re removing any debris that has gotten stuck in between the various fins inside your unit.

Straighten Out Bent Fins

Lastly, you’ll want to straighten out any of the metal fins that have become bent over the summer months. All of your fins should be pointed in a straight direction to allow for optimal heat dispersion from the unit. You can straighten out the fins using a pair of small pliers or a fin comb.

You can purchase a fin comb specifically for your air conditioning system at your local hardware store. This type of comb allows you to straighten out multiple fins at once and provide a cleaner finish than a pair of pliers will. To know the exact fin comb size that you need, you’ll want to count how many fins are within a square inch block of your air conditioning system.

Check the Wiring

As you’re cleaning out the inside and outside units for your air conditioning system, you should be taking note of the state of the wiring inside of both of them. If you notice that any of the wiring is loose, go ahead and tighten it back up. If any of the wiring is corroded or fraying, it’s best to call in an air-conditioning professional to have the issue fixed. By getting the problem addressed now, you can save yourself the trouble of having to wait to get it fixed in the middle of the summertime next year.

Comprehensive AC Service

One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning provides comprehensive air conditioning services for the Sandy region. We’re also capable of assisting you with all of your heating, ducting, and indoor air quality needs. Just pick up your phone and give us a call today.