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About annual maintenance

So with my Knight boiler, I do annual maintenance per the manual and it takes at least 2 hours. I consider boiler maintenance to be a required thing to do.

But what about air conditioners? I'll be replacing my 34 year old Carrier condenser and even older fan coil that is up in the attic this season. I have cleaned the outside coil over the years and oiled the fan motor on it and the attic unit has never seen any service and aside from the freon leak the system still works.

What do you think about annual maintenance on an AC systems. What should or needs to be done with modern systems. It seems that lots of companies offer a $XX.xx tune-up but what do you get? Fan motors are sealed bearings now and if there is a leak, the system may be smart enough to know. So with my ignorance plainly showing, please educate me.

Thanks

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,096
    Change filters often to keep indoor coil clean as they are not easy to clean. Flush outdoor coil with water and clean leaves etc from around compressor. Use coil cleaner on outside coil as little as possible. Keep equipment clean. Cover the condenser (ac only) in the winter but do not seal it up tight it's got to breathe, Check wiring connections yearly, watch out for mice. Don't put gauges on unless the system is under preforming. Check for bulging or leaking capacitors. Keeping a record of am draw on the fans and compressor isn't a bad idea. Flush condensate drain/trap/pump once a year
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,532
    Change filters often to keep indoor coil clean as they are not easy to clean. Flush outdoor coil with water and clean leaves etc from around compressor. Use coil cleaner on outside coil as little as possible. Keep equipment clean. Cover the condenser (ac only) in the winter but do not seal it up tight it's got to breathe, Check wiring connections yearly, watch out for mice. Don't put gauges on unless the system is under preforming. Check for bulging or leaking capacitors. Keeping a record of am draw on the fans and compressor isn't a bad idea. Flush condensate drain/trap/pump once a year
    I disagree with covering it in my area. Surrounded by salt air you don’t want to trap all that salty moisture inside. Let the snow rinse it off just like the rain. 
    DJD775
  • DJD775
    DJD775 Member Posts: 195
    I like to use a mesh cover on my outdoor unit in the winter. Keeps the leaves and pine needles out but does not provide a great home for the mice.
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,495
    My parents have a York system in their house from 1988 that has never been cleaned in any capacity and it's still kicking like new. The filter probably hasn't been changed since I moved out 15 years ago. Not saying this is optimal or that maintenance is not beneficial, because it is, but if there is not a constant influx of contaminants, maintenance is less necessary than when the opposite is true.

    The 1995 system in my house hasn't even had a filter for years and has never been cleaned either, and is doing just fine also. I've been actively trying to wreck it so I can put in an ASHP, but it's not working so far. We also don't open windows and have no pets or kids, so dust is very minimal.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,143
    My mom's house has a 1987 luxaire which i believe is the same as york. Other than occasional cleaning and painting and charging every 5 years or so because the quick connect linesets leak a little and a new fan motor because it should have had a shield mounted at about 45 degrees and it didn't and the overload got wet, it is still going.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,863
    edited July 2022
    I've never seen a need to cover my outdoor unit.
    The snow isn't hurting it any more than rain.  

    Besides there's been times it's been in the 30s out and I needed some cooling.  No idea why but my thermostat claims it happened.

    When I swap a new 5" airbear in I look in at the evaporator though the filter housing and it's always been spotless.  I do hose the condenser off several times during the summer just using a low pressure garden hose nozzle.  I'm lazy and don't even pull the covers but it does make it take longer.

    Keep the black foam lineset insulation in good shape and painted with latex paint to protect it from sunlight.  If you do this it won't fall apart.  Just normal water based latex paint.


    I like a gauge glass installed right before the TXV and under no circumstances would I hook gauges up unless there's a suspected issue. 


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,143
    i do the painting to protect service cable from the uv as well although the insulation on the lineset is just to keep it from dripping inside.
    realliveplumber
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,863
    edited July 2022
    mattmia2 said:
    i do the painting to protect service cable from the uv as well although the insulation on the lineset is just to keep it from dripping inside.
    The insulation on the lineset is to bring as much cold back to the compressor as possible as well as to reduce losses.  I'm sure under most conditions the compressor won't care if a few feet is exposed but it will decrease efficiency of the system.


    On my system I used 3/4" thick on the suction line and 1/2" thick on the liquid line as I didn't want the sun outside,or the hot attic effecting it anymore than I could avoid.  I also wrapped the drier in multiple layers of foam insulation tape as it's up in the attic.


    Saying the insulation on the suction line is only to prevent sweating is a bit surprising @mattmia2

    That cold pipe wasn't free...... Its best not to just give it away outside.   That's similar to running a steam main outside and not insulating it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Larry (from OSHA)
    Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 706
    Thank you all for your perspectives.

    @EBEBRATT-Ed - Very good information.

    @pecmsg - I do agree with not covering it.

    @DJD775 - I like the mesh idea
    DJD775