AC Repair Services in Houston
It always seems like it’s “air conditioning season” in Houston since many of us use our central AC systems almost all year round. And considering the physical beating our outdoor AC units face during the hottest summers from direct sunlight, excessive humidity, winds, rain, and hail, our air conditioners see it all.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the indoor components of your HVAC system are living an easy life. Most indoor HVAC components are installed in the attic or the garage, where temperatures in these untreated areas can top 140° at summer’s peak.
Owning a whole-house HVAC system is a highly convenient answer to our sometimes unbearable weather. Like any appliance that gets a lot of use, it will require regular AC maintenance to keep it running like new. Still, the need for occasional repair is also a possibility. Some HVAC fixes are as simple as flipping a circuit breaker or changing an air filter that the homeowner can handle themselves.
For more complicated issues, the skill of an experienced and licensed HVAC company like Nick’s Air Conditioning can save you thousands of dollars in mistakes.
Common AC Issues That Require Professional Help.
When your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, its ability to effectively cool your home is greatly diminished. Refrigerant leaks are common in older units, and if they’re not addressed, they will eventually cause the compressor to fail, leading to costly AC repairs. Liquid refrigerant is the blood of your HVAC system, and the compressor is the heart that circulates it throughout the system.
If you suspect a refrigerant leak in your HVAC system, it should be addressed by a professional. Those who need proper training and equipment are bound to worsen a bad situation, so we strongly advise homeowners that adding refrigerant is not a do-it-yourself project.
Faulty wiring in an HVAC system is not only a safety hazard but can also be a nightmare for even the most experienced technician to diagnose. Any wiring that exists in your outdoor AC unit is exposed year-round to the elements, which can turn the wiring brittle, resulting in tiny breaks in the wire that creates short-circuiting.
Without proper electrical training or the equipment to measure voltages and ohms, there is no benefit to the homeowner poking around and taking the risk of electrocution.
The compressor is the heart of your AC system, which is responsible for pressurizing and circulating the liquid refrigerant that makes AC possible. Without the compressor’s participation, no air conditioning is going on, and you’ll find that the air coming from your AC vents is warm. An air conditioning system with a failed compressor will also run continuously while failing to cool the house at all.
HVAC compressors are not repairable. Housings and other parts can be recycled into new compressors, but even your best HVAC tech cannot rebuild a compressor in the field. Once an AC compressor has failed, it needs to be replaced by a qualified HVAC technician.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
This is a problem we see a lot more of during the peak usage months of air conditioners, as whole-house HVAC systems battle against 100° temperatures and 90% humidity. Most of the time, a frozen evaporator coil can be remedied by powering the system down for a few hours and allowing the coil and refrigerant lines some time to thaw. If the evaporator coil continues to freeze regularly, there are several possible causes your licensed HVAC technician can investigate.
Low refrigerant levels, refrigerant leaks, and restricted airflow in the ductwork, or that is due to clogged air filters are the most frequent causes of chronic evaporator coil freezing.
Dirty Condenser Coils
The job of the condenser coils is to release the heat that the liquid refrigerant collects from inside your home. When the coils –or the heat-conductive fins that surround them—become dirty or clogged, it can cause the AC unit to run less efficiently, creating higher energy bills in their wake. Dirty condenser coils cannot disperse the heat effectively, which causes the refrigerant to still be hot when it re-enters the system and makes your unit work harder.
Condenser coil fins are delicate and easily bent or broken. If enough of them are damaged—mainly if they’re concentrated in one area—it can result in reduced performance and increased energy bills. Cleaning the condenser coil and fins should be handled by an HVAC professional to ensure that it is thoroughly and carefully cleaned.
Blower Motor Problems
The blower motor is responsible for circulating air throughout your home; if it fails, there isn’t much your HVAC system can do to cool your home. Even if every other component of your air conditioner is working perfectly, without a blower motor, all of that treated air sits in the fan box of your ductwork, cooling nothing.
What is the Average Cost of an AC Repair Service?
It’s literally impossible to predict the cost of an AC repair service, especially without knowing what the problem is in advance. Using the above examples, here are some estimates to repair the issues we described.
- Refrigerant Leaks: For those who choose only to top off their refrigerant levels and depending on the type of refrigerant needed for your system, expect to lay out between $150 – $375. For homeowners that opt to detect the location of their leak and repair it, the bill can run anywhere between $500 – $2000 depending on the number of leaks and how difficult they are to access.
- Faulty Wiring: This is a challenging repair issue to offer any estimate on without actually seeing the problem. Your HVAC system is loaded with wiring for high voltage, low voltage, relay actuators, voltage regulators, and all kinds of other things that can shock you. In older systems, rubber jacketed wiring becomes brittle and cracks, exposing the internal wire that can lead to short circuits. If an AC system is old enough that the wiring has begun to disintegrate, it must be replaced entirely.
- Compressor Problems: While prices can be widely different from brand to brand for the cost of the part itself. On average, a compressor replacement on a mid-level quality system can run between $800 – $2,500, plus labor costs. Always remember, if any air conditioner repair costs more than 50% of the cost to install a new system, it’s a good idea to replace the system. Failures of major components like the compressor often indicate that other problems will soon follow.
- Frozen Evaporator Coil: Frozen evaporator coils occur when the AC system works under tremendous stress from excessive heat and humidity. If your AC system’s coil freezes up in the middle of a 105° day with 90% humidity, it’s not necessarily a reason to panic. Just turn off the air conditioner—but leave the system in “fan only” mode—and the frost should clear up in a few hours.
If your coil is freezing up on average temperature days or whenever you fire up the air conditioner, several issues could be at play. Crimped refrigerant lines, failing compressors, and faulty thermostats could all be at play and should be considered by your HVAC technician.
Having your HVAC evaporator coil cleaned every couple of years will help to keep dirt and grime from building up on your coil fins and should run between $350 – $750, depending on your unit’s personal level of filth.
- Blower Motor Issues: Screeching and rattling noises are never sounds you want to hear from an HVAC system, as it could signal the end of your blower motor. The blower motor is the component of your HVAC that circulates treated air through the ductwork. Without the blower motor, there’s no air conditioning or heat.
Sometimes, solving the noise is as simple as cleaning and lubricating the motor bearings, which shouldn’t cost more than $150 – $200. If the bearings are in extremely bad shape or have already seized, replacing the blower motor itself is the only way out of this conundrum. Blower motor units can be bought for between $400 and $800, and depending on the location of your HVAC system and ease of access, you may only require one or two hours of labor.
To Repair or Replace. That is the Question.
Saying goodbye to an old friend is never easy, especially when that friend has devoted their entire existence to your family’s comfort. But in HVAC, as in life, everything must come to an end, and that time may be when you’re facing a hefty AC or heating repair bill.
At Nick’s Air Conditioning, we tend to advise our customers to opt for a new system if any HVAC repair costs more than 50% of the cost of installing a new system. The main reasoning behind that is that once an HVAC system reaches a point in its life where one major component has failed, chances are good that others will start to fail as well.
The seven-year rule is another good rule of thumb to solve the “repair or replace” dilemma. If your HVAC system requires major repairs and is older than seven years, it’s in the customer’s best interest to replace the system.
Let Nick’s Air Conditioning Help You Solve Your AC Repair Issues!
Heating and air conditioning repair is not a project for even the most technically gifted do-it-yourself type of homeowner. The licensed and experienced professional technicians at Nick’s Air Conditioning are never done learning their trade. We train our technicians on the latest equipment with state-of-the-art tools and often have the manufacturers of the equipment we install out to our facility for hands-on training.
If your HVAC system exhibits some or all of the symptoms listed here, call Nick’s Air Conditioning today.