Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips

Today's chore was to set up the house central air cooling system. Along the way I discovered a few things to watch out for.

Besides the usual furnace filter replacing, exterior fan oiling (using a long skinny nail to remove air bubbles from the oil channels while pouring in some more electric motor oil), nearby vegetation pruning and dirt removal from inside the box, I took off the acoustic insulation padding. It seems to be lead lined or made with something heavy, plus fibre glass on the inside, plastic fabric on the outside, and Velcro to hold it on around the compressor.

Whooo boy, lots of rust on the seam around the middle of the compressor. What a scam, put on some after-market "insulation" and make it rust out faster. I oiled the seam (should really paint it) and left off the insulation. A test run revealed that it didn't make much difference to sound levels (the fan was louder anyway). Later, I noticed that the compressor was wet, and figured out that the insulation was really there for thermal purposes. The whole pumping unit runs cold, very cold (well, unless you stall it and start frying the motor - pops the circuit breakers in 7 seconds). That explains some of the rust. You'd think they'd put on a better paint, or not have a seam there. I cleaned it up a bit, and put back the insulation. I'll have to paint it later, after removing the oil. Say, why is the compressor outdoors anyway? You could just as well have it indoors. Must be for ease of installation reasons, rather than reliability.

So now you know, watch out for rusting cooling system compressors.

- Alex

P.S. The RAM file system is coming along nicely, currently doing loading and dumping, next up is a code review, then documentation and release.

Copyright © 2003 by Alexander G. M. Smith.