Some of the more common deficiencies found in split HVAC systems when inspecting homes include:
- Missing or deteriorated suction line insulation. For each split type air conditioning system there are two refrigerant lines that circulate refrigerant between the two coils. The larger of the two lines should be insulated to prevent heat transfer into the refrigerant from the attic and outside air. In addition this helps to prevent condensation forming on the pipe and dripping into the attic space.
- No insulation on primary condensate drain pipe. The first 3 or 4 feet of the primary condensate drain as it leaves the evaporator coil drain pan should be insulated to prevent condensation forming on the outside of the pipe and dripping into the attic.
- Rust and/or water in secondary condensate drain pan. The evaporator coil produces condensation which drips off the coil into a pan. The pan drains into the sewer and is usually tied to a sewer pipe under a bathroom sink. If the primary drain is clogged the pan overflows into a secondary drain pan, if the unit is in an attic space. The secondary drain discharges outside and should be located above a door or window. This is to alert the home owner that water is in the secondary drain system and a technician should be called. This can also happen if the evaporator coil and/or filter is dirty, or if the unit is low on refrigerant. This causes the unit to produce a high level of condensation overflowing the primary pan. If you see water draining from a pipe on the outside of the house, this almost always indicates a problem that should be immediately addressed.
- Furnace flue vent does not have adequate clearance from combustible material. Often the furnace flue vent is in contact with the roof decking as it exits the roof. This is a fire hazard and should be immediately corrected. Anytime you have a new roof covering installed, you should check for these clearances prior to making final payment to the roofing contractor. This condition is commonly overlooked by roofing contractors. The flue vent should have 1 inch clearance from any combustible material.
These are only a few of the many deficiencies commonly found with HVAC systems. For the best results, you should have your system service twice per year. It is best to have the system serviced in April and in October. Timing of service varies depending on your climate.