Although there may be plenty of reasons why your AC may need to be looked at by a certified contractor, there are several reasons that are relatively common. Knowing some potential issues may help you troubleshoot your unit or understand better what a technician may be referring to when resolving a problem. Here are some common problems with Air Conditioners.
Common Problems with Air Conditioners – Root Cause Analysis
A clogged filter restricts airflow through the unit, reducing the unit’s ability to effectively cool air and decreasing the unit’s efficiency. Follow manufacturer suggestions on how often you need to change the filter. Some filters need to be replaced every month; others quarterly, while some can be reused so only need to be cleaned when dirty. One of the easiest ways to check whether your filter is due for cleaning is by checking if light passes through it.
If your AC has low refrigerant levels, either it leaks or was undercharged during installation. If you detect a leakage, simply adding refrigerant won’t fix the issue. Refrigerant problems should only be solved by a competent contractor as he/she needs to fix any leaks and test the repair before adding the correct amount of refrigerant. Bear in mind that your unit will perform optimally only when the refrigerant level matches manufacturer specifications.
Some air conditioners feature a thermostat sensor, which is responsible for measuring the temperature of air from the evaporator coil. A unit with a sensor that’s knocked out of position will cycle constantly and behave erratically. An easy fix is to ensure the thermostat is turned on, it’s level, it’s on the correct setting, it’s not affected by sunlight, and the inside is clean. If you still experience problems with the sensor, there may be another underlying issue.
Because wires and terminals can easily corrode, the electrical contacts and connections of your AC should be checked by a professional contractor during service calls. Similarly, an AC’s fan controls and compressor can wear out, especially when an AC is frequently turned on and off as is usually the case with an oversized system.
Fuses and Breakers
Breakers and fuses have a significant role to play in safeguarding your unit’s compressor and motor from overheating. This explains why HVAC technicians will often check the breaker whenever your motor dies.
Whenever humidity levels are high, check that the condensate drain is working properly and isn’t clogged. The drain line, like the filter can be clogged by dirt, dust and lint. A clogged drain line will fill up the drain pan and leak water that may damage the unit or any other item near the pan.
Best Practices for Finding HVAC Root Causes
Popular best practices and HVAC professionals suggest the best way to prevent some of these common problems with Air Conditioners is to participate in a preventive maintenance program. Low refrigerant levels, electrical issues and air flow problems can be detected during routine checkups and fixed before they escalate into expensive repairs or the need for replacement. Same refrigerant can be seen inside the home i.e. refrigerator, freezer, under-counter drawer refrigerators, etc. Certified appliance technicians will recommend similar maintenance schedule’s across the year.