The Top Six Causes Of Air Conditioner Problems And How To Prevent Them
If you have ever spent the summer months in a country with a warm climate, you will understand the need for an air conditioner. If you have experienced summer months in a house where the air conditioner is “on the fritz”, you’ll understand what hell it can be to live through the heat. Never leave summer comfort to chance and prepare for those humid days. This article will provide information on the top six causes of air conditioner problems and how to prevent them.
What Are The Top Six Causes Of Air Conditioner Problems?
#1: Low Levels Of Refrigerant
Refrigerant is essential for an air conditioner to remove heat from the existing air and pump up favorable cool air. If the air conditioning system develops a leak in the refrigerant lines, the level of refrigerant will be insufficient to effectively cool the living area. Unfortunately, fixing this issue requires more than merely replacing the lost refrigerant. To repair this problem, a professional HVAC technique will need to be contacted to locate the specific leak and repair the holes. This can be costly and time-consuming, particularly if there are multiple leaks in the system.
#2: Dirty Condenser Coils
The air conditioning unit condenser coils are typically part of the external system and remove heat by expelling it from the exterior of the building. If the coil becomes covered with a layer of grime and dirt, the condenser coil will not operate correctly. This is one of the most common problems in urban areas due to the high levels of air pollution. Once a condenser coil becomes dirty, the heat transfer is obstructed and the unit needs to work harder to perform the task; thereby, resulting in wear on the coils and potential system failure.
#3: Frozen Evaporator Coils
An air conditioning system evaporator coil is filled with refrigerant and helps absorb heat from the air, similar to a sponge. This may sound counter-intuitive, but the coils require warm air to circulate around them for the coil to operate effectively. When there is a problem with the airflow, the evaporator coil can become too cold and build a layer of ice on the exterior of the coil. If this happens the evaporator coil is considered ‘frozen’ and warm air will be expelled from the air conditioning system.
#4: Leaking Ducts
Ductwork runs through the ceilings and walls in a house to carry cooled air from the air conditioning system through the living area. If, however, there are holes in the ducts, it can result in leaks and problems with effective cooling. This situation can cause the system to work harder and increase the utility bills. The typical reason for holes in ducts is due to careless installation or damage by rodents.
#5: Fan Problems
Air conditioning units utilize fans to cool air. The first fan blows indoor air to the unit’s evaporator coil to cool the air, then the second fan blows the air across the outdoor condenser coil to remove the absorbed heat from the exterior unit. If either of these fans is not operating, it is possible that you will experience poor airflow and costly air conditioner problems. Fan problems can be due to a lack of lubrication, a faulty motor, too much debris and dirt, worn belts, or negligence of the fans that can result in compressor failure. If there is compressor failure, you may need to replace the full air conditioner and this can be highly expensive.
#6: Thermostat Issues
Another common problem with air conditioners is thermostat issues, particularly if you are utilizing the older dial-type thermostat as these can be incorrectly calibrated. Thermostats operate by informing the air conditioning unit what temperature to reach and maintain; however, if the system is not receiving the correct instructions it can cause havoc with the unit. The problem can be easily fixed by merely recalibrating or replacing the thermostats. If you have a new thermostat with programmable features, it can be difficult to program and they could be inaccurately set. If you still have the old-fashioned manual model, check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the settings are accurate.
What Are The Different Steps To Prevent Air Conditioner Problems?
While it is beneficial to know the different air conditioner problems that may occur, it is even more important to know how to prevent these issues. By following the steps below, you can avoid the issues before they happen.
#1: Replacing Dirty Air Filters
Any air flow issues that result in frozen coils are typically caused by a clogged air filter. One method to prevent this issue is by regularly checking and replacing dirty air filters.
#2: Installing A Programmable Thermostat
The dial-type thermostat model is very old-fashioned, and it is recommended that you opt for the new programmable thermostat design. By using the more modern option, you can eliminate problems with old control systems and save energy. In fact, there are digital thermostats that can be controlled using smartphones or tablets.
#3: Inspect Ducts Regularly And Repair Leaks
If it seems there is not enough air flowing through the unit, or the utility bills are on the increase, it is recommended that you have a professional HVAC technician inspect your system’s ducts and repair any issues with the air conditioning refrigerant. In fact, it may be beneficial to have the air conditioning system inspected annually to prevent any holes or leaks.
#4: Remove Debris From The External Unit
If the outdoor fan and condenser coils are becoming clogged with debris, dirt and trash, the system will not expel heat effectively. To resolve this problem, it is advised that you clear the debris from the unit manually. To prevent this issue from occurring regularly, it is recommended that you inspect the area frequently and conduct routine clearings of debris from the external unit.
#5: Do Not Neglect Maintenance
The majority of air conditioner problems can be prevented by regular maintenance. It is advised that you hire a professional HVAC technician to inspect the system before the summer and start it up to ensure no issues are present. This regular maintenance is not costly and will ensure you are comfortable during the warmest months of the year.