Most Common AC Problems

The Troubling Eight: The Most Frequently Encountered Summer Air Conditioning Problems and How You Can Prevent Them

The last thing you need is a surprise air conditioning repair. While all mechanical systems require repairs from time to time, many are preventable. In no particular order, here are the ten most common AC problems we encounter every spring and what you can do to avoid them.

Tripped Breaker

One of the most common causes of no-cool calls is a tripped breaker. Reset it before calling us. Hopefully, it won’t repeat. If it does, call us. Something is causing the breaker to trip. Often, it’s something simple, like a bad breaker, loose wire, or a bad capacitor. However, if not addressed, some simple problems could lead to far more expensive repairs.

Dirty Filter

If you have a 1” disposable filter, it should be replaced monthly. It’s out of sight and out of mind, so it’s easy to forget to change it. Yet, every year we go on service calls where the air conditioner isn’t cooling and the cause is restricted air flow from an extremely dirty filter. Dirty filters reduce indoor air quality, make the home less comfortable, and can result in frozen indoor coils, eventually leading to serious repairs.

Refrigerant Leaks

An air conditioning system is a sealed system. It should never leak refrigerant. When it does, bad things happen. Your air conditioner efficiency falls and electricity use rises. Your air conditioner may not cool. The coil may freeze. The compressor could become damaged. Plus, refrigerants are greenhouse gases. We use a variety of tools to track down refrigerant leaks. Once the leak is found our trained technician will determine whether the leak can be repaired or if the component needs to be replaced.

Switch Turned Off

Some heating and air conditioning systems have a wall switch at the indoor unit for safety and convenience that can be confused with a light switch.  If this is accidentally switched off or left off during mild weather, your air conditioner will not start.  Always check the condition of this switch before calling us.

Thermostat Problems

Some thermostats must be switched between heating mode and cooling mode.  If the switch is in the wrong position or breaks, your air conditioner won’t start.  Quality digital thermostats rarely fail.  Some of the cheap thermostats at the big box stores might.  So what goes wrong?  The switch might break, a voltage spike might cause a malfunction, and so on.

Clogged Drain Line

Air conditioners pull moisture out of the humid air while lowering the temperature.  The moisture is typically drained out of your home through your plumbing system.  Algae can grow in these lines, clogging them up.  This can lead to water damage in your home.  We clear the drain lines as part of our Spring air conditioning tune-up or you can have it done separately, as needed.

Dirty Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is located inside your home.  Liquid refrigerant is sprayed into this coil to evaporate and draw heat from the air being blown across the coil.  Periodically the coil needs to be cleaned or dust and particle build up will restrict the coil’s heat transfer capabilities and reduce system air flow down the duct system.  Dirty coils increase operating cost while simultaneously reducing home comfort.

Dirty Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is located outside your home.  The compressor pulls hot refrigerant gas from the evaporator and pumps it through the outdoor coil where it condenses into a liquid as the condensing unit fan pulls air across the coil.  A dirty or restricted coil is inefficient, increasing electricity usage and reducing system cooling capacity.  We wash, clean, and if needed, comb the condenser coil as part of the Spring tune-up.


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