As the peak of the summer heat approaches, hopefully your air conditioning unit runs flawlessly with no issues. Although getting your annual maintenance checkup can help with that, we know unexpected issues arise with constantly changing weather conditions. That being said, it’s important to understand the basics behind your unit and why our team members do what they do when it’s not running properly. Here are the five most common problems we find in the summertime.
1. Dirty Air Filter
Check your filter! The number one culprit when it comes to AC malfunctions is usually a dirty air filter. When your filter hasn’t been changed or cleaned in a while, it can cause the system to experience reduced air flow, overheating, poor cooling, an early breakdown, and other concerns. It could also increase your energy bills by 15%, according to the US Department of Energy. This happens because when a filter attracts buildup, your air conditioning unit has to use more power and energy to blow cold air into your home. We, at Precision Heating and Cooling, suggest that you check your filter every 30 days and have it changed every two months. Keeping a clean air filter will not only help prevent these issues, but also provide better air quality and improved efficiency of your unit.
2. Bad Capacitor
Another leading cause of unexpected problems with your unit is failure of the run capacitor. This is a very important component in getting your unit kickstarted and blowing cold air into each space. If you notice that your AC is no longer providing cool air, it’s making humming noises, or it turns off by itself, you may want to have the capacitor checked. Capacitors provide an energy jolt to the system to get it powered on for a cooling cycle. Essentially, it’s comparable to a battery: it stores energy and then distributes it when in use. There are many reasons your capacitor could have “gone bad” including power surges, lightning strikes, overheating of the unit, wear and tear and more.
3. Low on Refrigerant
If your AC isn’t circulating cold air, you may have a leak in your system. This would cause your refrigerant levels to decrease, and force you to get a recharge. Refrigerant is a part of the cooling process in which it goes through different stages to cool your home. It starts out very cold and first travels to the indoor coil known as the evaporator coil, draws heat out and cools it before the air returns to your household airflow. Essentially, when it enters the evaporator coil it is very cold, and is more room temperature when it leaves. The warm refrigerant then travels through the compressor to the outdoor coil, aka the condenser coil. In this stage it condenses, and therefore releases the heat that was once inside your home, outside.
When this process is disrupted due to a lack of refrigerant charge from a leak, it will most likely cause issues. These include frost or ice on the indoor coils, poor cooling, increased energy bills, and more. Get checked for a leak and have your AC unit recharged if need be.
4. Thermostat Issues
Many of the problems already discussed could also factor into why your thermostat may not be working properly. Dirty air filters, blower malfunctions, a faulty capacitor, tripped circuit breaker, incorrect settings and loose wiring are all possible reasons why your AC isn’t responding to the thermostat. If you try to turn on the AC and it makes a clicking noise but doesn’t begin to blow air throughout your space, you may want to check and make sure you’re up to date on maintenance. As this is one of the more affordable fixes, one of the first things our professionals will do is check your thermostat to see if it is working smoothly.
5. Dirty Condenser Coils
As a result of being located outside, your condenser coils have a pretty high chance of dirt buildup. When the buildup becomes too severe, you may experience a reduction in your unit’s efficiency, a lack in proper cooling, and in some cases, a system breakdown. A breakdown will really only happen if the issue is neglected for too long so be sure to check all possible aspects of the system if your space isn’t cooling sufficiently. While keeping up with routine maintenance will ensure your unit is spick and span for the summer months, the condenser coils may need to be cleaned more frequently if your AC is running often.
Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
While many of these common problems cause similar issues, they each require different solutions. Keeping up with routine maintenance is vital in sustaining the health, wellness, and longevity of your AC unit. Call Precision Heating and Cooling at (616)-784-2350 to have our professionals help you with all of your heating and cooling needs! Click the link below to read more about why maintenance really matters and what it can do for you and your unit.