More than half of the homes in the United States are equipped with an air conditioning system. It’s no surprise that the surplus of air conditioners means a surplus of air conditioner problems. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can check for yourself before calling a professional HVAC company to diagnose and repair the AC unit. We have compiled a list of the most common air conditioner problems that you can diagnose yourself and potentially fix.
1. Dirty Filters
The number one culprit for a misbehaving air conditioner is a dirty or clogged air filter. The purpose of an air filter is to trap dirt, pollen, and germs while still allowing air to pass through. Ideally this will keep dirt and grime out of your air ducts and circulating throughout your home.
However, if this filter gets too packed full of dirt and pollen; air can no longer pass through. You’ve essentially built a dirt wall inside your unit that is blocking any air from passing. The good news is that this is incredibly easy to check and clean or replace. New air filters are also fairly inexpensive. If your air conditioner is running but you’re not feeling any cool air from your vents, give this a shot. If your home doesn’t start to cool down soon, move onto the next suggestion.
2. Dirty AC Unit
Cleaning your outdoor AC unit is often overlooked by homeowners when thinking about home maintenance. We find that cleaning your AC unit frequently slips the mind of homeowners or they honestly don’t know that it needs to be done on a regular basis.
Similar to a dirty air filter, an outdoor AC unit covered in pine needles, fluff from a willow tree, or even tall grass will not allow air to enter the unit and be cooled. To clear any objects or debris from clogging your air conditioner simply rinse it off with your garden hose. Outdoor air conditioner units are built to withstand weather, so a general cleaning with water won’t hurt the unit.
Cleaning (or replacing) the air filter and the outdoor unit are the easy fixes for a malfunctioning air conditioner. The next few are significantly more difficult and may require the assistance and expertise of a professional HVAC technician.
3. Refrigerant Leak
A refrigerant leak is one of the more dangerous issues your air conditioner can have. Refrigerant is a man-made chemical that flows through the outdoor air conditioner unit and the indoor system. The refrigerant is housed inside the coils of the condenser (outside) and evaporator (inside) and uses evaporation and condensation to cool your home.
The refrigerant in your AC unit won’t work properly if there isn’t the correct amount. There are two instances that can cause there to be less refrigerant in your AC than is required. The first happens when the AC is installed, if the installer doesn’t properly “charge” the refrigerant. The second is a much larger issue. A leak.
If you suspect your AC is leaking refrigerant call a professional as soon as possible. Refrigerant is incredibly dangerous for local flora and fauna. Refrigerant poisoning, although rare, can do a lot of damage to the environment.
4. Frozen Evaporator Coil
There are many factors that can cause your evaporator coil to freeze. Before we get into what can cause a frozen evaporator coil, let’s discuss how the evaporator coil functions. Essentially, the cold, refrigerant filled coils absorb heat from the air as it passes over them, leaving the air cooler than it was before.
The main causes for a frozen evaporator coil are low airflow, dirty coils, and low refrigerant. All of these can force the system to overwork itself causing condensation to form on the coils and freeze. If you suspect you may have a frozen evaporator coil in your ac unit, contact a professional right away. Untreated, an overworked air conditioner can create a whole plethora of problems with your home and furnace. It’s best to let a professional take care of it asap.
5. Duct Leak
Improper ductwork can mean your air conditioner is blowing cool air into the walls of your house and not into the rooms you occupy. A disconnected duct or one with a hole or gap in it is catastrophic to your homes cooling capability. In some circumstances, you can patch a hole or gap without the help of a professional. That is, if the duct is easily accessible. If it is, grab some duct tape and let it do what it was made for. DUCTS!
Losing conditioned air to unoccupied crawl spaces is a travesty that causes your air conditioner to work much harder than it needs to in order to effectively cool your home. As stated above; an overworked air conditioner can quickly create much worse problems with expensive solutions. If you suspect your air conditioner is constantly running but your home doesn’t cool down, call Aquarius right away!
Need a Professional?
Aquarius Home Services is happy to help you diagnose any air conditioner issue and provide you with a solution to fit your home and budget. Our technicians are continually trained in new techniques and parts to make your experience as seamless and pleasant as possible.
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