When the first heatwave of summer hits air conditioner repair companies get a spike in calls. That’s because many homeowners only realize that their aircon system isn’t running correctly when the temperature soars and the unit can’t cope. While any professional you call in will provide you with solutions, it’s a good idea to have a sense of what could be wrong before you call on them. Read through what could be causing your HVAC system to fail.
The air filter could be dirty
The air filter on aircon tends to collect particles and dirt such as dust and pet hair. When an air filter becomes clogged the airflow through it is hindered. This decreases the efficiency of the system, which makes it harder to keep consistently cool. Think back to when you last had your air filter cleaned or replaced it. If your house is full of pets, then this should be a priority, as you’ll need to clean the air filter more often than other households.
The wiring could be faulty
It sounds dramatic – and it is cause for concern. If there is faulty wiring, the system won’t be getting power. However, it can also cause further issues such as tripping the circuit breaker or causing an electrical fire. This is not something you should look into yourself. Call a professional in to check your wiring.
The refrigerant could be low or leaking
Refrigerant is the chemical that is used in air conditioners to cool the air that comes out of the system. When the refrigerant levels dip too low, it could be a sign that your system is ‘undercharged’ and there is a leak somewhere. Refrigerant has to be handled with care, and again this is not something you should check on your own. A certified and trained AC specialist will have the skills and tools to test and repair the leak if there is one.
The outside fan could be broken
The outside fan pulls the heat from your home to the outside. If this fan is not working correctly, the heat transfer cannot happen efficiently. When this happens, the AC compressor could become overheated and trip the safety overload. The compressor could also be damaged in the process.
The outdoor compressor unit could be covered
Debris, dirt, plants, and leaves can collect around the AC outdoor unit. It then prevents the air from circulating properly. You want a meter of space between the unit and any plants – as well as a couple of meters of clearance above it. Clear plants and shrubs or trim around your unit. It’s best to do this at the end of winter so your system is ready to roll when the weather turns hot.
The coil could be frozen
Check your unit for frost buildup around or on the coil. The evaporator coil absorbs heat that comes from your home. Condensation builds up in the process. When something goes wrong with the cooling process, the condensation can freeze, and your air conditioner will break down.
The most common cause of this is when there is a lack of system airflow. When there is not enough air flowing over the coil, they have insufficient heat to absorb, so they freeze. What could cause this? The air registers could be closed off, or the air handler could be malfunctioning
If the air filter is dirty, it could also restrict airflow to your system or cause dirt to build on your evaporator coil. This also limits the coil’s ability to absorb heat from the home. Finally, if the system doesn’t have enough refrigerant it won’t be able to perform correctly, and the evaporator coil will freeze too.
The thermostat could be faulty
When a thermostat doesn’t work correctly, it causes the unit to cycle on and off more frequently. Or, it could stop it from working altogether. Numerous things can affect older thermostats, and you should look into upgrading your thermostat to a modern digital one.
Signs of an issue are that rooms in the house vary in temperature. The temperature differences happen when a thermostat switches the system on and off when it is not supposed to do so. Consequently, the rooms in the home that are furthest away the unit will not receive an even distribution of the right heat for the home.
If you’ve forgotten to schedule air-conditioning maintenance and service with your installer, your system will likely start to show issues. It’s important to have your air conditioning unit serviced annually. A technician will be able to pick up issues before they become serious and can cause damage to the unit. They will pick up some of the problems discussed already such as problematic wiring, leaking refrigerant, or dirty systems.