In this post, we review the most common air conditioner problems that you encounter when your system is not working correctly.
Noone wants their air conditioning to go out on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, it does happen though.
Sometimes air conditioner problems can be prevented by regular maintenance of your AC unit. This can help prevent issues before they happen by servicing and replacing worn parts.
When problems do occur with air conditioning or central air, the list of causes will often be surprisingly short. There are common problems that we tend to see over and over again.
Most Common Air Conditioner Problems
- Inadequate Maintenance
- Refrigerant Leaks
- Breakers or Fuses
- Evaporator Coils
- Condenser Coils
- Electric Control Failure
- Sensor Problems
- Drainage Problems
- Worn Contactor
Inadequate Maintenance – Ongoing maintenance is important for prevention of issues. If filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioning unit will not work properly, and compressors or fans can fail.
Refrigerant Leaks – If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, this will hurt the performance and efficiency of your ac unit. If the refrigerant level is low, it may have been undercharged at installation or it could have a leak. If it leaks, this is not as simple as adding more refrigerant. The refrigerant charge must exactly match the manufacturer’s specifications.
Breakers or Fuses – The breakers and fuses keep your air conditioner and compressor from overheating. If your motor dies, the breaker is the first place to check for the cause.
Evaporator Coils – The evaporator coils absorb heat in the air and send it back into the house as cold air using a series of air ducts. The AC unit coils can become corroded and will also need to be periodically maintained to work efficiently.
Condenser Coils – Condenser coils can become dirty through exposure to the elements. Usually, it is easy to clean them with a water hose once a year, but if they become too dirty, a technician may have to clean them using a chemical cleaner.
Electric Control Failure – The compressor and fan controls can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, as is common when a system is oversized. Because corrosion of wire and terminals is also a problem in many systems, electrical connections and contacts should be checked during a professional service call.
Sensor Problems – Window unit air conditioners have a thermostat sensor located behind the control panel to measure the air temperature into the coil. If the sensor is bumped out of position, the air conditioner may behave erratically or cycle constantly.
Drainage Problems – Humidity can cause a lot of condensation in your AC unit. If the condensate drain becomes clogged and fails to drain properly, this can cause issues with your air conditioner.
Worn Contactor – Air conditioners have contactors for the compressor, the blower motor, and the condenser fan motor. They contactors make electrical connections which start the motor and compressor. If there’s arcing and pitting on the contactor, it becomes difficult for electric current to start the motors.
Capacitors – The start capacitor sends a jolt which activates the motor. The run capacitor sends electrical energy to keep the motor working. Without capacitors, the motors that power the compressor and fans won’t work. The AC unit won’t run efficiently if either burns out.
Compressor – The compressor applies energy to the refrigerant and propels it through the coils to carry out heat exchange. If the compressor is not working, the AC unit will not cool your house. If there’s not enough refrigerant, the compressor will run hot and eventually seize. If there’s too much, the refrigerant will return to the compressor, which can cause it to fail.
Thermostat – The thermostat needs to be clean and level. Sunlight can affect it. Sometimes the settings for it may be incorrect.
Filter – A common issue with air conditioners is a clogged or dirty filter. Depending on the type of filter, it should be changed every 1-3 months.