Main Causes of AC Failure and How to Prevent Them
An air conditioner does more than help you maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home. When the summer heat rises to a certain level, there can be safety risks. Making sure your air conditioner runs consistently well will mean you have a comfortable interior while adding a little peace of mind. Homeowners do need to keep an eye on their air conditioners to make sure they do not suffer from avoidable problems. Otherwise, the summer heat will not stay outside.
Even the most careful homeowner, however, cannot guarantee problems will not occur. After all, an air conditioner is a machine. All machines have parts that wear down sooner or later. You may notice the air conditioner running inefficiently, which is often a sign of impending failure. Do not let the situation reach that level. You want to prevent an air conditioner from shutting off without warning. The preventive process starts with knowing why air conditioners fail. There are a few common reasons.
Maybe it is best to check the thermostat when your air conditioner malfunctions. The air conditioner itself might be fine, but the thermostat could have something wrong with it. Do you have a battery-powered thermostat? The batteries could be outright dead and switching them may fix things. If there is a more severe problem with the thermostat, it may need to be fixed or replaced.
Look for some signs that the thermostat is not running the way it should. If you notice your air conditioner keeps cycling on and off, that is a common sign of a thermostat problem. However, frequent cycling could be due to other issues. A thorough inspection performed by a professional will tell the tale.
When there’s not enough refrigerant in the system, do not expect the air-conditioning to work properly. When the refrigerant drops to near-zero levels, the air conditioner probably will not work at all. Remember, the refrigerant serves a vital purpose. It draws heat from the house and moves it outside. Without available refrigerants, do not expect the AC to do an even marginally good job.
The leaks causing the low refrigerant do not even need to be pronounced ones. Pinhole leaks can lead to a small amount of coolant draining over time. Things slowly become noticeably worse. That is why you must react accordingly when an air conditioner ceases to work correctly. Do not wait until things hit critical failure or assume the AC unit will “heal” itself. Keep an eye out for any signs of a leak. Unfortunately, the leak could be inside the unit and, hence, not visible.
Dirty Condenser Coil
The condenser coil carries the refrigerant. If there is a hole in the coil, that is where the fluid will drain. Now, the condenser coil does not need to be damaged or in bad shape to suffer problems. If the coil is “merely” dirty, then it may not perform its job effectively. A thorough cleaning could restore the condenser coil to a reliable operating condition. Cleaning the coil requires using the right cleaning solution and a special brush. Of course, the person performing the cleaning has to know what he/she is doing. A lack of thoroughness would undermine the task.
A damaged condenser coil is not of much value, either. If the condenser coil is not in proper working condition, replacing it becomes a priority. Otherwise, do not expect the air conditioner to work the way it should. JW Plumbing, Heating and Air provides many repair and maintenance solutions for people living in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Air conditioning work, including installation, is a specialty.
The Fan Suffers From Troubles
A fan does exactly what people assume the part does. The spinning blades of the fan blow air, preferably cool air, through the ducts, which then exit through the vents. As long as the fan works as it is supposed to, the home’s interior should get enough cool air. Now, the fan cannot cool the home by itself. Your thermostat settings must also engage the air conditioner to create cold air. If you are only running the fan, which is an option, you are only going to be circulating room temperature air. Air at 80° is going to stay at 80°. So, make sure the air conditioner setting is not set exclusively to “fan”.
If the fan is not working, then do not expect cool air to travel. You will know when the fan completely fails because the air in the room will not travel. The fan will not make any sounds, and the blades will not spin. A fan relies on a motor for its operation. Once the motor goes, so does the fan’s operational abilities. A motor, like any other type of engine, might not last forever. The part could also have a manufacturing defect, although that would be a rarity. Regardless, someone should check out the motor when the fan fails. Perhaps it needs to be replaced.
Another more subtle problem could arise. The fan may not fail, but it may not work efficiently. Poor lubrication might undermine the fan’s ability to do its job. Anything that drags down a part’s performance will invariably be a drag on the entire system.
Electricity is what powers an air conditioner. Maybe a fuse failed, and now the unit’s not getting electricity. That would not be a problem with the air conditioner itself, but the air conditioner will not work until that matter is fixed. Also, someone might shut off the air conditioner’s power source. Merely flicking the switch back to the on position corrects this problem.
And then there is the more serious matter of wiring or other electrical components failing. Danger looms when there are electrical problems inside the air conditioner. A fire could start, and that presents a hazard. If you smell anything burning from the air conditioner, do not automatically assume that it is benign. Potential fire hazards are nothing to take lightly. Perhaps killing the electricity would be a wise safety step.
The Annual Inspection Option
Knowing the common causes of air conditioner problems does give many homeowners ideas about the reasons for AC failures. However, they might not know the subtle signs that a problem is starting. Homeowners might never know that a part wore out or another problem manifested. Experience counts when it comes to detecting these things. Having an annual inspection performed on the air conditioner could reveal problems that are hidden beneath the surface.
Here is one helpful step homeowners can take. Purchase a service agreement from an established heating and cooling company. The service agreement involves preparing for inspections and preventive maintenance. Hopefully, the service further reduces the potential for any problems with the AC. Remember, the faster you stay on top of maintenance issues, the less likely major problems arise.
JW Plumbing, Heating and Air in Los Angeles, CA, wants to help customers with their air conditioning and heating repairs and maintenance requests. The company also performs plumbing work, along with air quality and duct maintenance. Call the offices today to discuss maintenance and service in your home.