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As temperatures slowly begin to creep upwards, it becomes easier to leave memories of winter's chill behind and ready yourself for the inevitable arrival of summer's heat. But what is less easy to prepare for is the possibility of an air conditioning outage just when you least expect it.
In this post, learn to identify the 8 most common air conditioning issues.
1: Refrigerant leak
This relatively minor and oh-so-fixable issue is one of the reasons your air conditioner may suddenly fail right at the hottest part of the hottest day of the year (or any other time, for that matter).
Refrigerant is a fluid that can easily transition from liquid to gas and back again. Both your heater and your air conditioning interact with the refrigerant to do their jobs.
When refrigerant levels drop in your air conditioner, the unit is no longer able to keep your indoor air cool. Typically, the reason your unit lacks refrigerant is due to a leak, which can be fixed during an HVAC maintenance or repair appointment with your technician.
2: Condensate back-up
The word "condensate," when used in conjunction with HVAC issues, simply means "water."
Running your air conditioner a lot can cause the condensate to overflow in the drainage area. It can also result in a clogged condensate drain pipe that backs up into the unit itself. And a condensate drain pan that is not mounted evenly can cause leaks and spillage that may lead to the growth of mould and mildew, and structural damage around the leak.
Happily, each of these issues can usually be corrected during a maintenance and repair service call with your technician.
3: Condenser malfunction
The condenser is a component of the HVAC system that pressurizes the refrigerant to heat the liquid. This aids in keeping the indoor air temperature as cool or warm as you prefer it to be.
So when the condenser begins to malfunction, you will likely first notice it when your indoor air temperature is no longer to your liking. There are a number of possible causes for this. One of the most common causes is a blown fuse or tripped switch, which you can check for yourself if you have access to the breaker box.
Another common cause is that dirt and debris have gotten into the condenser itself, causing poor function or even preventing it from doing its job. If your air conditioner seems to go on and off randomly, it’s often because the condenser is in need of a good cleaning, which is something your service technician can handle during a repair or maintenance call.
4: Dirty evaporator
As its name suggests, the evaporator component of an HVAC unit is responsible for evaporating, or vaporizing, the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas state. There are many reasons why the evaporator may not be able to perform up to standard.
One common issue is that the evaporator has become compromised through contact with dirt or debris. All this typically requires is a simple cleaning, which can be done during a normal repair call.
But sometimes the evaporator is not being supplied with enough refrigerant to work properly, which may point to issues elsewhere in the HVAC unit. This can be diagnosed by a service technician during a repair call.
5: Lack of comfort
If it often seems like your air conditioner turns on or off regardless of a comfortable temperature in the house, you may need to have your thermostat relocated. This issue is more common than you might think.
If your thermostat box gets hit by direct sunlight or is too close to another heat source (such as an oven), it may not be "reading" your indoor air temperature accurately
In this case, you will need to have your service technician relocate your thermostat box to a more favorable location for reading indoor air temperature correctly.
6: Less-cool air
When your air conditioning unit seems to be working fine, but somehow the air it blows just doesn't feel cool, it could be for two reasons.
The first reason is that the outside air temperature has risen to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) and your air conditioner unit simply cannot keep up. In this case, it may require an HVAC upgrade, which is something you should decide based on how many days of extreme heat your area typically gets per year.
The second reason is that the insulating sleeves covering your refrigerant lines (these lines keep the inside and outside components of the HVAC unit connected to each other) have come off or are worn out—or you haven't installed them at all. Insulating these two lines with insulation sleeves is a minor fix that can make a major difference in your indoor comfort.
7: Low airflow
If your HVAC unit suddenly seems to be blowing cool air less forcefully than you remember from last year, it’s often because the air filter has become dirty/clogged.
This is one of the easiest issues to solve: simply replace the filter with a new one!
8: Insufficient HVAC unit maintenance
Scheduling regular maintenance for your HVAC unit can prevent most of the issues that would require you to place an emergency service call. Being proactive about maintenance will save you time and money, and from discomfort.
During an HVAC maintenance call, your technician will inspect and clean your HVAC unit, make necessary repairs, replace any worn-out parts, and verify that the unit is fully operational.