It is another hot and sweaty summer outside, and your air conditioner seems to be struggling. While you imagined the house should be cooler by now, the output of your air conditioner does not appear to be pumping in a regular flow of consistent, cool air. In fact, the output of your air conditioner is clearly less than adequate: causing your house to retain that stale, musty heat and humidity that makes it hard to breathe as the perspiration beads up across your forehead. But, what could possibly be causing your air conditioner to be experiencing a reduction in output? Chances are that your air conditioner is being hampered by one of the following issues.
Air Handler Problems
The air handler is the part of your air conditioner that is burdened with the task of properly circulating air throughout your home. When there is a problem with your air conditioner's air handler, this will definitely hinder its ability to circulate air as it was designed to do. Essentially, you can think of the air handler as a fan with a powerful motor. When the fan is operational, air becomes distributed and circulated as it should, and your home will stay at the proper temperature you desire it to maintain. Unfortunately, the motor component of the air handler depends on a series of oiled bearings. With use over time, these bearings can wear, and you will start to notice that your air conditioner is producing an annoying grinding sound when the fan is engaged.
If this problem goes untreated long enough, the resultant friction from general use will ultimately burn out the air handler's motor. In the meantime, before the motor burns out, you will notice that the output of your air conditioner will continue to drop as the situation gets worse. The solution that tends to be least expensive, which will restore your air conditioner to a state where it is operating properly again, is to replace the failing bearings before significant damage is done to the motor of the air handler. Alternatively, the air handler may experience an electrical problem, such as a short circuit. In this situation, power is lost and output will reduce because electricity is not able to power the motor.
Evaporator Coil Has Frozen Over with Ice
While you would think freezing cold ice would not be a huge problem in the heat of summer, the truth is that ice forming on an evaporator coil can create a major problem with the operation of your air conditioner. As the evaporator coil ices over, it becomes increasingly difficult for the heat to be removed out of your home's air. This common air conditioner problem results in a direct reduction in your air conditioner's output. Common causes of this problem arise from the air conditioner's air filter being clogged or an air handler that is not functioning properly. In the event that you notice ice forming on your air conditioner, this is a sign you need to have your system looked at by a professional as soon as possible.
Your Air Conditioner is Leaking Refrigerant
For your air conditioner to operate as it was intended, it is vitally important for the air conditioner to contain enough refrigerant fluid to prevent your air conditioner from experiencing a total breakdown in operations. The purpose of refrigerant fluid is that it plays a critical role in transporting absorbed heat from inside your home to outside your home. You might be tempted to imagine that your air conditioner consumes this fluid and that it should be replaced regularly. Instead, what your air conditioner actually does is it recycles this fluid for continued use. The only time your air conditioner should be losing refrigerant fluid is if there is a leak somewhere in the system. When your air conditioner leaks refrigerant fluid, this directly diminishes your air conditioner's ability to shuttle heat outside. As a result, your house will remain warmer, and the output of your air conditioner will become less efficient in the process.
When your air conditioner was originally installed, it was charged with a sufficient amount of refrigerant to last throughout its lifetime of operation: provided no refrigerant leaks occur; consequently, if you notice your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant fluid, it is not advisable to put off having it repaired.
A Malfunctioning Reversing valve
Inside your air conditioner's heat pump is a device called a reversing valve. When refrigerant fluid passes through the heat pump one way, it provides your system with the ability to cool your house. Passing refrigerant fluid through the heat pump in the opposite direction is how your air conditioner provides the ability for the system to heat your home. If the reversing valve inside your heat pump malfunctions or gets stuck, this will create output problems. The last thing you want in the middle of the summer months is for your air conditioner to be stuck heating your house, rather than cooling it off. A professional will be able to quickly determine if the reason your air conditioner is malfunctioning is because of an improperly operating reversing valve. It should be noted that an improperly functioning reversing valve may be difficult to diagnose in mild weather. A bleeding reversing valve will exhibit detectable changes in pressure, which a qualified air conditioner repair technician will be able to help you to detect and restore to proper functioning capacity in a short amount of time.