The summer time is no time for a home’s air conditioning unit to stop working. It may happen and when it does, it will be important for a certified air conditioning technician to identify the problem and fix it. An air conditioning system can be complicated. A number of different things can go wrong with it. There are at least five common problems that may cause a person’s air conditioning system to fail and require repairing
Refrigerant Leak Problems
When an air conditioning unit is low on refrigerant, there could be two main reasons for it. The unit may have been undercharged with refrigerant when it was installed. The other option is that the air conditioning unit leaks. A few years ago, a study was done to determine the true cause of refrigerant leaks in air conditioning units. It showed that leaks often occur in units up to 7 years old. The leaks often occur in the unit’s copper tubing wall. The study determined that some newer air conditioning units were able to be more energy efficient. This was often achieved by using thinner copper in the evaporator coils. Heat will move quicker through thinner copper. This type of efficiency in the tubing can also be a cause of leaks. It is also common to find low levels of formaldehyde as a pollutant in most homes. This formaldehyde can change into something on the a/c coil known as Formic acid. This is very mild, but during a period of several years, it could create pinholes in an air conditioning unit’s copper tubing. This is known as formicary corrosion
Some of the most common air conditioning problems involve the unit’s electronics. It’s possible for an air conditioning unit to have a failing capacitor. This is a small cylindrical electronic component. It sends electricity to the unit’s motors so they can run. A capacitor will begin to show signs of wear when too much voltage is affecting the unit. The capacitors will need to be replaced. This is evident by a clicking sound coming from the unit’s cabinet. Circuit breakers frequently tripping is another problem. If home’s circuit breakers trip when an air conditioning unit turns on, the system needs too much power. There could be a problem with the wiring within the unit’s motors. Relays are components that transmit power to a unit’s motors. When a relay is stuck in the open position, there is a problem. This could keep the motor from turning on. If the relay is stuck in the shut position, the motor will not turn off.
Homes with room air conditioners have a thermostat sensor. This is usually located behind the unit’s control panel. It will measure the temperature of air coming into the unit’s evaporator coils. As air goes past the unit’s sensor, its temperature is identified. The sensor then contrasts this to the thermostat’s desired temperature. If the temperature needs to be warmer or cooler, the sensor will activate the unit’s compressor. This will make it cool until a home’s temperature matches the temperature set on the unit’s thermostat. Should the unit’s sensor get out of position, the unit could constantly cycle. In other cases, it will begin to operate erratically. The sensor needs to be located near the coils but not touching them. When the sensor touches the coils, an air conditioning unit can begin to act erratically. This can be corrected by eliminating any unusual angles of a sensor toward or away from the unit’s coils. If this is done, and the unit still does not work correctly, there may be other problems with the air conditioning unit. A trained technician will be able to further evaluate the unit and recommend any necessary repairs.
Inadequate Maintenance Problems
When the filters and coils in an air conditioning unit become dirty, the air conditioner will not operate properly. It is important for an air conditioning unit to have a clean filter installed every month. Some filter types can be cleaned, and others must be replaced. When filters are not regularly changed, the efficiency of an air conditioning unit is significantly compromised. This is especially important during the months a unit is used the most. It is essential to know the filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value and only to use filters specifically designed for the unit. When this isn’t done, it can permit dirt to be carried directly into the unit’s evaporator coils and decrease its ability to absorb heat. As an air conditioner is utilized, it’s evaporator coil and condenser coil will collect dirt. Even with regular changing of the air filter, these coils will retain dirt. Outdoor condenser coils will have significant levels of dirt from being in an outside environment. This is especially true if there are trees and plants nearby. An air conditioning unit’s coils need to be checked and cleaned at least once a year or more depending on the unit’s location.
Turning Off Problems
If an air conditioning unit goes off and on without warning, it could be the result of air flow within the unit being restricted. In some cases, a dirty air filter is the problem. In some units, this is a result of too much moisture being captured. This can cause the unit’s water tank to fill up. There is often a light on the unit that indicates when its water tank is filled. A unit repeatedly turning off can happen on days that are extremely hot. The high temperatures can cause a problem with the air moving through the unit. In some cases, the problem could be a thermostat too close to windows or air vents. A thermostat in the wrong location can cause a unit to react to the wrong inside temperature. In some cases, a broken thermostat may be at fault.
If this is a constant problem after an air condition unit is installed, the system may be too large for the structure where it was installed. When this is done, it will decrease the amount of time to cool off an indoor environment but will increase energy bills, cause uneven cooling and other problems.