Five Common Problems With Air Conditioners: A Quick Troubleshooting Guide

by Editor on June 5, 2013

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Summer is around the corner, so now is the time to check air conditioners for problems and schedule needed repairs. If your system is not working properly, you could be left to sweat things out while waiting for an appointment from an overwhelmingly-busy repair service. Don’t get stuck with a broken AC when the first heat wave hits; the time to act is now. Here is a quick troubleshooting guide to check out the five most common problems. If you are experiencing one of these issues, be sure to get it fixed now, when moderate spring weather is still here. When summer rolls around in full force, you’ll certainly want a fully-functioning air conditioner!

1. Electrical Failure

If the air conditioning system will not come on, or if it shuts down often during peak use, there may be some electrical problems. Problems with fuses, circuit breakers or wiring can cause the compressor or fan, major components of the system, to malfunction. If the outside fan isn’t running, the compressor can overheat either tripping the safety overload switch or causing damage to the compressor.

2. Low Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant should always remain at the manufacturer’s specified level. If it drops below that level, the system will not cool properly. Air conditioners can leak their refrigerant, the gas used for cooling. The unit will run longer trying to cool the air, resulting in increased energy costs. The air conditioner’s refrigerant can leak into the air potentially causing harm to the atmosphere. If the system is leaking, call a qualified technician to repair the leak and restore correct refrigerant levels.

3. Air Flow Problems

Air flow problems can result from blocked air ducts or vents and dirty filters or parts. Air ducts and parts should be kept clean at all times. Vents should be clean and unobstructed by furniture or other objects. Filters should be replaced monthly for optimal cooling. The outside compressor and fan should be free from leaves and debris that can block air flow. Without proper airflow, the system will have to work much harder to blow cool air, and this can lead to other mechanical problems.

4. Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat can cause air conditioners to turn on and off erratically, or cycle constantly never shutting off. Thermostats contain sensors that can become misaligned or knocked out of correct position resulting in temperature settings being misread.

5. Poor Maintenance

Air conditioning equipment must be checked and serviced regularly to avoid potential problems with parts. Parts wear out with normal use, but without routine maintenance, there is no way to detect the problems until the unit malfunctions. It’s important to have a professional AC technician service the air conditioning system several times a year to guarantee correct operation.

Don’t wait until the summer heat arrives to discover that the air conditioner is not working properly. Have the system checked for problems and routinely serviced. Be wise by having all necessary repairs done early to ensure a cool pleasant summer.

About the Author

Ashely is a part of a team of writers who have contributed to tons of home improvement blogs. Follow her @AshelyMarie1985 to see what else she has to say!

photo by: Wootang01

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