In the scorching heat of summer, your air conditioner isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. If it stops working efficiently, or doesn’t work at all, you’ll need to take action immediately, before the sweltering heat leaves you feeling ragged and miserable.
Here are eight common reasons why your air conditioner may suddenly stop functioning …
1. Frozen evaporator coils
The evaporator is installed inside the indoor air handler, and its job is to extract heat from inside the home for release into the atmosphere outside. Unfortunately, if air flow over the evaporator coils is inadequate they can rapidly freeze up, making it impossible for your air conditioner to keep working.
In most instances, the cause of frozen evaporator coils is a dirty air filter. You may need a technician to check to make sure, but if you replace your air filters frequently this is a problem you can avoid.
2. Leaking refrigerant
Your air conditioner requires adequate supplies of refrigerant to remove unwanted heat from your home. Unfortunately, small leaks can develop at various points in the refrigerant system, and if that happens your air conditioner will gradually lose its capacity to cool.
This problem is extremely common, but a trained technician can find and repair these leaks and recharge the refrigerant to the proper level.
3. Poor drainage
The drainage system, including the drain pan and drain lines, is designed to divert moisture that collects while your air conditioner is in operation. If clogging occurs water may back up into the air conditioning system and severely damage its components.
But here’s the good news. For a trained expert, clogs in the drainage system are simple to detect and just as simple to clean out.
4. Broken or malfunctioning compressor fan
Compressor fans are found in the air conditioner’s outdoor unit. They assist in the heat transfer process and also help keep the compressor cool. If they break or suffer a reduced spin rate the compressor may overheat and burn out, and indoor temperatures will slowly rise as heat transfer is disrupted.
Ideally, sputtering compressor fans should be replaced or repaired before they stop working completely, but either way a quick repair is required to prevent catastrophic equipment failure.
5. Frozen condenser coils
Poor air flow in an HVAC system may cause the condenser coils on the outdoor unit to ice over, making it impossible for them to function effectively (they release heat outside that was removed from indoors).
Dirty air filters or blockages in the duct system are common reasons for condenser coil freezing, but regardless of the cause a trained expert can diagnose the problem and fix it.
6. Troubles with the wiring
Bad wiring work plagues many heating and air conditioning installations, although it may take a few years for electrical problems to develop. Over time even wiring that was installed properly can become frayed, and terminal corrosion is another complication that can cause troubles in your HVAC electrical system.
Only an expert can uncover and repair bad wiring work—but if you suspect bad wiring is to blame for your air conditioner’s poor performance, don’t call the company that handled the original installation.
7. Faulty thermostat
Thermostats tend to break down after years of heavy use, especially if they are older models. Thermostat batteries also need to be changed from time to time, and if your thermostat has gone dead that is something you should try before you call a repair and maintenance technician.
Thermostat failure might be the cause if your HVAC system refuses to start, or shuts off quickly (or won’t shut off at all) once it does. If the technician who inspects your system confirms thermostat failure, you should consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat with Wi-Fi capability, they can be real money savers.
8. Inadequate maintenance
Like clockwork, HVAC equipment should be inspected, tested and tuned before the start of each heating and cooling season. If you are lax about maintenance you’ll be setting your HVAC system up for failure, but if you haven’t been diligent about maintenance before it is never too late to start.
Have Questions about Your Air Conditioner? IAQ Has the Answers
At Indoor Air Quality, Inc., we’ve seen it all and repaired it all. In Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area, we deliver the goods on air conditioner repair and maintenance time after time, and the moment your air conditioner malfunctions you should call IAQ right away to arrange a visit from one of our highly-skilled HVAC technicians. If you’re thinking about maintenance that’s another great reason to give us a call, our technicians are experts at heading off trouble before it starts.