All Blog Articles

AC Autopsy: 3 Ways to Accidentally Kill Your Air Conditioner

Whoops! You accidentally killed your $6000+ central air conditioning system. Here’s the autopsy report on how it happened.

1) Forgetting to change the air filter

Life got busy and you forgot that the air filter (located in the return grille) even existed.

Bad news: The filter got too dirty and blocked airflow over the AC’s evaporator coil (the part that cools your air). This caused the coil get too cold and freeze up.

After it froze up, liquid refrigerant flowed back to the outside unit’s compressor (the engine of the AC). Because compressors can only compress refrigerant in gas form, the liquid refrigerant destroyed the compressor.

You now need to replace the compressor (it’s expensive) or get a new outside unit.

Next time: Remember to check the filter once a month and change it as needed.

2) Closing air vents in unused rooms

You thought you could save some money by closing several air vents in rooms you didn’t use.

Bad news: Closing the vents actually caused the evaporator coil to freeze up (just like the dirty air filter did).

You see, when you close air vents, you increase pressure in the duct system. And your typical AC blower is only designed to work against a certain amount of pressure; extra pressure can slow the blower speed down.

A slower blower speed means less airflow over the evaporator coil, causing the same problems as a dirty air filter.

Next time: Leave all your air vents open.

3) Covering/surrounding your air conditioner

Your air conditioner isn’t exactly the definition of beauty. So you decided to cover the outside unit (the one with the fan) with bushes, a fence, or a decorative cover.

Bad news: Covering the outside unit caused the AC’s compressor to overheat.

Here’s why: Your AC system works like a heat sponge; it absorbs heat from your home’s air and then dumps that heat outside (dumping the heat outside is the outside unit’s job).

But if the outside unit is smothered by a fence, cover or bush, it struggles to release heat outside. This causes the AC to run longer, eventually overheating the compressor as a result.

Next time: Don’t cover the top of your AC’s outside unit. And keep a minimum of 2 ft of space free around the unit.

Just kidding

Your AC is fine (probably). But now you know how to prevent a few homeowner-caused AC breakdowns.

Want to prevent other causes of AC breakdowns?

Get professional AC maintenance from Cool Today. Your AC needs professional maintenance at least twice a year because you use it so often.

Cool Today provides award-winning air conditioning service to Sarasota, Florida and the surrounding areas like Bradenton, Tampa and Port Charlotte. If you have any questions, talk to one of our experts for help.