Air conditioning is a necessity in Florida, and life can be pretty unbearable if your air conditioner goes out. Repairs can be costly, so it’s important to make sure your air conditioner is in tip-top shape through regular upkeep. And it’s always a good idea to be aware of some of the more common problems that can arise with your air conditioner.
One of the typical reasons air conditioners don’t work properly is a clogged or dirty filter. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions as to how often to change your air filter. Some are monthly, others every three months, while some are reusable and should be cleaned when they are dirty. One way to determine if a filter needs to be cleaned is to check if any light passes through it. If not, it’s time to clean it. Dirty filters not only reduce the flow of air but can also cause the AC unit to freeze.
Another easy fix is to make sure your thermostat (which controls the temperature setting in your home) is turned on, the inside is clean, it’s level, it’s not being affected by sunlight, and it’s on the correct setting. If problems persist, there may be another issue.
When the coolant starts leaking in the air conditioner, the unit will not perform correctly, and the temperature will fluctuate. The location of the leak will affect the cost of the repair so having this examined yearly by a trained AC technician is advised.
Like the filter, the drain line can become clogged with dirt, dust, and lint. If it becomes clogged, the drain pan will fill up, and water will leak out potentially causing damage to the AC unit or whatever is around your pan.
The breakers and fuses safeguard the AC unit’s motor or compressor from overheating. Often when a motor dies, one of the first parts the HVAC technician checks is the breaker.
Without capacitors, the motors that power the compressor and fans won’t work. The start capacitor sends a jolt to activate the motor, while the run capacitor provides a series of jolts to keep the motor working. The AC unit won’t run efficiently if either burns out.
The compressor applies energy to the refrigerant and propels it through the coils to carry out heat exchange. If the compressor is not working, the AC unit will not cool your house. If there’s not enough refrigerant, the compressor will run hot and eventually seize. If there’s too much, the refrigerant will return to the compressor, which can cause it to fail.
Evaporator coils absorb heat in the air and send it back into the house as cold air using a series of air ducts. Coils can become corroded, but if they are located inside, they typically only require maintenance every three years.
Condenser coils are located outside with the compressor so they can become dirty due to the elements. They can usually be cleaned with a water hose once a year, but if they get too dirty, an HVAC technician will have to clean them with a chemical cleaner.
In an AC unit, there are contactors for the compressor, the blower motor, and the condenser fan motor. They make an electrical connection that starts the motors and compressor. If there’s arcing and pitting on the contactor, it becomes difficult for electric current to start the motors.
Related article: Why Is My Home's AC Not Cooling?