No one wants to deal with air conditioning problems during a hot and sultry Northeast summer. Whether you use a window unit (or two or three) or a central air conditioning system, avoid these common air conditioning problems to enjoy a happy, comfortable summer. Plus, an efficient air conditioning system that runs properly will help keep your summer energy bills in check.
Improper Installation Leads to Many Common Air Conditioning Problems
An air conditioner – especially a central air system – that has not been installed properly can lead to a host of air conditioning problems. The U.S. Department of Energy states that faulty installation can lead to leaky ducts and low airflow. At times, improper installation results in the incorrect amount of refrigerant in the system (known as refrigerant charge), not meeting the manufacturer’s specifications. This may diminish the unit’s efficiency and performance.
Nip this issue in the bud by hiring a trustworthy air conditioning contractor to ensure proper installation and operation and avoid refrigerant charging problems.
Refrigerant Leaks Diminish Efficiency
Is your air conditioning unit low on refrigerant? Either it wasn’t properly charged to manufacturer specifications at installation, or it leaks. Again, a unit that’s low on refrigerant operates inefficiently or not at all.
According to insurance company Choice Home Warranty, a low refrigerant level can play a role in other common air conditioning problems like air that is not cooling, a unit that never turns off, or a condenser that doesn’t run. Do not add more refrigerant to the system until the leaks have been tracked down and repaired by a trained technician.
Remember that refrigerant leaks can be harmful to the environment, so don’t sit on this problem – have it repaired right away.
Check on Faulty Electronics That Can Wear Out
Air conditioning units work hard keeping homes cool each summer. So, regularly check the electrical components for routine wear and tear. The U.S. Department of Energy warns that compressors and fan controls can wear out, especially if the unit turns on and off frequently. Additionally, corrosion of wires and terminals also present common air conditioning problems, like a compressor that won’t run or lack of air coming from the registers. Ensure that a trained technician checks the electrical connections and contacts during a service call.
Another common air conditioning problem? A tripped fuse that cuts power to the air condenser. If your condenser won’t run on and there doesn’t appear to be any issue with the thermostat settings, the experts at House Logic advise you to check the circuit breaker.
Sensor Snags Impair Window and Room Air Conditioners
Window and room air conditioners contain thermostat sensors that measure the temperature of the air coming into the evaporative coil, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If the sensor gets knocked out of place, problems occur. For example, potential problems include the AC unit acting erratically, which diminishes efficiency and performance. Luckily, fix this issue by simply putting the sensor, back into place. Put the sensor behind the control panel and near the coil, but not touching it.
For more tips to prevent common window and room air conditioner problems, check out this video created by Consumer Reports:
Drainage Dilemmas and Dirty Components Affect Performance
Another common air conditioning problem, especially when the days grow humid, concerns drainage. Check the unit’s condensate drain for clogs. Plus, confirm the window units remain properly mounted, which facilitates drainage.
Dirty and blocked components like filters and registers also affect an air conditioning unit’s performance. Consumer Reports, the independent product review organization, warns that registers can get dusty and the buildup may hinder your air conditioner’s performance. Regularly vacuuming the registers helps to keep problems at bay.
Clogged filters reduce an air conditioner’s ability to effectively cool the air by restricting air flow through the unit, decreasing efficiency. Chang filters regularly – at least once a month, especially for homes that constantly run the AC or homes with pets.
Dirty parts can even lead to premature failure of compressors or fans. If you identify a dirty or clogged component that’s not easy to clean yourself, call in a professional before the problem gets worse.
Problematic Surroundings: Check Your Windows, Plants and TV
Although internal failings cause many common air conditioning problems, other factors create issues as well. First, warm air leaking into a room with a window AC unit typically means improper installation. Check if the air conditioner is mounted properly on the sill. Plus, ensure the window seals remained air tight. If necessary, reseal the space around the unit with pieces of weatherstripping.
Be mindful of the appliances that surround your window unit or the thermostat that controls your central air conditioning system. For example, at times the thermostat or sensor registers heat from a TV or lamp. As a result, this increases the air conditioner run time as it works hard cooling the room. Additionally, draw the shades during the sunniest times of the day. This helps prevent heat generated by sunlight tricking the thermostat or sensor into registering a higher room temperature.
Finally, take a look at the plant life that may surround your central air unit’s outdoor compressor. It requires adequate airflow to work correctly; Consumer Reports suggests maintaining 2 to 3 feet of space between the compressor and any nearby plant structures.
Operate the Air Conditioner the Right Way to Avoid Problems
Interestingly, quite a few common air conditioning problems result simply from improper operation. If the air conditioner is on, make sure all the doors and windows are shut. If windows remain open, then the system must work harder during the cooling process. Also, check the thermostat so that the AC isn’t blasting when you’re not home. Additionally, this helps avoid pricey home energy bills this summer. For window units, isolate the room it’s meant to cool by closing doors. As with many common energy issues and their solutions, common sense rules.
Air conditioning manufacturers generally produce high-quality, rugged structures meant to withstand and work through uncomfortable temperatures. However, like any purchase that lasts for years, air conditioners need regular upkeep and maintenance. Plus, routine inspections help stave off common air conditioning problems. Ensure your investment keeps your home cool by replacing filters and cleaning the registers. Plus, always call on a trusted service technician to perform an annual checkup.
A.Johnson works with homeowners in the Capital District area fixing cooling, heating and plumbing issues in your home. From energy audits and routine maintenance to emergency service, contact us today to improve your home comfort needs!