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How to Troubleshoot Air Conditioning Problems
It’s 5 a.m. in the morning. You suddenly wake up to stifling heat. You groggily get out of bed to check the thermostat and discover it’s 81 degrees inside your home. In your drunken-like slumber, you realize that the air conditioner must not be working. It’s your worst nightmare come true…and it’s likely happened to most of us at some point — our air conditioner breaks down at the least opportune time. At Entek, we’re experts at troubleshooting air conditioning problems. Let’s go over the most common types and exactly how to fix them.
One common cause of air conditioning problems is faulty wiring. Issues with your system’s wiring can trip the circuit breaker and cause a host of other problems as well. If you notice that your air conditioner is operating in spurts (the system starts and then abruptly stops), this could be indicative of faulty wiring.
If this is the case, you should contact an expert technician to fix the problem immediately. Not only will bad wiring cause your system to fail, it also poses a serious fire hazard. To avoid this risk, contact one of our certified professionals at Entek to remedy this common air conditioning problem. Faulty wiring should only be inspected and fixed by a trained professional.
A more simple fix for your AC unit could simply be changing the air filters. In fact, dirty air filters are one of the most common air conditioning problems that plague homeowners. Air filters can become clogged with dirt, pet hair, and other debris. Clogged filters will restrict the system’s airflow, causing the air handler to work harder to cool your home with the same efficiency. This can cause your utility bill to skyrocket.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution for this common air conditioning problem-changing your air filters on a regular basis. The Department of Energy estimates that by simply replacing a dirty air filter, you could lower your unit’s energy consumption by as much as 15%. So how often should you change your air filter? Replace the filters at least once every couple of months during the prime cooling season. But keep in mind that you may need to change them more frequently if you have pets in your home or run the unit often.
Clogged filters can also cause another common air conditioning problem-frozen coils. To avoid this issue, you should have the system’s evaporator coil inspected on an annual basis. This can be done by scheduling a routine maintenance appointment. During this appointment, your HVAC technician will remove any noticeable dirt buildup. Likewise, the technician will inspect the unit’s outdoor condenser coil.
Outdoor debris can clog the coil, causing the system to malfunction. As a preventative measure, the technician will make sure the condenser coil is free and clear of any potential clogging properties, such as dirt and leaves. If there is foliage nearby, he or she will trim it back at least two feet from the coil. The technician will then also inspect the aluminum fins on each coil. If they are bent, you will likely need to purchase a fin comb from your local air conditioning store to get them back into shape.
Low refrigerant is another cause of frozen coils. If your AC’s refrigerant is low, then you likely have a leak in the system. Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple a fix as a clogged air filter. In the case of a leak, you should immediately contact a certified HVAC technician. The leak will need to be identified and properly sealed in order to address the problem. This is an issue you’ll want to remedy immediately as low refrigerant can do serious harm to your AC system.
So how do you know if your refrigerant is low? In addition to frozen coils, there are a few things you can look out for. If you notice that your energy bill is uncommonly high, your supply vent is blowing lukewarm air, or your unit is emitting a hissing noise, then you’re likely low on refrigerant. If you notice any of these signs, contact one of our certified professionals at Entek to help resolve the problem.
If you have a window AC unit, check to make sure the windows are properly sealed. If you suspect that air is escaping through the windows, you may need to install new weather seals. Like dirty air filters, this is an air conditioning problem that most homeowners can solve on their own. You can find weather seals at most air conditioner or hardware stores. For steps on how to properly seal your window AC unit, check here. You should also check the unit’s registers to make sure they are clear of debris so the air can flow freely.
If you attempt to fix any of these issues on your own but notice the problem persists, you’ll want to contact one of our technicians at Entek for an inspection and assessment of your AC unit.
Perhaps, your unit is past its prime or maybe it has been improperly maintained. Neglect is a common cause of air conditioning problems. While you may think you’re saving yourself money by not having your unit regularly inspected by a certified professional, you’re actually costing yourself much more in the long run. It’s important to have a professional assess your unit prior to each cooling season so you don’t wake up at 5 a.m. in a deep sweat.
Our Entek technicians can perform a home performance test that has the potential to save you up to 30% in energy costs. For a limited time, we’ll perform this test at half off our regular rate. We’ll measure airflow, check for the correct amount of refrigerant, and identify any potential areas of concern. Remember, the best way to solve common air conditioning problems is through regular maintenance and preventative measures. So give us a call and we’ll help you keep your cool all summer long.