Find and Fix Common AC Problems

Few things in Texas are more insufferable than the sweltering summer heat. As temperatures look at 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the rear view mirror, it’s imperative that our air conditioners continue running- and doing so with peak performance. 

But how will you know your AC has stopped working? What are the signs and symptoms you should look out for? And when you see them, how do you fix them?

How an Air Conditioner Works

Carrier Air Conditioner

Air conditioners take warm air and make it cool. They do this by sucking warm air into an evaporator coil. The coil’s coolant (freon) cools (by performing a heat exchange) the air while a dehumidifier pulls moisture out of the air.

The cooled air passes over an element that is set to the temperature you chose on your thermostat, making the air the temperature you desired before it is pushed out into the room.

Because coolant in the system heats up as it cools down air (remember that heat exchange?), that heat is pushed out of the house by a fan, which in turn re-cools the coolant.

Common AC Problems

A Dirty AC Filter

air filter

AC filters are removable and need to be replaced regularly. The time interval is based on the air filter manufacturer’s recommendations, and typically range between every one (1) to three (3) months.

AC filters come in a wide range of sizes and filtration levels to suit the size and needs of a variety of central AC units. However, all air filters get coated with dust, debris, lint and the like over a period of time and must be changed out for a fresh filter.

If you leave a dirty filter in your system, air cannot flow into the central air conditioner unit- the dirt has become so thick on the filter that it literally traps air beneath it. This can cause your AC unit to literally freeze up and- you need to turn it off to thaw it out- and stop working. Check and change your air filter at the first sign of a loss of air flow.

Thermostat Issues

Comfort™ Non-Programmable Thermostat

If your AC unit is refusing to start even when you know by your ever-hotter room that it should have kicked on by now, then your thermostat may be the culprit.

Technology only works as well as its programmers allow it to, so check that the thermostat wasn’t accidentally turned off or set to a higher temperature setting. If you find that your thermostat is on and at the correct temperature, check the thermostat’s interior. Is sunlight getting in somehow and compromising it? Is dust caking the mechanisms?

No? Then check if the thermostat is correctly leveled. (Note that digital thermostats do not need to be leveled!) If everything looks like it is supposed to (and you can rule out the dirty air filter), call out an air conditioning repair company (like us) to re-calibrate your thermostat (since many digital thermostats cannot be calibrated).

 

Coolant Issues

If the temperature coming out of the AC unit is never the same, it may be due to the coolant. Coolant is in a constant flux of absorbing heat from the air pumped into the system, and dissipating heat outdoors so it can re-cool, yet the amount of coolant in the system should remain the same.

Note that it should remain the same, not that it always actually does. If you have checked the thermostat is working properly and your air filter is clean, then your coolant may need topping up.

And to top it up, an AC repairman needs to come add coolant to the system. Why can’t you do it? Because if your system needs topping up, it means there is also a leak in the system that needs finding and fixing- otherwise you’ll be constantly adding more coolant to the system.

Drainage Issues

Okay, so none of the above are your issue. Great. But… you spot a water leak, or your repairman finds one while servicing the AC unit. A found a water leak in your AC unit could be due to a blockage from dirt, dust, or debris aggregated from either inside or outside the house (since pipes run from inside to outside the house).  Locate the drain pan and ensure it’s draining the water effectively. If the drain pan is blocked and overfilling, it can damage the rest of the unit. If this is out of your wheelhouse, contact us to come help.

Rest Assured, It Can Be Fixed

These are just a few of the most common AC problems and how to fix them. Air conditioners work fabulously when well-maintained and regularly serviced, so contact us for an AC inspection and regular maintenance service. Regardless of what we discover, we’ll explain the situation in full, the options available to you at a price point you can afford, and you can rest easy knowing why your system needed help and that you gave yourself and your household the gift of comfort.

Read on for Part 2 of Common AC Problems and how to fix them!

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