More Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

In Part One- Find and Fix Common AC Problems– we addressed a few of the most common issues that arise in AC units and how to fix them- or know when to call in reinforcements.

Now we’re taking a look at additional problems that can crop up in an AC unit that will likely need a professional’s training and skill set to resolve- but at least you’ll know from the get go what’s gone wrong and what to do next.

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

The Electrical

breaker box

If air isn’t coming out of the machine, then the fan isn’t propelling correctly, which is likely due to an electrical problem. Check your home’s breaker box to see if any breakers tripped. If a breaker has tripped, then flip it back on and try the AC again. You may find that it works properly now.

However, if turning the AC back on causes the breaker to trip again, then there is an electrical issue with the unit requiring professional assistance to diagnose the cause of and solution to the problem. Don’t attempt to remedy the issue yourself unless you’re properly trained- as the wiring or mechanisms could cause an electrical fire if not handled correctly.

The Capacitor

So the fan isn’t blowing air and you checked the breaker box, only to discover there were no tripped circuits. Then the capacitor may be to blame for the issue.

Did you hear a clicking sound leading up to the AC unit malfunction? If so, this is the capacitor’s way of telling you it’s starting to wear down.

Other sounds can inform you of the capacitor failing as well. For example, do you hear a humming noise? This is the sound of the motor trying to turn on but isn’t getting the help it needs from the capacitor. Call an AC service (like Phoenix Air) to fix this issue.

The Compressor

It’s possible that the compressor is the most vital part of an AC unit as the compressor controls the AC pressure and ensures the flow of freon. If the compressor is overworked, it could require replacement. However, the compressor works in concert with other parts, so if one of those components is failing, it will cause the compressor to fail as well. It’s important to know which part is the actual problem child in order to properly resolve the issue. 

To avoid a guessing game, call in an AC service technician to evaluate your AC unit. The technician is trained to be able to determine where the fault lies and the remedy required to fix it.

Performance™ Uncased A Evaporator Coil

The Evaporator Coil

Evaporator coils are vital to an AC unit because they remove heat and add cold to the air. If the air coming from the unit isn’t the right temperature, check the evaporator coil. Is the coil frozen? If so, turn off the AC unit so the coil an thaw.

If the coil is fine, the problem could be found in one of the other components preventing the coil from doing its job via blockage or poor coolant levels.

The Condenser Coil

The condenser coil works similarly to the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil controls the inside temperature, and the condenser coil removes the heat outside. Because the condenser coil is outside, outdoor elements may affect it. For example, the wind could be blowing leaves across it and causing problems. Try hosing the outside section of the unit down to dislodge debris and contaminants brought on by the weather.

The Contactor

The contactor tells the other components to work. Similar to a light switch; it turns on and off when the thermostat calls for AC/Heat. If there is a problem with the contactor, the rest of the machine won’t perform correctly.

If you’re not sure this is the problem, call in an AC service technician to verify the diagnosis and then replace the contactor.

Keep Cool Even if the AC Isn't...

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.

Did you read Part One- Find and Fix Common AC Problems? We may have addressed your problem there, so read on!

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