Summer is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to put away the blankets and sweaters and bring out the tank tops and beach towels. It also means it’s time to start using your AC again. But what if your AC isn’t working properly? How will you stave off the waves of heat that are constantly barraging your home? Your first step should be troubleshooting your AC for common problems and attempting to fix them.
To essentially create a cooling effect out of thin air, your AC uses what is called refrigerant. This refrigerant passes through parts of your AC where it undergoes the physical changes that produce cool air. If there is a refrigerant leak, however, your AC may produce warmer air which causes your house to cool more slowly. In addition to warm air from vents and poor performance, signs of a refrigerant leak include a hissing sound or frozen evaporator coils. Here are some of the common causes of refrigerant leaks:
- Damage to your AC — Physical damage to your AC can cause refrigerant leaks. Be especially careful when mowing the lawn or using a weed whacker near your AC unit.
- Improper soldering — There are many soldered connectors and joints in your AC; if one of them was done poorly, it can eventually lead to a refrigerant leak.
Other causes include cheap manufacturing and chemical reactions between the copper pipes and formaldehyde. If you’re not comfortable searching for and fixing the leak yourself, AC maintenance professionals have the tools and expertise to safely get the job done right.
There are many electrical components in your AC unit. From the thermostat sensor and compressor and fan controls to the many wires, there are all sorts of electric parts that can hinder your AC. You should always have a professional check your controls and wiring during each visit.
Rapid changes in temperature and pressure cause AC units to build up condensation which then needs to be disposed of; that’s where your condensate drain line comes into play. Over time, your condensate drain line can become clogged by mold and algae growth, significantly reducing its ability to remove condensation from your AC and causing moisture issues inside your home.
You can clean your AC condensate drain line with rags, a wet/dry vacuum, some vinegar and a funnel.
Regular maintenance is a crucial part of keeping your AC running properly. There are filters and coils which need to be cleaned on a regular basis; if you don’t clean them, they will get dirty and cause problems with your unit’s fans or compressor. Here are the most important steps in maintaining your AC:
Cleaning or replacing your AC filters to promote airflow and healthy indoor air quality
- Cleaning your AC coils to prevent debris from building up
- Combing your AC’s coil fins to encourage airflow
- Cleaning out your condensate drain line to keep humidity controlled
If you aren’t comfortable performing these maintenance tasks, there are plenty of professionals who specialize in keeping your AC in tip-top shape.
Operational errors are a very common cause of AC problems. When you’re running a central air conditioning system, you should have all of the windows and doors closed. For smaller single-room ACs, close off other rooms to prevent your AC from overworking itself.
When July rolls around and it’s scorching hot outside, there’s nothing better than a good air conditioner. The last thing you want is to turn on your AC on a hot day only to realize it doesn’t work. Perform regular maintenance and, if there’s a problem, call a professional to repair your AC before summer is here.