Some air conditioning problems are expensive and time-consuming to fix. Fortunately, not every air conditioner problem indicates your system is falling apart. Below are two common cooling problems that can be quickly corrected.
1. Blocked or Restricted Air Flow
One of the most common reasons for an air conditioner that refuses to cool is blocked or restricted air flow. Air conditioners depend on the free flow of air to perform as designed.
As air enters the air conditioner via the return air vent, the air is pulled into the system via the blower and passes over the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil is where heat is transferred from the indoor air to the refrigerant. If air can’t reach the coil, the heat content inside your home never leaves. Instead, warm air will be blown out of supply ducts into all parts of your home.
There are several possible reasons for air flow restriction, but dirty components are the major problems at work. For example, if you never change your air conditioning filter, you can expect it to accumulate a thick layer of dust, dander, fur, pollen and millions of other fine particles. This blanket will prevent much of the air from ever reaching the evaporator coil.
Another location where dirt causes airflow problems is the evaporator coil itself. Though regular filter changes will help keep debris out of the system, traces will still find their way through and eventually cover the evaporator coil. This ever-growing layer on top of the evaporator coil will have the same effect as a dirty filter by preventing heat from leaving the passing air.
The good news is the cure for restrictions or outright clogs is fairly simple in most cases. First, homeowners should be diligent to replace air conditioning filters on a regular basis. Depending on the type of the filter media, which is the material that captures the passing particles, you may need to replace your filters as little as every three months or as often as once per month.
In addition to a filter change, you will need to have the evaporator coil evaluated to determine if it needs cleaning. A professional can quickly access the evaporator coil and perform a cleaning without much fuss should the coil need washing. In most instances, evaporator coils should be cleaned at least once per year to keep them functioning at their optimum.
2. Motor Capacitor Failure
Another common cause for warm air production is motor capacitor failure. Air conditioners are fairly robust electrical devices, and they draw quite a bit of current as a result. Specifically, the heavy-duty motors that move the cooling fans and compressor need a lot of energy to get started.
To help give it a needed boost when starting, a capacitor, which is similar to a battery but charged with much more electricity, provides a sudden release of electrical current into the motors. This boost allows the motors to overcome friction and inertia and start the cooling process.
However, a motor capacitor can fail, especially in hot weather, due to the constant on/off cycles and heavy electrical loads. If the motor capacitor fails in your system, the cooling fan and compressor will be unable to perform their vital cooling functions. The interior blower will continue to operate as normal, however, and all will seem well inside except for the air’s uncomfortably warm temperature.
You can quickly tell if the motor capacitor has failed by listening to the outdoor unit. If you notice a buzzing or humming sound coming from the outdoor unit but it is otherwise non-operational, you can assume the motor capacitor has blown. A qualified heating and air conditioning technician will be able to confirm this is the problem by examining the capacitor.
Fortunately, a blown motor capacitor is not a major, costly repair event. In most cases, a technician can replace a capacitor quickly and restore air conditioning to your home within a few hours.
If your air conditioner isn’t cooling, be sure to contact Reid’s AC & Heat for help. We are ready to provide professional assistance and quickly restore your comfort.