An air conditioner is your savior from the hot North Carolina summers, but a few potential problems can prevent it from functioning the way it should. An air conditioner consists of several components that need to work efficiently for the smooth working of the unit. An issue with any of them can prevent your unit from cooling and dehumidifying the air in your home.

Dirty Filters

The air filter is your first line of defense against airborne contaminants. If the filter has not been replaced during the recommended time frame and has accumulated too much dirt, it can hamper free airflow. This makes the air conditioner work harder to cool your indoor air, leading to energy wastage and high utility bills. Overwork can also strain various parts of the system, such as the compressor and the fans, leading to accelerated wear and tear. As the unit runs more frequently in summer, the filters are liable to get dirtier during this peak season. Filters need to be changed every month to every three months. You can opt for even higher efficiency or heavy-duty filters, depending on the nature of your household and common contaminants such as pet dander.

Motor Issues

The air conditioner motor runs the components that do the heavy lifting within the system, such as the compressor and the fans. One common reason why the motor might shut off or not turn on is a run capacitor failure. Age, insufficient lubrication, or excessive wear and tear are reasons that could lead to capacitor failure. Regular inspections and tune-ups by HVAC professionals will help you identify this as a potential problem before it occurs.

Low Refrigerant

The refrigerant is the main component of the air conditioner as it does the cooling. Since it cyclically changes from liquid to gas and moves between the indoor and outdoor units and through convoluted coils, several potential spots can spring a refrigerant leak. A low level of refrigerant leads to insufficient cooling or the unit having to work harder to cool. Refilling the coolant can be expensive, so any suspected leaks should be identified and fixed. Older units use freon, which was banned by the EPA for causing health issues, so a leak in an older unit can be hazardous to your health.

Dirty Coils

The condenser coil in the outdoor unit is exposed to the elements despite the casing and grill, as it needs to be in contact with outside air for heat dissipation. As a result, it can accumulate dirt quickly and requires frequent cleaning. Dirt can prevent the coil from effectively releasing indoor heat to the exterior. The evaporator coil in the indoor unit has relatively cleaner filtered air passing over it but can still attract the dirt that the filters did not catch. The evaporator coil can also freeze if there is inconsistent airflow over it, as it carries coolant inside. Regular inspection and thorough cleaning of the coils, especially before the peak cooling season, can prevent these problems.

Blocked Drains

A drain carries runoff condensation from the evaporator drip pan, and a hose carries it out of the system to a utility outlet or the exterior of the home. Any dirt that was not caught by the air filter will slide off the evaporator coil and accumulate in the drain. A clogged drain can cause moisture buildup within the indoor unit and lead to a leak or damaged electrical components. It can also result in mold growth within the system. Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent or fix a clogged drain.

Leaking Ducts

Air conditioner ducts are made of metal, and they expand and contract in response to temperature fluctuations. This results in gradual wear and tear that can cause them to spring a leak at weak points. Insufficient cooling and high energy costs are undesirable results. Regular inspection and repair of suspected leaky ducts can help you avoid the issue.

Fan Problems

The two fans in the air conditioner unit constantly work to keep up the airflow and the cooling process. Especially in peak summer, the overwork can cause them to develop issues such as broken belts, insufficient lubrication, and dirt buildup. Regular inspections and tune-ups can help identify any potential problems before they occur.

At Putnam Mechanical, we have provided heating, cooling, refrigeration, and electrical services in Mooresville, NC, for over 75 years. Our team of trained technicians will inspect and repair your air conditioning unit so that it is ready to take on the hot summer. We also perform AC installation, heating installation, repair and maintenance, and commercial refrigeration. Call us at Putnam Mechanical to schedule a preventive maintenance appointment for your air conditioner.

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