Even though Colorado doesn’t have a very hot climate, the summertime is the busiest season for Simply Mechanical. That’s because it’s much easier to pile on clothes and blankets in the winter if you’re cold, than it is to cool down in your house when the weather is hot. We all want to be comfortable in our homes, and if the air conditioner isn’t happy and working properly, nobody’s happy!
In this post, we’ll tell you the signs that you need air conditioning service, and the most common problems with air conditioners. Taking care of your air conditioner prior to the summer heat will have you thanking yourself later.
Signs Air Conditioning Service is Needed
Your air conditioner won’t be shy when it comes to letting you know it’s time for service. The following are signs that you need air conditioning repair.
- Unit blows warm or hot air
- Air conditioner needs a recharge
- Poor airflow – airflow is weak or not blowing air in house
- Thermostat readings are inaccurate
- Home air conditioning unit thermostat is unresponsive
- Strange noises coming from the system
- Foul odors coming through the vents
- Increased humidity in the home
- Freon leakage, water leakage, or needs a compressor
Additional things that homeowners can look for include:
Balance and movement of the air conditioning unit. Is your air conditioner rockin’ and rollin’, and not in a good way? When the blower is running at the highest possible speed of the fan, and the system is shaking or jumping a bit, that means it’s out of balance. This can damage the control board, and other components, and should be corrected sooner than later.
Improperly charged system. The copper pipes coming from an air conditioner should always be sweating a bit. That is, you should see condensation on them. If they are dry, the unit is likely out of charge; meaning the refrigerant level isn’t correct. This impacts your energy bill, as well as your in-home comfort. On hot days when you need it the most, the air conditioner just won’t keep up. A technician will assess the amount of refrigerant and adjust it correctly during an air conditioning repair visit.
An R22 System. Previously, air conditioners used R22 freon for refrigerant. Freon has since been phased out due to its impact on the ozone layer. It’s not on the market anymore so if your R22 air conditioner needs a repair, which will likely involve a refrigerant adjustment, the cost will be very high due to low remaining supply. A warranty will only cover parts, not refrigerant, so be aware of this extra cost. If you have an R22 system, we recommend you replace it right away. Check the rating plate with the model and serial number to determine if your unit is R22. Learn about Air Conditioning Installation and Replacement
The Most Common Air Conditioner Problems
1. Bad Capacitor. This isn’t something the typical homeowner can assess themselves, so it’s best to have a professional take a look at it. We recommend yearly air conditioning service visits, because if something like the capacitor doesn’t look like it will make it through the next year, you’ll want to get it replaced before your unit stops working in the middle of the summer.
2. Clogged Condensate Drain. This needs to be blown out with high pressure nitrogen or similar, to get the debris out. This prevents extra water from dripping into the basement or attic where the unit is located when the air conditioner is producing a lot of condensation.
3. Dirty or Improperly Installed Filter. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of the filter in the role of your air conditioner’s performance. This is because the system is so dependent upon air flow. You’ll want to check and change the filter at the beginning of the season, and regularly check it throughout the summer. It’s worth it to have a technician ensure the filter is clean, installed correctly, and all is working well. It seems simple, but if the filter is not placed correctly it can cause pretty significant issues and repairs in the future.
4. Overworked/Dying Blower Motor. You’ll know the motor is working overtime when the air conditioning unit has been running for a while and it’s too hot to even lay a hand upon. This means the fan is running a lot and the motor is reaching the end of its life. A dying motor is using more energy than it should and it will overheat. This will typically happen on a very hot day when it’s working the hardest, and of course that’s when you rely on it the most. A technician will verify the correct ampage is being used during a yearly air conditioning service visit.
5. Batteries Needed in Thermostat. The vast majority of thermostats have batteries in them, and often, when the air conditioner is not switching on when it should, it could be as simple as changing the batteries in the thermostat.
Yearly Air Conditioning Service Helps Prevent Costly Repairs and Warranty Issues
It’s important to know that a fair amount of problems with an air conditioner will depend on the age of the system. In general, if a system is more than ten years old and has been requiring repairs more often, it could be nearing the end of its life.
If your air conditioner is still within the warranty period, you should have a professional technician check it out yearly to avoid issues on a major warranty claim. For example, if the unit failed and you needed full replacement under warranty, you would be required to show that the air conditioner wasn’t neglected. A paper trail of regular maintenance by a technician, as well as a log of homeowner maintenance, will ensure you receive coverage under warranty.
Whether your air conditioner is under warranty or not, we always recommend yearly maintenance to prevent costly repairs when you least expect it.