Our air conditioners are the unsung heroes during the summertime months; when they are functioning properly we tend to take them for granted. They actually perform two important functions. The most obvious one is that they keep you and your family comfortable. Less obviously, they control the level of humidity in your home, which reduces the possibility of harmful mold and mildew.
Today’s units tend to be more sophisticated and energy-efficient than older ones. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t have their problems.
The best time to look for any existing problems is during the spring before the summer kicks in. Whether you notice any obvious problems or not, it is always a good idea to have your HVAC professional perform a diagnostic checkup and perform any maintenance needed. Let’s look at some of the more common air conditioner problems that you might notice.
Electrical and Control Problems
When you first turn on your air conditioner after the need for the heater is over, you may notice that your unit cycles on and off too often. The trouble often lies with your thermostat, so the first step in many cases is to troubleshoot and calibrate the thermostat. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may have a refrigerant leak in which case you need to call a licensed HVAC professional.
If your air conditioner unit won’t come on at all, the problem is often a circuit breaker. There is one in your circuit breaker box and one near the unit outside.
If your unit is running, but not cooling, you may have a thermostat issue. If you find that not to be the case, you may have a stalled condenser coil. This is the component that produces the cold air and its fan will run even under stalled condenser conditions. Another possibility, especially in older units that haven’t been serviced in a while, is low refrigerant.
You may notice the unit running in a normal manner, but it is very little to no air coming out of the vents. A common problem in this situation is holes or rips in the ducts. Another clue is when you see an unusual amount of dust coming out of your vents.
Some types of noise are common, but others are not; for example, when you first start up your unit, listen carefully in all areas of your home. If you have a new unit and it just doesn’t sound right, such as an uncommon vibration, the installation may have been done wrong and you will need the contractor to take a look at it.
In most cases, homeowners have had their units for a while and will recall what “normal” noise sounds like. If you hear anything different, it is time to call for professional help. A squealing noise may indicate a problem with your air handler. If yours is belt-driven rather than direct-driven, it is probably the belt slipping.
The time to look for common air conditioner problems is before summer, not later when a malfunction will potentially cause you and your family much discomfort while waiting for repairs to be completed. R&D Indoor Comfort has been providing diagnostic and repair services for our Lexington area neighbors for over 50 years. We would be happy to do the same for you. Please contact us at your convenience to schedule an appointment.