As we approach the hottest part of the year in Lehi and other parts of Utah, many homeowners are naturally focused on their air conditioner and related components. From basic inspections up through simple maintenance and perhaps even minor seasonal repairs, homeowners and their trusted HVAC specialists will spend the early spring and summer periods looking to prevent issues with the air conditioner over the hot summer, including AC failure.
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to offer numerous air conditioning tune-ups, air conditioning repairs and other services to keep your home cooled and comfortable throughout the year, including AC replacements when necessary. However, there are also steps you can take on a day-to-day basis to reduce the chances of any kind of AC issue, including AC failure – and many of these relate to simply understanding what causes air conditioner failure in the first place. Here are some of the most common causes, some tips on how they can be prevented, and also some expertise on what to do if you notice any of these concerns taking place.
The substance that actually provides cooling to your home from the AC unit is known as refrigerant, and it’s one of the most important components of the system. It allows for your AC to remove hotter air and humidity from a given room, then expel it from the outdoor unit.
However, there are some cases where, usually due to wear-and-tear over time, your AC’s refrigerant is leaking, often from the condenser coil. Not only is this a problem for the efficiency of your system, refrigerant is harmful to the environment and will increase your carbon footprint if it’s leaking. And due to these environmental risks, a licensed HVAC technician must be the one repairing any refrigerant leaks.
However, this is one area that drives home the importance of regular HVAC maintenance. Refrigerant level is something our HVAC technicians will check for you during a standard seasonal inspection, and they’ll also check for any leak risks or poor connections that might create losses of refrigerant. If you have your AC serviced each spring by our team, your risk of these kinds of issues is virtually nonexistent.
Another possible issue that will cause the AC to fail is when its condenser coil fails. You will usually be able to see this issue specifically, as the coil is visible on the outdoor AC unit and will be noticeably frozen around its exterior. When this happens, refrigerant that needs to pass through the coil will be unable to do so, and the system will not cool properly.
The primary culprit in frozen coils: Air filters that aren’t changed often enough, and related issues of dirty ducts. These issues lead to problems with air flow, which in turn causes the frozen coil and stops the AC from working. For this reason, changing HVAC filters regularly – at least as often as recommended by their manufacturer – is the right move throughout the year.
Another area you should be checking early on if your AC fails is the connected circuit breaker and fuse associated with this item. Most air conditioners will have their own dedicated circuit, and it’s possible there’s been a short or some other electrical issue that simply requires you to reset the breaker. In these cases, do this and then give the system 15 minutes to cool down.
If this doesn’t solve your issue, however, you may have tripped a high-pressure limit switch – or there might be something else going on. At this point, it’s time to call in our team for assistance, which may also involve the help of an electrician if there are circuitry issues.
If your air conditioner unit is more than five years old and performance issues aren’t due to anything else we’ve already been over here, the issue could be one of the components inside the system wearing down. These components include fan blades, the AC compressor, AC pads, electrical connections and many others. One sign of this kind of damage will frequently be a system that cycles on and off too frequently, a phenomenon known as short cycling.
Again, this issue crystallizes the importance of regular HVAC maintenance. Our inspections will catch worn-down parts or components, allowing us to repair them in a low-stress setting before they fail and require emergency repair in the middle of the night.
Another possible issue that might be taking place if your system is short cycling regularly: Thermostat problems, whether they’re in the form of connection issues or an aging, worn-down thermostat itself. If you’re still using an older manual thermostat and you’re having these issues, we strongly recommend an upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat – not only are these modern forms of thermostat technology that make your life simpler and more convenient, they will also reduce any concerns with sending signals to your AC unit and causing failure.
As we’ve noted several times so far to this point, many of the issues that lead to AC failure can be prevented with simple, yearly HVAC maintenance. This should be done twice a year: During the spring and during the fall, the two transitional periods for home heating and air systems. For a very low cost, our techs will come in and perform a full inspection that will pick up many of the issues we’ve gone over to this point well before they become major concerns, allowing for low-cost or even no-cost repairs in many cases.
For more on dealing with AC failure and its common causes, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services in Lehi, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.