Houston Heating, Cooling, and Electrical

What Are Some Common AC Repair Issues?

What are some of the most common AC repair issues?

Your home’s air conditioner is likely the most complex machine in the house, and one of the hardest working. With so many components to maintain, the occasional fix will be needed, but experienced AC technicians can efficiently handle the common issues, which may include:

  • Reduced airflow from the air conditioner
  • Reduced cooling output
  • Rapid on and off cycling
  • Problems with the blower motor
  • Clogs, dirty coils or frozen coils
  • Noticeable leaks or off-putting smells

Almost all of these issues can be avoided with regular maintenance and the occasional inspection, which is why many homeowners opt for a maintenance plan through a trusted AC company. Doing so ensures that small problems don’t become big problems.

When is it time to call an AC repair technician?

There may be a problem, though, that requires a fix now. Some of those common issues may include:

Your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant

If the AC’s refrigerant level drops, its ability to cool will also suffer. In the majority of cases, when there isn’t enough refrigerant in the system, that’s because there’s a leak somewhere. It could also indicate that your air conditioner wasn’t adequately charged when it was installed. In either case, an AC technician will need to handle the refrigerant, for environmental and safety reasons.

Your air conditioner’s evaporator coils are freezing up

Frozen AC coils are among the common reasons for poor cooling. The coils contain refrigerant and are responsible for cooling air that comes in through the intake fan. If the coils freeze, ice can build up and block air from efficiently passing over them.

Fortunately, a frozen coil is usually a simple fix, as it’s often caused by a dirty air filter or a lack of refrigerant. In some instances, though, frozen evaporator coils are caused by malfunctioning evaporator or compressor components.

Your air conditioner cycles on and off constantly

Known as “short cycling,” when an AC starts and stops rapidly, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong, though the exact issue may be difficult to pinpoint.

It could indicate a malfunctioning thermostat, it could be a leak, or it could be as simple as a dirty air filter. It could also mean that your air conditioner is too large for your home, which means it is cooling the house too fast. That may sound like a bonus, but it’s not. If the air conditioner cools the building too rapidly, it will not remove enough humidity to keep people comfortable and it will waste power. A technician can verify whether your air conditioner is sized properly or not.

Your air conditioner’s blower motor won’t start

The blower motor is responsible for pushing air through the system, so if it won’t start, neither will your air conditioner. When this problem does emerge, it could be something small like a tripped breaker (though that could indicate a faulty breaker). It could also be a problem with a drain line or with the AC’s wiring, which require expertise to handle.

Your air conditioner’s drainage is clogged

In hot, humid climates like Houston, the air conditioner has to work extra hard to keep the home cool. During the summer, when the AC is pressed the hardest, drain line clogs are common. If a clog is present, there may also be water damage or a musty smell present.

Clogs occur when the evaporator coils capture dust and other particles when condensing humidity out of the air. This debris builds up in the drainpipe and can allow mold to grow inside, resulting in a stubborn clog. AC technicians can remove these clogs easily.

What basic maintenance can homeowners do on their own?

Opening up your compressor or evaporator is dangerous for people who don’t have the proper training. There are electrical and mechanical hazards to consider, and it’s easy to cause additional damage, which would likely void any manufacturer or repair warranty. That said, there are simple AC maintenance tasks that homeowners can perform safely. They include:

Checking and replacing the AC filter

One of the most common reasons for air conditioner problems, a clogged AC filter reduces airflow into the system. Every part of the air conditioner relies on this steady flow to function, so regular filter replacement is a must.

Clearing space around the compressor

The compressor sits outside and needs some room to ensure sufficient airflow. To do this, clear away any plants or objects that are within a few feet of the compressor and keep any overhanging trees several feet away.

Keeping the AC registers free from blockage

The registers inside the home can also interfere with airflow if they aren’t occasionally cleaned. Wipe away any dust and make sure no furniture is in the way and blocking air flow.

There’s a lot going on inside your air conditioner, so when an issue emerges, it’s not always obvious what the cause is. If basic maintenance isn’t solving the problem, an experienced AC technician can provide a closer look and the needed expertise to get your home cool once again.


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