When your air conditioning unit is unable to perform efficiently, or you notice a change in the cooling comfort in your space, it may be time to reach out to a professional HVAC company. How Stuff Works outlines the main causes for air conditioner failures below:
An air conditioner’s job is to get rid of the heat inside your home and bring in cool air, with the help of a chemical called refrigerant. AC systems have basically five components:
- Evaporator coil (cools the air)
- Compressor (electric pump)
- Condenser coil (transfers heat)
- Expansion device
Air conditioning units have two parts: one inside your home and one outside of it. A fan in the inside unit blows air through the chilled evaporator coil, cooling your house, via air ducts. Meanwhile, outside, the compressor, condenser coil, and another fan vent the hot air coming off the refrigerant. The expansion valve regulates the amount of refrigerant moving between the evaporator and condenser coils.
Any of these components can experience mechanical failure. If the motor on your fan is not working, the outdoor unit can’t get rid of the heat. If your compressor is damaged, the refrigerant can’t circulate between the inside and outside units
Replacing some of these parts is very expensive (particularly the compressor) and may not be much cheaper than replacing the whole unit. Having a trained technician give your unit a yearly checkup should prevent premature mechanical failure.
Clogged Air Filter
A clogged filter hinders the flow of air through the unit, reducing its efficiency and making it tougher to cool your house. Consumer Reports recommends that filters on central air conditioning units be changed once a month, especially if you have the air conditioning running constantly, or have pets who shed fur.
A service technician uses gauges, a recovery pump and a tank to remove refrigerant from a residential air conditioning system in preparation for servicing.
Inside your warm house, cold liquid refrigerant evaporates on the evaporator coil, turning into gas. The hot refrigerant gas is then pumped outside into your system’s condenser, where it transfers the heat to the outside air and reverts into a liquid again and the cycle continues [source: DOE].
As you can imagine, if the refrigerant is low, the air conditioner won’t cool very well. The amount of the refrigerant in the unit must exactly match the manufacturer’s specifications.
There are two reasons why you would have a low level of refrigerant. One is that when the system was installed, not enough was added. But more likely, the level is low because your system has developed a leak.
Leaks are the cause of 90 percent of the cases of low refrigerant. So, simply adding more refrigerant isn’t going to fix things. Bring in a trained technician to find the leak and fix it. After the repair is tested, the technician can charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant and your system should be set.
Nearly all current AC systems use halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), aka R-22 or freon, as a refrigerant but these are being phased out for environmental reasons. Between 2020 and 2030, ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are expected to become the norm [source: DOE].
The Outdoor Condenser Unit is Blocked
Careless outdoor landscaping and/or neglect of lawn care may be another reason that your house is so hot.
If the condenser coil is covered with dirt or leaves, the heat transfer is impeded and the unit has to work a lot harder to do any cooling, leading to possible system failure.
Consumer Reports recommends allowing 2 to 3 feet (60 to 91 centimeters) of space between the unit and any plants or backyard structures, and 5 feet (1.5 meters) between the top of the unit and any trees that hang over it.
Houston AC Repair
When it’s time to have your HVAC system serviced, you will want to choose a reliable company that has an established reputation in the communities it serves and positive online reviews. Anyone you let service your system should be licensed and insured, as well as have accreditations. These qualifications can help to ensure you get the highest quality services for your air conditioner.
At Absolute A/C & Heating, we have over 30 years of experience serving our clients. We have a track record of satisfaction, are insured and licensed, as well as accredited. We provide affordable AC maintenance in Houston and its surrounding communities. These services are critical to help you get the best cooling quality from your AC unit and to increase its lifespan. Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide and to schedule an appointment with our team.