Maintaining and servicing your AC regularly can help prevent and detect trouble, but your unit is bound to develop problems with constant use. Most AC hassles stem from electrical issues, clogs, or leaks. Call your HVAC technician immediately if your unit is losing its cool.
Air Conditioner Parts That Are Prone To Break
Your AC has dozens of electrical components. Malfunction in one part can make your unit run inefficiently or not at all. All these items are subject to wear and tear:
Capacitors are like batteries for your air conditioner. They help power the compressor, blower motor and fans. The AC uses two types: start capacitors and run capacitors. These need to be replaced regularly.
The contactor is like a switch that sends power to the compressor and condenser fan and turns the unit on and off. This part will fail eventually, either mechanically or electrically.
The compressor is the most expensive and hardworking component of your AC unit. It often fails due to dirty coils or blocked refrigerant lines that cause the system to overwork itself.
The thermostat gauges the temperature and guides the AC on when to turn on and off. Dead batteries, a blown fuse, or a tripped breaker can cause this part to malfunction. Disruptions with other parts can hinder the thermostat’s operation as well.
When drain lines get clogged, extensive damage to the AC unit can result. Clogged lines can lead to:
- Drain pans overflowing
- Growth of algae or mold that affects your air quality
- Malfunction of sensors on some AC units
Air filters aren’t electrical, but these “lungs” of your AC help clean the air that flows within your space. If the filters hold too much dust, your unit must work harder to keep your home cool. You should change your filter at least every three months.
How To Diagnose AC Problems
Your air conditioner usually shows signs that it needs attention. It’s best to call a professional to diagnose your unit. Ideally, you should consult more than one company to compare pricing quotes. If you see these issues, have someone check your system.
- The back of your AC unit is too hot.
- Your air doesn’t get cold enough.
- More dust collects near the air vents.
- Your electricity bill has gone up substantially.
- You have more allergy attacks.
- The air isn’t cooling or heating with the fan running normally.
- The unit struggles to turn on but only hums and shuts down soon after.
- The capacitor is leaking.
- The capacitor is making a clicking sound from within the cabinet.
- The condenser unit won’t shut off even if the thermostat is off.
- The contactor makes loud buzzing noises.
- The contactor is burned.
Repairing AC Issues Versus Replacing Your AC Unit
In most cases, you can have your AC repaired quickly and affordably. However, if your compressor breaks down, it will be cheaper to replace your entire unit. Changing out a compressor is not typically worth the high cost and extremely limited warranty. Replacing a capacitor or contactor is easy and inexpensive, but it is a high voltage hazard. Please let a trained professional handle this task.
The EPA recommends having your system evaluated by an EPA-certified technician if it is older than 10 years old and not working correctly. If your unit needs upgrading, choose one that has the ENERGY STAR label to conserve energy and save money. Before investing in a new unit, though, be sure to check and fix any leaks in your home and duct system.