Why Does My Air Conditioner Keep Breaking?
Common Air Conditioning Problems and Their Causes
With the heat of summer upon us, there’s no better relief than the cool breeze of an air conditioner. However, that chilly relief can quickly disappear due to several common air conditioner problems. Air conditioners are complex machines that can suffer from various issues due to lack of maintenance, age or damage. Here are some examples of the most common problems that air conditioners can suffer from to help you get out of the heat and into the cool once again.
Dirty Air Filter
Air conditioners work by taking hot air from the room, expelling it outside and circulating in cool air. However, a dirty air filter can easily cause the air flow to decrease. Low air flow means it takes much longer for the room to cool down, which wastes energy and puts unnecessary wear and tear on the unit.
The filter should always be checked and cleaned at the beginning and end of the season to ensure that it’s always fairly clean. It’s also a good idea to check the filter at least once a month to see if there is significant buildup. If there is, a quick vacuuming or rinsing it in the bathtub will make it as good as new.
Wiring issues are actually fairly easy to detect in units with digital control panels. If the display doesn’t activate at all or shows errors, there’s likely a wiring issue present. If the panel lights up and shows no errors, it could still possibly be a wiring issue, but the chances are low. Another sign of failing wiring is if the unit turns off randomly or has difficulty turning on.
Wiring issues typically occur over time due to accidental damage, wear and tear and possibly animals. It’s always best to consult a professional when diagnosing and repairing wiring problems.
Possibly the most important aspect of your air conditioner is the refrigerant. It is a chemical substance that cools down the air that enters the room. Without it, your air conditioner is really nothing more than a big fan. If your air conditioner is not blowing cool air and the filter is clean, it may indicate that the unit is low on refrigerant and possibly leaking.
Refrigerant can be replaced fairly easily, but it generally shouldn’t need to be refilled unless it wasn’t properly filled to begin with. A professional can check for and repair any leaks in the unit for you.
Air conditioners also act as dehumidifiers, which means they need to be able to drain all of the water that they remove from the air. That is why it is suggested that air conditioners be installed at a downward angle to ensure that the excess water can merely drip off of the back of the unit. Some bigger units may have a separate drainage hose to help remove the water. Drainage issues can cause the unit to suddenly shut off and it may also cause corrosion and damage to internal parts.
Drainage problems are also fairly easy to diagnose as they typically cause a noticeable tapping or dripping noise when the unit is active. Some units also have an indicator on the front that can tell you when there’s a problem with the drainage system. Luckily, it’s also fairly simple to fix most drainage issues. Repositioning the unit to point downwards can help drain the water. You can use a small piece of wood to help raise the front end if necessary. You can also carefully drill some holes in the bottom of the unit to help it drain. Keep in mind that this will likely void your warranty. In addition, ensure that you drill in areas that are open and away from important mechanical parts. For a drainage hose, remove the hose and ensure that there are no obstructions such as leaves, grime or even small animals. Ensure that the hose is properly installed as well.
Like any machine, air conditioners are vulnerable to damage, wear and tear, lack of maintenance and more. Luckily, most of these problems are not irreparable. With a keen eye, some simple maintenance and perhaps the help of a professional, you can get your air conditioner back in proper working order to help beat the summer heat.