4 Common Air Conditioner Problems and How to Avoid Them

ac condenser

An air conditioner is a must-have to get through a Baltimore summer, so it’s essential that you know how to prevent common problems with your AC unit. Below, we’ll cover four AC issues that we encounter the most and provide some pro tips for how you can avoid them!

1. Weak Airflow or Reduced Cooling Power

As air conditioners age, they gradually lose their efficiency. Once they get close to the 15-year mark, you’ll probably notice that your energy bills are a bit higher, and your AC might not cool your home as effectively as it once did.

However, if you’re noticing cooling issues with your newer air conditioner, like weak airflow or hot and cold spots around the house, it’s time for some investigation.

How to Prevent this Problem: First and foremost, make sure you are replacing your air filter as often as your AC needs you to. Even though most manufacturers say their air filters last up to 90 days, make it a habit to check on yours after 45, 60, and 75 days as well. Remember, the more you use your AC, the faster the filter will get dirty.

Next, thoroughly check each room in your home for any blocked vents. Now make sure all of those vents are open. Your AC system needs to take in as much air as it sends out: when you close vents in an attempt to control the temperature in specific rooms, you actually create a pressure imbalance in the system that can lead to efficiency problems.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to schedule annual preventative maintenance for your air conditioner. Routine maintenance helps your system stay in tip-top shape for as long as possible and reduces the chance of a breakdown.

2.Leaking or Flooding from the Drain Pan Into Your Home

While cooling your home’s air, your air conditioner also dehumidifies it. The moisture (condensate) that your AC draws out of your air collects in a drain pan, and from there, the condensate exits your home through a pipe called the condensate drain line.

Dust, mold, mildew, algae, and other grime can sometimes clog this drain line. When that happens, the water is blocked from leaving your home, so it will start to fill up your drain pan. Unless something clears the drain line, the water will flood over the sides of the drain pan and leak into your home.

How to Prevent this Problem: You can routinely clean the drain line yourself or even flush it if necessary. If you already have a technician coming out to perform a spring tune-up on your AC every year, then they will take care of this for you.

It’s also important to recognize that newer AC units are a lot more efficient than old ones, so they can extract a lot more moisture than an older unit. When installing a new unit, check with your HVAC contractor to see if your current drain line is adequate.

3. Fan Issues

Your fan is a critical component in your air conditioner. It keeps air moving through the entire system, not only pushing cold air into your home but also preventing problems in your AC that result from lack of airflow.

When your fan isn’t working properly, you could end up with overheating components, a frozen evaporator coil (which we’ll get into below), or compressor failure. A compressor failure means no cool air, and it is costly to replace.

How to Prevent this Problem: The best way to avoid a fan problem is annual preventative maintenance. During the appointment, the technician will have the opportunity to spot issues with the motor or point out other problems to you, such as a worn belt, a build-up of dirt and debris, or a lack of lubrication.

Throughout the year, you can also prevent fan issues by listening for any strange noises coming from your air conditioner so that you can call for a repair before extensive damage is done.

4. Frozen Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is located inside your air conditioner’s indoor unit. Refrigerant travels through the evaporator coil, where it absorbs the heat from your indoor air, “cooling” it. The coil also draws out moisture from the air, so it collects condensate that drips down into a drain pan.

If your air filter gets too dirty, or if your AC has a blower fan problem, this can prevent adequate airflow from blowing over the evaporator coil. Without enough warm air blowing over the coil, the condensate can freeze on the metal, reducing the coil’s ability to cool your indoor air. Frozen coils can also result from low refrigerant levels or a thick layer of dust coating the coil.

How to Prevent this Problem: The most important thing you need to do is replace your AC’s air filter regularly so that it doesn’t block airflow into your system. The next most important thing is to keep up with your system’s preventative maintenance. During the appointment, the technician will check the refrigerant levels and provide the system components with the cleaning and lubrication they need to function properly.

At Albright's Mechanical Services, our Baltimore HVAC experts are here for all of your air conditioning needs. Contact us online or call us today at (410) 834-0148!

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