As a homeowner, it can be challenging to keep up with what your central air conditioner needs. If your system seems to be malfunctioning, you should familiarize yourself with the most common reasons for problems before contacting a technician so that you know what kind of a repair to expect. Here are some of the most frequent air conditioner failures and issues that you might be dealing with.
Compressor Fan Failures
The exterior compressor that controls your central air has a built-in fan that drives the cooled air from the compressor to the air duct system in your house. If the fan is bound up or not running at all, you'll either get poor airflow or no airflow at all. Depending on what the problem is, the air may not even be passing over the coils sufficiently enough to cool them, leading to warmer air in your home than what you should have.
While these are inconvenient issues, there are bigger problems associated with damaged or broken compressor fans. For example, the malfunction may cause the fan to overheat. It could also potentially cause the air conditioning unit to shut down due to the safety override. In severe cases, the overheating fan may even trigger an appliance fire.
Condenser Coil Freezing
When you think about your air conditioner, you think about weather and heat. That's why so many people don't often think about the risk associated with their air conditioner's condenser coils freezing up. The air conditioning system relies on a certain volume of airflow. When the air isn't passing over the coils at a sufficient rate, the refrigerant running through those coils can cause frost to build up on the outside of them. That's because the coils draw heat from the air passing over them, and as they do, it cools the air and keeps the coils from frosting up. When they do freeze, it keeps the system from cycling air the way that it should, which leaves your house warmer than you'll probably want it.
The refrigerant in the system is what helps to draw heat out of the air that passes through your central air conditioner. Each central air system has a volume requirement for the refrigerant in order for it to work at optimal levels. Unfortunately, sometimes air conditioners can actually leak refrigerant into the air, often if there's a seal that's damaged or a hole in a refrigerant line. Your HVAC technician will test the refrigerant levels during every service appointment, and if the pressure levels drop, that's an indication that the unit is leaking. He or she will identify the source of the leak, patch it, and then recharge the unit so that it functions properly.