No one wants to end up in a situation where their air conditioning simply stops working in the middle of the summer. If you don’t keep up with A/C maintenance, however, this is a pretty likely scenario. While most air conditioning units from Bradley Mechanical heating and air service are built to last for years, they still need to be looked after and treated with care in order to stay working at a high level each summer. Otherwise, you could be looking at massively increased air conditioning costs due to purchasing a new unit during peak levels of demand. But how can you tell whether your air conditioner has failed or simply needs a tune-up? Usually, you can tell when your unit turns off and won’t turn back on again no matter how much troubleshooting or self-diagnosing you do. This is a situation most homeowners are keen to avoid, which means that knowing the signs and symptoms of air conditioning system failure is an absolute must. If your AC unit is having trouble starting up, here are a few issues you might be looking at.
Bad Breaker or Blown Fuse
Many air conditioning problems can be traced back to basic electrical issues. If you live in an older home with an electrical system that hasn’t been updated in a while, your A/C could be shutting down in response to a basic tripped circuit or a blown fuse. While switching your circuit back on is pretty easy to do after a power failure, it might be more complicated to fix if you’ve blown a fuse. Generally, technicians suggest that you give the machine at least 15 minutes to power down before restarting your breaker after replacing or resetting a blown fuse. If this doesn’t do the trick, you might be dealing with a bigger problem that only a trained electrician can solve. Rather than messing around with exposed wires, call your local technician to take a look at your system as soon as possible.
Damaged Internal Parts
A brand new air conditioner should last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. The better maintained your machine is, the longer its lifespan is likely to be. However, from time to time you will run into issues with factory models that have built with faulty parts that break prematurely. Other times, your unit will have a damaged part due to lack of maintenance or another issue such as improper installation or something that happened during transit. Whatever the cause, you’ll most likely know when you’re dealing with a broken coil, fan, or compressor. If you’re hearing a high-pitched squeal, a hissing sound, or any sound that isn’t usual, you’re probably looking at a broken or damaged part. If your machine is more than 5 years old, you’re more likely to experience damaged fan blades or a broken compressor. Whatever you do, don’t try to use your AC or fix the issue yourself. If you hear a troubling sound, turn off your machine and call a technician.
A Frozen Coil
When everything is working smoothly with your machine, your coil will absorb heat from the inside to help cool the space and create a steady flow of cold air. However, something as simple as forgetting to clean out the air filter regularly or checking the ducts for blockage can create a whole set of problems with your condenser coil, causing it to freeze up. When your coil is obstructed or doesn’t get enough access to air, it can freeze over and start dripping, causing a small amount of flooding and decreased performance. You may at first notice that your machine is having to work a bit harder to cool your space less efficiently. At a certain point, your machine will fail altogether, making it essential that you take care of any issues with your condenser coil before it gets to that point.
Lack of Maintenance
In general, a lot of AC issues can be traced back to a lack of weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance. While your unit might seem like a totally self-sufficient machine, you do need to take care of it in order for it to do its job and last as long as possible. That means cleaning your air filter regularly, checking the outside of your machine for dirt, branches, and other obstructions, and scheduling a basic maintenance appointment each year, ideally before summer hits, so that a skilled technician can alert you to any potential issues. If you don’t pay attention to your AC and fail to do any kind of cleaning or maintenance, you’re much more likely to deal with a total failure or a serious problem that causes you to totally replace your unit.