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Keeping Your Cooling – Stopping Air Conditioner Breakdowns

Keeping Your Cooling - Stopping Air Conditioner Breakdowns

Air conditioners cool homes on hot days. But problems can occur when they break down if not cared for. Many issues can be stopped cheaply with simple DIY steps. Other problems need pro fixers called HVAC technicians. Learn to spot normal wear versus serious breakdown warnings. Protect your cool air machine from working right when you need relief from the heat.

Inside Issues Ruining Cooling Units

Several typical problems starting inside air conditioners wear parts sooner. Catching minor issues early keeps small repairs from becoming big replacements later.

Blocked Air Filters

Air conditioners pull in air and blow cooled air out, but dust and dirt also come in. Special filters catch gunk to keep it from filthy coils. Filters filled up act like a hand, blocking airflow. Less air lowers cooling power. Plus, overworked units fail sooner. Check and swap out dirty, clogged filters every month or two.

Too Little Refrigerant

An invisible liquid called refrigerant makes indoor air cold by removing heat outside. Tiny leaks or past repairs drain away refrigerant over the years. Low amounts make the pump work harder, wearing out faster. Reuse discarded refrigerant or add new fluid to keep it full and running efficiently.

Frozen Indoor Coils

Dust on coils makes air stick instead of glide past. Stuck air freezes solid on coils, blocking airflow. Besides little cooling, frozen coils crack leaking costly refrigerant fluid. Clean dirty coils twice a year so air flows freely.

Faulty Electrical Parts

Bulky capacitors, fuses, wiring, circuits, and contactors route electricity, operating the machine properly. But worn electrical bits cause startup troubles or halfway chilling. Replace old electrical bits so good power flows and smooth cooling all day.

Bad Installation Placing Strain

Improper installation twists up the framework, kinks tubing, and stresses moving joints. Units work harder, dragging out their lifespan. Verify the correct level, support, and clearances so nothing strains mechanicals before calling for possibly pricey but important fixes.

Outside Problems Hurting Cooling Equipment

Hot weather itself brings threats from beyond damaging vulnerable air conditioning components. Stay alert to signs of harm from external environmental factors.

Weather Extremes Fading Life

Most concerning, intense heat waves strain limited cooling capacity, accelerating wear on parts enduring scorching temperatures. Extended hot spells degrade exterior bits faster, too. Blustery cold also penetrates seals, damaging interiors. Weather extremes devour lifespans, so stay vigilant after brutal seasons.

Baking Hot Sun Beating Down Daily

Relentless direct sunlight bakes poorly shaded outdoor air conditioner sections. Prolonged exposure to UV rays and heat deteriorates plastic fixtures and insulation wrappers—strategic shade via trees, shrubs or shades limits damage from old sol’s harsh rays.

Flying Debris and Dirt Gathering

Outdoor units get bombarded by blowing sticks, leaves, grit and grime. Airborne crud clogs vital intakes and gathers on parts. Carefully remove collected debris around the exterior whenever spotted. Install fence-like guards to halt airborne attacks.

Spiky Power Surges Zapping Parts

Voltage spikes from grid fluctuations or nearby lightning strikes and electronics trigger failures. Surges blast compressor parts and delicate circuit boards. To prevent sudden zappy death, add whole-home surge protectors or install surge-stopping plug strips just for your cooling equipment.

Direct Lightning Strikes to Condenser

While rare, an air conditioner hit by lightning faces catastrophic destruction from tons of power crashing onto parts never designed for a bolt blast. Direct terminal strikes devastate compressors and electronics, necessitating full replacements.

Seeing Early Warnings of Developing Damage

Catching small issues early keeps repairs cheap and units lasting years longer. Watch for subtle clues of brewing air conditioner damage like:

Weakening Cooling Abilities

If your AC runs nearly nonstop but rooms stay warmer than usual, lowered cooling power indicates wearing parts are struggling. Have pros test output to diagnose issues before full failure shutdown.

Unfamiliar Humming, Buzzing or Popping

Weird new mechanical sounds differ from normal operating background noise. Odd vibrations signal emerging blower motor or compressor concerns needing affordable tune-ups.

Water Dripping from Indoor Sections

Condensed water from chilled coils normally flows outside through a drainage line. Interior dripping points to obstructed drain lines or cracked containment, developing mold and water damage threats.

Electric Bills Spiking Higher

If your cooling costs rise without lifestyle or seasonal changes, suspect a wider issue lowering efficiency. Scan utility provider tips to determine the next troubleshooting steps before expenses soar further.

Burning Smells and Odors

Unusual smelly emissions, like burning plastic or odd gas fumes, expose motor overheating and dangerous system leaks, requiring an urgent response before quitting.

Keeping Units Chugging for Years

Stay proactive with preventative maintenance to achieve the longest operation without breakdowns or expensive emergency fixes.

Schedule Seasonal Maintenance Checks

Technicians inspect ducts, coils, fluids, motors, and parts to spot deterioration. Diagnosing minor issues keeps small costs from ballooning into the system, jeopardizing repairs later.

Swap Air Filters Before Overloading

Clogged particulate catchers quickly cause systems to fail. To ensure healthy operation, mark calendars for replacing filters monthly before breathability drops drastically.

Clear Away Exterior Debris and Grime

Carefully remove dirt, leaves, grass clippings, and debris surrounding the housing. Check nothing blocks air intake and discharge vents. Keep outdoor units debris-free.

Allow Proper Airflow Clearance

Only install units with sufficient side, top, and rear clearance gaps. Cramming systems against walls or fences chokes airflow. Ensure inches of space for ventilation.

Add Power Surge Protection

Install whole home or dedicated AC circuit surge protectors. Prevent voltage spikes from wrecking components by diverting excess power safely away. Avert frying your cooling lifeline.

Guard costly cooling equipment from premature breakdowns with vigilance spotting early distress signals. Tackle easy do-it-yourself steps boosting operation daily. Rely on professional technicians to solve complex issues and optimize performance year after year when beating heat matters most.

Watch for blocked airflow from dirty filters or debris buildup. Notice if rooms feel hotter lately, which signals lower cooling power. Listen for odd grinding or buzzing noises indicating motor concerns. Smell odd burning or gas fumes requiring an urgent response. Stop small problems before big breakdowns.

Shield outdoor units from the blinding sun and extreme weather, wearing down parts faster. Carefully clean accumulated dirt and leaves away from the noisy fan section so air flows free. Handle simple steps like these so future summer cooling remains affordable. Pitch in minimal monitoring and maintenance. Then, enjoy more relaxed, drier comfort on brutal heat wave days without breaking the bank on utility bills or repair costs. Staying on top of small stuff keeps relief pumping strong all season when temperatures outside feel beastly.

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