5 Common Reasons for AC Breakdowns in Summer
When the soaring temperatures of summer send you inside in search of relief, you need to know that your AC unit can deliver. But like any piece of machinery, your air conditioner can fail. And chances are it’s not going to crap out during the winter – you’re much more likely to experience a breakdown during the hottest part of the year, when you rely on it to help you beat the heat. That said, there are plenty of ways to prevent breakdowns when you understand common causes for AC failure. Here are just a few reasons why your AC could go out during the summer.
- Lack of maintenance. An air conditioning unit is a complex piece of machinery comprised of many electrical components working in concert to cool your home interior. When you fail to properly maintain your unit, breakdowns are inevitable. You should therefore have your unit serviced by a qualified and experienced technician annually, including an inspection, cleaning, and any necessary repairs. You too should become familiar with your unit so that you can change filters, clear away debris, and take care of other maintenance throughout the year between service calls.
- Low refrigerant. Whether you’re experiencing a refrigerant leak or your supply simply deteriorates slowly over time until your unit no longer meets manufacturer standards, the end result can be performance failure. Your AC might not break down completely, but when you crank up the thermostat and tepid air issues forth, you know something is wrong. Luckily, your HVAC technician can pinpoint and fix leaks, as well as restock your refrigerant to make sure your levels are correct.
- Debris clogging your unit. This can be a major problem during the summer, especially if you live in a windy area or you have a lot of debris around your outdoor AC unit. Trees, shrubs, and even animals like outdoor dogs that shed a lot can cause the filter, the coils, and other components of your AC system to become clogged, thus compromising performance or even leading to a complete breakdown. But this is generally an easily solved problem. All you have to do in most cases is unplug your unit, remove the housing, and clean away any dirt, dust, and debris that has gathered. You can even practice preventive maintenance by trimming back offending foliage, keeping animals groomed, and perhaps even erecting a shelter of some sort to keep debris away from your unit.
- Parts failure. There are any number of reasons why parts might fail. Simple wear and tear could be to blame. Or parts might become overtaxed if your AC unit isn’t appropriately sized for your square footage. You might suffer damage from debris or animals in the housing. Whatever the case may be, it’s a good idea to call in professional help as soon as you notice a problem.
- Improper usage. It’s truly surprising how many people suffer breakdowns due to user error. For example, you definitely don’t want to leave windows and doors open when you have the AC on. Aside from the money you’ll waste sending your cool air outside, this can definitely tax your system and lead to failure. And if you have programmable thermostats and zoning in your home, you’re shooting yourself in the foot by failing to use them. If you’re not sure how to use your AC components appropriately, read directions or ask your HVAC technician to teach you.