A worn down fan belt, a breach in ductwork, a dirty evaporator coil—these all have something in common. They are typical problems for an air conditioner to experience. And, they’re all issues that you can usually prevent altogether, so long as you stay on top of routine professional maintenance. In fact, professional maintenance can help prevent about 85% of the repair needs your air conditioner would ever need throughout its lifespan!
However, what about unexpected or uncommon air conditioner problems? Issues that you should never have to deal with or that are so rare you don’t hear about them very much? They do happen, and it’s wise to be aware of what they are so that if you are impacted, you won’t be caught off guard, and you’ll know to call our pros for service right away.
High Refrigerant Charge
A refrigerant’s “charge” is its level within your air conditioner. This fluid is tasked with allowing the cooling process to occur. Refrigerant is a heat transference fluid that goes through the process of evaporation and condensation to enable heat to move from inside your home to the outdoors.
When your air conditioner is installed, it is supplied with a set amount of refrigerant already within it. This isn’t a fluid that “runs out,” like gasoline from a vehicle. Instead, it is recycled throughout the system and throughout that system’s lifespan. If at any time you’re losing refrigerant, it means there is a leak that must be professionally repaired. But what if there’s too much refrigerant to begin with—too high of a refrigerant charge?
Though this is rare, it’s a possibility. It will likely only happen if you’ve had an amateur install your air conditioner—they’re probably not trained on how much refrigerant is needed for the system and why. Unfortunately, too high of a refrigerant charge will eventually cause your compressor to breakdown, which will most likely be the end of your air conditioner’s lifespan.
The signs that you have too much refrigerant are similar to signs that you have too little. Fortunately, you’ll probably notice the signs right away if you have a brand new air conditioner—you may notice low cooling power, high energy bills (your cooling bills should typically go down with the installation of a new air conditioner!), or an odd noise coming from the system—strange sounds can be the sign of a number of problems and if this is happening in a new system, or if you notice anything that seems unusual to you about your system’s performance, you should call our pros right away.
High Outdoor Temperatures
But… air conditioners are designed to handle excessive heat—that is literally their job, right?!
Well, yes. But, intense heat over an extended period of time can actually have a negative impact on your air conditioner, particularly if it is an aging system. It can cause your capacitors to overheat and fail, first off. The capacitors are components that send electrical voltage to the motors of the compressor and fans, and too much heat reduces their ability to hold an electrical charge.
So, eventually, the capacitors won’t be able to turn the motors on, or keep them running once they do. The best way to prevent this type of problem from occurring is to keep up on your annual maintenance (or biannual, if you have a heat pump), since during our inspection we check these components and more to ensure they’re ready for the heat of summer. If you notice anything amiss though this summer, particularly after a heat wave, please be sure to give our pros a call right away!