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Common Air Conditioner Problems

The Most Frequent Air Conditioner Breakdowns and Their Causes

South Floridians know the importance of a well-running air conditioner better than most. Our average high temperatures can be unbearable--and in many cases, unhealthy--without the relief a cool A/C provides. A complete air conditioning system is a complex interworking of electronic components, gasses, fans, motors and more. With so many parts working together, it is clear to see how many things could go wrong and cause an A/C to break down. Following is a list of causes of some of the most common air conditioner problems, and a few tips to prevent their occurrence.

Improper Air Conditioner Operation

One of the most common causes of an A/C breakdown is improper operation. An air conditioner can lose efficiency and suffer a shorter life if not operated correctly. To keep your central A/C unit running cool and long, take care to keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioner is on, and if you are using a room air conditioner, isolate it (or the group of rooms it cools) from the rest of the building as much as possible. Close doors to keep the cool air just where you want it.

Incorrect A/C Installation

An improperly installed air conditioner is sure to cause you problems that will increase over time. A/C ducts may begin to leak and your air conditioner’s airflow will be reduced. If you are installing a new air conditioner, be sure to enlist the services of a certified A/C installation expert. The right A/C professional can help you evaluate your needs in terms of size and type of air conditioner you need, as well as install the system properly and check the existing ductwork to see if repairs or replacement need to be made. A common problem in South Florida is the poor installation of original ductwork.

Many contractors take advantage of vague or non-existent building codes and install air ducts that are too small or do not install any return ducts. This can ultimately lead to frozen coils, mold growth and poor air circulation.

Your A/C installer can test the pressure of the air moving through your ducts and advise you if ductwork is needed.

Lack of Refrigerant or Refrigerant Charging Problems

Some air conditioner installers do not charge the refrigerant properly during installation, sacrificing the A/C unit’s efficiency and performance. An unskilled A/C technician may not locate refrigerant charging problems, or may make existing problems worse by adding refrigerant to an already full unit. If the refrigerant is leaking, a reputable A/C repairman will fix the leak, test his work, and charge the system exactly according to the air conditioner manufacturer’s instructions. This will protect the life of your A/C, and the environment, too.

Electric Control Failure

If an A/C unit is too large for the building it is housed in, it may turn off and on too often, causing compressors and fan controls to wear out. Electrical connections and contacts should be checked during routine air conditioner maintenance. This will prevent wire and terminal corrosion.

Room Air Conditioners - Sensor and Drainage Problems

Occasionally a thermostat sensor on a room air conditioner can be knocked out of place, causing the A/C unit to cycle too frequently. This sensor is located behind the control panel of the A/C and can be carefully adjusted by bending the wire holding it in place. The sensor should be near the coil, but never touch it.

Drainage problems may arise when a room air conditioner is not mounted level. You can check the A/C’s condensate drain when it is humid outside. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to find the location of the drain and check to see that it is not clogged.

Inadequate Air Conditioning Maintenance

Perhaps the simplest of all steps to take to protect your air conditioner is to keep the A/C filter clean. When filters and air conditioning coils get too dirty, compressors and fans may fail early, and inner coils may freeze. Air conditioner compressor replacement is very expensive, so it is well worth the time it takes to change the filter on a regular basis.

AAA Able Air Conditioning & Appliance Co. Inc. has been installing and servicing South Florida air conditioners for over 30 years. In that time, we’ve seen every problem imaginable—and fixed it! As an FPL Participating Contractor, we are certified to save you money with valuable rebates on qualified air conditioner installations, and FPL certifies our A/C ductwork as well. Contact us today for all your air conditioner repair, maintenance, service and sales concerns.

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