How to Cut Costs on AC Repair & Maintenance: 8 Critical Problems & Solutions
Air conditioners, whatever the type, are often taken for granted by us. We keep them on throughout the day and night without closing our doors and windows. We even leave them on when we don’t really need them, simply because we are not used to staying in a room without an air conditioner. Such improper use and operation can have a damaging effect on the AC in the long run. So, AC repair and maintenance is crucial if you want your air conditioning unit to last longer and have a safe operation at all times. AC repair is usually done by HVAC professionals, but there are some issues that you can fix yourself with a little effort! You can have a cool and refreshing summer once you are able to do AC repair processes yourself.
Here are the common air conditioner problems we often face and ways to troubleshoot them.
1. Air Conditioner Starting Up and Turning Off Issues
The most dreadful thing that can possibly happen to you on a hot summer day, is when you click on the remote control and do not see your precious air conditioner turning on. The lack of power could be a result of a simple circuit breaker problem or a blown fuse, but either way, you can fix it on your own. Start off with trying to reset the circuit and replace the fuse. You should check your thermostat in case it is not working as well, and inspect the wiring to uncover possible damages.
2. Thermostat Issues
Your thermostat just might be calibrated incorrectly, which is why it could show technical glitches. Because of these glitches, sometimes an air conditioner won’t turn on. If the thermostat is not working even after the settings are normal, it’s time to call HVAC professionals to re-calibrate the thermostat for you. Older thermostats usually show these kinds of problems, so instead of re-calibrating, you might as well replace your thermostat. Always look at the manual when setting the thermostat.
3. Refrigerant Problems
One of the biggest problems an air conditioner could face is a low amount of refrigerant. This usually happens for three reasons. Either there is a leak somewhere in the AC unit, or it was not properly installed. Another reason could be that the HVAC professionals have left the AC undercharged with refrigerants. If your rooms are not cooling properly or the indoor air feels kind of sticky, it means the refrigerants are leaking. Because of this, you’ll feel more hot and humid instead of being cool. A few numbers of leaks are usually sealable and can be managed, but if there are more leaks than expected and regular maintenance is necessary, you might have to replace the whole unit.
4. Condenser Problems
Checking the condenser coil is also essential. The condenser basically allows heat to be removed from the air inside the home and releases it outside, which is why it is usually located in the outdoor unit of an air conditioner. Condenser coils are often exposed to dust, soot and all kinds of pollutants, which make it dirty. A dirty condenser coil means the transfer of heat will be inefficient and your home won’t cool down easily. As long as that happens, the air conditioner will face more wear and tear and eventually stop working, requiring you to clean it regularly.
5. Evaporator Coil Freezing
When you take on the AC repair task into your own hands, you should also take a look at the evaporator coil. This coil absorbs heat, which is why you can opt for higher temperatures when you use your AC. If airflow is low over the evaporator, there can be ice formations. The AC would produce no air at all at some point and even if it did, the airflow would be warm. If there are blocks in the ductwork, there could be even more problems.
6. Blocked or Leaking Ducts
If the temperature in every room is different, it’s because the airflow to each room is different. This could occur if there are blocks or unseen leaks in the ducts. This causes uneven distribution of airflow to the rooms. Although a central air conditioning involves the ductworks going through the walls of your home, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any wear and tear. Often rodents and molds could cause leaks and blockage. Rips in the ducts would allow air to be released into the walls, which could make the indoor air uncomfortable. This would also cost quite a lot to repair and your whole house would become warmer, increasing electric bills as a result.
7. Drain Pipe Clogs
When an air conditioner takes moisture away from air, it is removed through a drain pipe into a pan that collects water. When the pan is excessively filled with water, it overflows. Water can go back to the drain pipe and cause problems. This could even result in water leaks in your AC, damaging both the AC unit and the building.
8. Air Conditioner Noise Issues
Every air conditioner has a fan inside that blows air over a condenser coil so the heat is released from the building to the outer environment. These fan motors usually cause a lot of noise. The fan could have a lot of dirt and dust on itself and might deteriorate over time. Non-inverter ACs also make more noises because of constant turning off and on as well as for prolonged usage. Frequent noises indicate that your AC is not working properly and you need the help of HVAC professionals for fixing these problems.
How to Save Energy When Using Air Conditioners
During the summertime, there are a few ways you can ensure that your air conditioner is not consuming too much energy and thus wasting too much of your money. There are a few regular habits that you can encourage your family members to follow. For example, whenever the AC is on, you could shut the windows and the doors. Some ACs have a sleep mode, which runs at a lower power. You could turn this option on before you sleep at night. If this mode is unavailable then simply turn it off. The sun is not out, so your room will not be that warm anyway. Turn off the vents in the basement so the cool air doesn’t escape from the house. For individual use, you can use portable fans for cooling down. But if there are more people in the room then you could consider keeping it turned on.
We often cover up vents using furniture such as beds and sofas. However, that prevents efficient cooling. Cool air can’t move around freely in this case. So you could move your furniture around and leave some vents exposed. Lighting systems produce heat, so if you turn off lights that are not needed, you save on electricity as well as make the room cooler. Lastly, you could use your AC for a little while and then turn it off. Turn on the fan so that it could distribute the cold air around the room. This way you won’t have to turn on unit so frequently.
There is no optimal temperature to use for cooling or warming. You should use the temperature that suits you most, but it’s important to keep regular maintenance and do regular check-ups on all the air conditioning systems in your home. If there are any problems, you can call HVAC pros to help you with AC repair issues and troubleshooting. What you could do on your own is follow a few simple guidelines so that these systems can service you for a longer period of time without costing too much of your money. This way, you’ll have refreshing summers and warm winters at the comfort of your own home.
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