Even in the winter, Southern Florida’s highs are often in the 80s with nights in the 70s. Your AC likely runs year-round to keep your home’s humidity levels and temperature comfortable. While you might not think about AC repairs at this time of year, they’re still possible.
Even the most expensive central air conditioning system can break down suddenly. There are no guarantees on how long a system will go without running into an issue. But, you also don’t want to get stuck with no way to cool your home on a hot, humid day. What do you do when your AC isn’t running efficiently?
Quick Tips for Troubleshooting Your Air Conditioner’s Problem
To better understand why your AC isn’t working well, it helps to understand what components of an AC are often tied to inefficient operation. AC repairs usually involve one of these AC parts.
The air filter is the simplest issue to fix. AC systems have air filters that trap pet hair, dust, dander, and other small particles. A good rule of thumb is to replace an air filter every couple of months or more often if you have pets or find your filter gets dirty faster.
Some homeowners don’t realize they need to change this air filter regularly. A dirty filter impedes the flow of air, which forces your system to work harder and can make it more difficult for cool air to flow around your home efficiently.
The vent covers in your home also need to be kept clean. If you’re finding them covered in dust and pet hair, they cannot draw air from your rooms. The cool air isn’t circulating properly, which makes your system work harder. You may notice your electricity bills climbing.
Another issue is that people need to place furniture in ways that can block the vents. If the vent is on a wall near a large window, you might plan to put the sofa against that wall. If the sofa is too long, it will block the air vents. You need to carefully consider the placement of all furnishings and make sure they’re not blocking a vent.
A capacitor stores electricity and provides the initial burst of electricity that your AC system needs to start up the different motors. If a capacitor is damaged or worn out, your AC may shut off unexpectedly, refuse to turn on, be slow to start up, or not produce cold air.
Have you checked your circuit breaker? Head to your breaker box and look at the circuit breaker for your central AC system. If it has tripped, flip it back on and wait to see what happens. If it trips again, the circuit is overloaded. Figure out what else is running that may be causing it to trip.
If the only thing on that circuit is your AC, it’s time to call in a professional. You might have moisture getting into the wiring or something else. Don’t run your AC until the problem is found and fixed.
Your system has a condensate pump that collects moisture that drips off the coils and goes into a pan. That pan has to be drained to the outside using a pump and drain lines. Check that the pump is working effectively. You should also look at the drain lines and make sure they’re not clogged.
Condenser and Evaporator Coils
There are coils within the outdoor condenser and indoor evaporator. Coolant runs through those coils and plays an essential part in cooling your home. The coils in the indoor unit send the coolant through an expansion valve, which forces them to release cool air for the blower fan to push through the ducts and into each room.
The reverse happens outside. The liquid refrigerant has lost its pressure and turned into a gas that absorbs hot air from within the home as it travels back outside. Outside, it goes through a compressor while a condenser fan blows on the coils to help them release heat while changing the coolant back from a hot gas to a hot liquid before it goes back inside to the evaporator to repeat the process.
This process works effectively as long as the coils are clean. The problem is that outdoor environments can get pretty dusty from soil and sand in yards that get stirred up when someone mows or it’s very windy. Coils must be cleaned off periodically. Do so by using special AC coil cleaning agents or a hose on your outdoor unit.
Condenser Fan Motor
The condenser fan motor often gets covered in grass clippings, leaves, twigs, and pine needles. The fan needs to be able to turn, so it’s important to keep it cleaned and maintained. If a fan blade is accidentally bent, it also cannot work effectively.
Both the indoor and outdoor units should have a disconnect switch. Check that both switches are set to “on” and that they haven’t been bumped by something or turned off for some reason and not turned back on.
Cool air travels around your home through a series of ducts. The fan pushes the cool air into the ducts and warm air taken from rooms also goes through ducts to return outside to be cooled again. If rodents or age have caused ducts to develop holes or cracks, it’s important to have the ducts repaired ASAP. You’re losing cool air to the walls and attic space rather than to your rooms.
ACs have multiple components that help with the flow of electricity. A fuse is one of them and helps protect against unexpected electrical surges. If your system has blown a fuse, it will stop the power from getting from Point A to Point B, and your system isn’t going to work until that fuse is replaced.
Has someone changed the thermostat? If it was accidentally bumped or someone changed it, your system may not be turning on for that simple reason. Turn the thermostat back to where you had it set and see if that fixes your problem.
If it doesn’t, you should check that the thermostat has batteries, if it uses batteries. If that still isn’t the problem, you may need to replace the thermostat.
Similar to a fuse, the transformer helps with the flow of electricity by transforming the voltage from DC to AC. If it’s broken, the voltage doesn’t transform, so the system doesn’t work.
What If You Can’t Fix It Yourself?
You’ve followed the tips and narrowed down the problem, but it’s not something you can fix. What now? It’s time to call a Florida AC repair specialist. Don’t risk your safety or your AC system by trying to fix it yourself. Even the best instructional repair video can only help so much. If you break something while trying to fix something else, you can turn a simple repair job into a very costly one.
All Year Cooling aims to get to your home quickly and take care of the problem. If your system is on its last legs and not worth repairing, we’ll be honest. If it’s repairable, our technicians are fully trained and insured and get the repair completed as quickly as possible.
With any service call, we also provide a complimentary AC system evaluation to let you know if there are components that are okay for now but starting to wear out. Reach us online or by phone to schedule a technician.