Even after your HVAC survives another summer, you’re not out of the woods just yet. Ordinary wear and tear continue all year round no matter how hot or cold the weather is. And there’s nothing worse than finding out one day that your home or business air conditioner has broken down.
To help you out, we’ve gathered the 5 most common HVAC problems and how to avoid them, so your air is there when you really need it.
AC systems use a cooling agent called refrigerant to run at optimal levels. Your air conditioner has all the refrigerant it will ever need in it already the first time you turn it on. Normally, you don’t have to think twice about it.
Refrigerant cycles through the coils in a closed circuit, removing heat from the air and circulating cooler air through your home. But sometimes, the coils in your AC system can develop cracks or holes, and the refrigerant starts to leak out.
When refrigerant leaks out of your AC system, you’ll probably notice quickly, because the registers (vents) will start blowing warm air. Not only can this be uncomfortable, depending on what time of the year this happens, but it can easily lead to more problems.
It might become more and more expensive to run as your AC becomes less and less effective. Your electric bill might skyrocket as your AC works harder to compensate. And depending on what refrigerant your system uses, your family might be exposed to dangerous leaking chemicals somewhere in your house.
Getting a professional to find and fix leaks quickly can save your health, money, and sweat.
FROZEN EVAPORATOR COILS
It might sound crazy but sometimes, your AC can get too cold.
As we discussed, the evaporator coils of your AC hold the refrigerant and are responsible for removing heat from the air. If for some reason, the air flow to this area is restricted, then the evaporator coils can freeze.
Any AC system requires all of its parts to work correctly. If the coils get dirty, if blower motor malfunctions, or the return air grille is blocked, then the warm air from the rest of the house can’t reach the evaporator coils to get cooled.
Not only can frozen evaporator coils fail to work, but it can also damage the rest of the system the longer it remains a problem. If you think your coils might be frozen, shut down the entire system completely and call a professional.
Internal fans in your HVAC system keeps air circulating throughout your entire house. First, the blowers push the air through the evaporator coils, and then through the rest of the house. In addition, there is a fan that expels warm air through the condenser and out of the house.
This is another small maintenance issue that can save you big in the long run. If either fan breaks down or accumulates too much dirt, it will create problems for the whole rest of the system.
If you’ve never paid any attention to your HVAC’s internal fans, chances are they could do with attention. Call a trained HVAC professional to assess whether the motor needs to be cleaned out, or whether the speed of the fan should be adjusted.
The ducts of your HVAC system are like arteries. They take the cooled air from the main pump and circulate it to every room in the house. But leaky ducts can mean your paying to cool your attic instead of your living room.
Broken joints, holes, tears and other punctures might be too small to see from one duct to the next. But the cumulative effect of leaky ducts might mean that by the time the cool air comes through the register in your bedroom, there’s nothing there.
What’s more, your thermostat doesn’t know that your air is leaking out slowly along the way. It just knows that it’s still hot. As a result, your AC system might stay in overdrive, causing your electric bills to climb. Your system may experience extra wear and tear as parts that require a break stay on for too long.
A couple of clues that you might be dealing with leaky ducts are if you are suddenly paying more for your air conditioning despite having the same use. Or if you find a random draft far away from one of the registers. If some rooms seem hot and some seem cool, and there’s not much coming out of the vent, you might want to call a specialist to examine your ducts.
BACKED UP/CLOGGED DRAINAGE
Anybody who has ever set an AC unit in a window knows about condensation. If you don’t tip the unit just right, you can have a big watery mess on your hands.
Condensation is part of larger HVAC systems too. Without proper drainage, you can end up with lots of water getting into places you aren’t sure about. When working properly, the moisture is condensed, collected and then expelled through the condensate lines and then drained outdoors.
If the drainage system isn’t maintained, it can get clogged up with dirt and debris, causing water to back up or leak out. Leaking water can cause damage to floors, ceilings, walls or any electrical systems it comes in contact with. It can flood your HVAC system itself and ruin expensive components.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to avoid these problems through regular maintenance, including clearing condensation lines before they fill up too much.
Don’t wonder whether your air conditioner will make it through another summer! If any of these issues sound familiar to you, or if it’s been a while since anybody saw the inside of your HVAC, get a professional’s help. Remember: its cheaper to fix it before it breaks.
We’re here to help! Give one of our technicians a call today at (909) 792-2222 to discuss your system, or schedule annual maintenance service.