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What’s wrong with my air conditioner?

There’s nothing like a malfunctioning air conditioner to ruin your summer chill vibe. If your home is starting to feel sultry and sauna-like instead comfortably cool, there a few easy checks to make before calling for air conditioning repair and maintenance. Then learn more about the other issues that could be affecting your AC.

Pro tip: Before you troubleshoot your AC, make sure you have your unit on and are operating it in an enclosed area, with doors and windows shut and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check for a tripped fuse or breaker, and allow your unit to cool down for five minutes before resetting the breaker if needed. Also determine whether the high-pressure limit switch on your AC compressor pane has flipped, especially if you find yourself AC-less on a super hot day.

Common air conditioning problems

If you’re sure that your fuses are intact and you’re operating your AC system correctly, several other problems could be compromising the cool air-producing component of your HVAC system.

Make sure you have the right AC system

  1. Refrigerant

A liquid agent contained in the coils of an AC, refrigerant cools and dehumidifies the air as it runs through your unit. Often AC problems occur when the charge — the term for the amount of refrigerant in the system — does not correspond to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can occur during installation or service, and impede the efficiency and function of the AC.

Leaks can also draw down the charge on your unit. Contact an a qualified Alexandria HVAC repair pro if you find evidence of a refrigerant leak. You may need to have the unit charged.

  1. Electrical components

As with any hard-working machine, AC parts can wear out over time. Compressor and fan controls and other components can deteriorate over time. If your unit switches on and off frequently that can accelerate the wear on your AC parts.

Coils, connections and terminals can also become corroded. An air conditioning repair technician can check all of these components for you. If you see evidence of a broken part or corrosion, call a pro.

  1. Drain

After warm air becomes cool after passing through the coils of your AC, condensation develops. It drips into a pan, which is attached to a drain that conveys water away from your home. On occasion, problems can develop with the drain, creating a clog or leak that causes water to overflow.

Mud, dirt, sludge or even mold can cause a clog. If you see signs of mold growth or impediments to the function of the AC drain, seek out Alexandria, Virginia, HVAC repair immediately.

Window AC unit: If you use a window AC, you might develop problems if the unit isn’t mounted level or the thermostat sensor becomes dislodged from its proper position.

How to tell if your thermostat is broken

Maintaining your air conditioner

The common causes for AC problems include:

  •      Improper installation
  •      Poor service
  •      Inadequate maintenance

One of the most important things you can do is regularly clean or replace your AC filter — that’s every one to two months during cooling season. A dirty filter can reduce efficiency by as much as 15 percent, according to the Department of Energy.

Additionally, keep the area around your AC unit clean and clear of debris, like dryer lint, leaves and other lawn detritus.

Having your AC regularly serviced makes all the difference in the efficiency of your unit, as well as how long it will last. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Get into the habit of having your HVAC system serviced twice a year, before heating and cooling season.

During professional AC service, your technician will:

  •      Check the refrigerant
  •      Test for leaks in the system
  •      Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  •      Assess the overall function of the HVAC system
  •      Inspect, clean and tighten all electrical connections
  •      Apply lubricant, as needed
  •      Ensure your thermostat works correctly

Looking for air conditioning repair or service near you? John C. Flood offers AC repair and HVAC service in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, metro D.C. and surrounding areas.