Picture this: it’s the middle of summer, the temperature is blazing hot, and the sun is relentless. You’re in your air-conditioned house to escape the heat from the outside, and suddenly, the cool air stops blowing through the vents. Your air conditioner has failed, and the temperature in the house is starting to rise. Soon enough, you will be sweltering in your own home, and you can’t be sure if the AC unit can be fixed within the day.
If you find this scenario terrifying, do yourself a favor and reduce the chances of your AC failing in the summer months. To do that, you must determine what can cause the AC to fail in the first place, which can be any one of the following reasons:
- A refrigerant leak
The refrigerant is responsible for absorbing indoor heat and releasing it outdoors. Throughout this process, no refrigerant is lost or “used up.” The only way the refrigerant will lose its charge is through leaking, which is caused by holes or cracks in the coils that circulate the refrigerant around the AC system. You can easily spot a refrigerant leak if there is a liquid collecting near your outdoor condenser coil or if you hear hissing or gurgling sounds around your AC.
In the summer, your AC unit works harder to keep your house cool, which means it circulates more refrigerant than usual. The coils can crack due to the excess pressure of circulating the refrigerant, which can eventually lead to a leak. When this happens, the unit will not have enough refrigerant, thus reducing its cooling capabilities and causing the temperature in your house to rise.
If you encounter this problem, call an AC repair company as soon as possible. Refrigerants are extremely toxic substances, and you wouldn’t want to touch them, let alone go near them on your own.
- Dirty air filters
Whenever your HVAC system works harder than normal, the air filters will tend to collect more dust and debris. For this reason, it is common to encounter dirty air filters in the summer months when you are using your air conditioner more frequently than usual.
Dirty air filters make it harder for air to move around freely, which, in turn, can cause your system to work harder. Aside from the increased utility bills and poor air quality, this can cause other major problems with your unit if left unaddressed.
That said, make it a point to clean or replace your air filters before summer rolls in. Do this at least once every two to three months or whenever it gets too dirty.
- Frozen evaporator coils
Frozen evaporator coils are another common problem during the summertime. Since you are using the AC every day in the summer, the coils will accumulate dirt and grime faster. Over time, a layer of ice will form on the coils, preventing them from absorbing heat in the air and effectively cooling down your home.
Fortunately, frozen evaporator coils are generally easy and quick to fix. However, you may have to call in a professional. If you start to notice that the air circulating in your home is warm, have your AC cleaned out as soon as possible.
- Poor maintenance
An AC unit won’t function properly without proper maintenance. Keep in mind that your AC unit needs scheduled maintenance at least twice a year. If you fail to get the proper tune-ups and preventative measures done, your AC may very well break in the middle of summer when you need it the most. That said, be sure that you get a specialist to come over and service your unit at least once every six months.
- Faulty outside fan
The outside fan, otherwise referred to as the blower fan, is responsible for removing heat from your home. If it is not functioning properly, the cool air will not escape the AC, thus rendering it useless (and your house uncomfortably hot).
There are many things that can cause a faulty outside fan, including obstructions inside the unit, wear and tear, a broken fan motor, and a dirty system. Whatever the reason may be, it is imperative that you get an HVAC professional to inspect the unit and determine the problem before it’s too late.
Staying comfortable in the summer heat is easier when you have air conditioning at home. But what if your AC suddenly breaks when you need it the most? Don’t risk it; if you want to keep your AC unit fully functional and efficient all year round, be proactive in avoiding these causes and, more importantly, prioritize preventive maintenance for your AC unit.
Meta title:5 Common Causes of Summertime AC Failures and How to Avoid Them
meta desc: Few things are worse than having your air conditioning unit fail in the middle of summer. Find out how you can avoid this problem before it’s too late.