With the hot days of summer now upon us, it’s important to keep cool, and there’s no better way than with air conditioning. But like anything, air conditioners are subject to breakdowns, and the last thing you want in the middle of a heatwave is to find yourself without A/C and in need of repair.
Today we’re going to talk about a few of the most common problems that you might experience with your air conditioner, the symptoms to watch out for, and what you can do to fix the problem.
Why Does My AC Unit Keep Tripping the Breaker?
Air conditioners require a great deal of power, but when they're functioning properly, they still won’t blow the breaker switch. If this happens, turn off the breaker switch completely, and then turn it back to the On position.
- If the breaker trips again right away when the air conditioner turns on, you’ve got yourself a short circuit and should call in a professional.
- If the air conditioner runs for a while but eventually trips the breaker again, check the filter and evaporator coil to make sure they're clean and free of debris.
- If the problem persists, you may be low on refrigerant or need other repairs, so talk to your HVAC technician.
Expert tip: Proper cleaning and maintenance (keeping the vents, coils, and filters clean) of your air conditioner will help prevent many problems in the future. It’s also a good idea to keep shrubs and greenery away from the unit to prevent organic debris from clogging it up.
How to Find a Refrigerant Leak
If you notice that your air conditioning is taking longer than usual to reach the same desired temperature, it’s a good indication that your air conditioner is working harder than it should be. One of the most common causes of this is a refrigerant leak. Here are some other signs you can be on the lookout for that may indicate a leak:
- There's low airflow coming from the registers, and the air that does come out is warm
- Ice is building up on the unit’s coil
- The house takes forever to cool down
- There's water buildup on the floor near the furnace
How to Tell if Your AC Is Frozen
You won’t be able to tell if your air conditioner is frozen just by looking at the outside of the unit, you'll have to access the evaporator coils to diagnose this problem.
- To do this, unscrew the access panel and have a look at the coils: if they're encased in ice, you’ve found the source of your problem.
- To remedy the issue, start by turning off the unit and leaving it alone for about 24 hours to thaw the coils.
- Then, check the vents, filters, and coils to see if they're dirty because that could be what caused the problem.
If none of these issues are found, you may be dealing with low refrigerant, a leak, or another malfunction that an HVAC tech can help you diagnose.