Air conditioning systems are very complex pieces of machinery. Often, a small problem might seem harmless, but over time it can cause major damage to your machine. There are all sorts of air conditioning issues that go unnoticed because they are hard to spot and do not cause many issues. However, it is still important to repair small problems as soon as you can. Every homeowner should be on the lookout for the following issues.
Pinhole Refrigerant Leaks
When refrigerant starts leaking from your system, it usually is not a dramatic hole gushing fluid. Instead, the majority of refrigerant leaks start out as a pinhole leak. A small area of corrosion will develop, gradually causing a microscopic hole to form in your line. You may not see any signs of the leak at first. However, over time, it will impact the efficiency of your system. This problem can make your air conditioner run longer, cause your evaporator coil to freeze over, and result in warmer air. If left untreated, it can even end up damaging your compressor. Furthermore, refrigerant fluid or gas can be dangerous to you and the environment if it leaves your AC system. The good news is that it is very easy to fix if you catch it at an early stage. An experienced technician often just needs to do a few minutes of soldering and top off your refrigerant.
As long as people can hear their air conditioner humming and feel cool air they often assume everything is fine. However, some big problems happen in the most often overlooked parts of an AC system. The vents that spread cold air throughout your home can easily be blocked by debris, dust, mold, and even dropped belongings. At first, the only sign may be a strange smell or a slightly warmer spot in your home. However, a blocked vent does more than just keep that specific part of the home from being properly cooled. The increase in system inefficiency leads to far higher energy bills. It also causes uneven pressure buildup throughout your system that can result in duct leakage or other issues.
Dirty Condenser Coils
The fins and coils on the exterior part of your AC unit have the important job of expelling heat outside your home. Since it is in a spot you rarely see, the outside unit is often overlooked when you have AC problems. With dust, grass, and plants nearby, it is easy for coils to become covered up. Furthermore, you might not realize your coils need to be cleaned because the only initial symptom is declining efficiency. As coils get dirtier and dirtier, your air conditioner may struggle to keep your home cool. You may notice that it runs constantly, causing your electric bill to go up. In some cases, you may even get warm air coming from vents. Fortunately, this frequently ignored repair can often be done by yourself in just a couple of minutes. For coils with just a small bit of dust and grime, spraying them with a garden hose can be enough to clean them. If there is corrosion or more intense buildup, you can apply a coil cleaner and gently scrub the coils.
Like blocked vents, this problem often goes unnoticed because it is so hard to see. Your ducts run through your walls, attic, or basement, so you rarely look at them. Leaking ducts do not immediately break your AC, so you might think everything is fine even if you have a huge tear in a duct. The problem with leaky ducts is that they let so much conditioned air go into uninhabited parts of your home. It can end up increasing your energy bill by as much as 25 percent, costing you hundreds of dollars. You can check out your ducts yourself and patch any noticeably large leaks. However, to catch smaller leaks, you may need to schedule a duct blaster duct leakage test. This can pressurize your ducts to tell a technician just how much air is escaping.
Clogged AC Filters
If it has been more than six months since you last changed your air conditioner filters, you definitely need to swap out the filters now. Most people do not even see this activity as a repair, since it often gets lumped under standard maintenance. However, the reality is that a dirty filter can be a serious issue that requires immediate repair. When a filter is dirty, your air conditioner starts sucking up dirt instead of handling clean air. The system is not designed to have debris flowing through it, so it may struggle to function. A dirty filter causes all sorts of issues, including:
- Dusty air
- Inefficient cooling
- Drain line clogs
- Frozen evaporator coolers
- Overworked blower
- Higher utility bills
Make sure to follow the recommended changing schedule for your type of filter. Most filters need to be replaced somewhere between every one to six months.
Sometimes, the problem with your air conditioner is not actually caused by your AC unit at all. Many people forget to check the thermostat when they are having AC problems, but it can be the source of many issues. When a thermostat is not measuring your home’s temperatures correctly, it can end up running too long or too little. In some cases, the problem is that the thermostat itself is broken. In other cases, you just need to move it to repair it. Installing a thermostat crookedly, near a window, or in the kitchen can all cause it to misinterpret your home’s temperatures.
Frozen Evaporator Coils
Most people know they have an evaporator coil problem when their whole AC unit is a dripping block of ice. However, frozen evaporator coils actually happen slowly over time. In the early stages, it might just be a thin coat of frost or a light sheen of ice over your coils. However, even small amounts of freezing can further block airflow, causing more ice to build up on coils. Eventually, it turns into a huge problem. If you want to catch it before you get disastrous flooding around your AC, you need to keep an eye out for the problem. During regular maintenance, check the coils to see if there is any frost or buildup. If your air conditioner is running longer than usual or blowing out warmer air, you may want to check your evaporator coils to see if there is a problem.
If you think you might be dealing with one of these overlooked AC problems, give McGowan’s Heating & Air Conditioning a call. Our experienced technicians can identify even the smallest problems impacting your AC efficiency. We work on all sorts of heating and cooling systems, and we provide repair, maintenance, and installation services. Schedule your service call today to get clean, refreshing air. We have offices in Jacksonville and Bunnell.