senior couple smiling tabletYour air conditioner is your best friend from June to September. You really miss it when it’s not around to help keep you cool.

By knowing about some of the problems your air conditioner could experience – and how to solve them – you can keep your best friend happy (and yourself cool) all summer.

1. Clogged Filters

This is probably one of the most common air conditioner problems. Luckily, it’s also the easiest to solve.

Both your furnace and air conditioner use the same filter. When it becomes too clogged with dirt, it impacts your air conditioner’s efficiency. It has to work harder to cool your home to the desired temperature.

You can change the filter yourself – just make sure you know whether it’s a reusable filter or one you’ll need to replace!

Related: How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

2. Thermostat Issues

Sometimes we’re called to a house with a malfunctioning air conditioner, when in reality the thermostat was to blame.

It’s always better to call if you aren’t sure what the problem is, but we do recommend checking your thermostat settings. Even something as benign as direct sunlight can impact how your thermostat interacts with your AC! A thermostat in direct sunlight will read a warmer temperature, and impact when your air conditioner runs.

If you’ve made sure that your thermostat is correctly set (and Mr. Sunshine isn’t affecting the sensors), but your air conditioner still doesn’t work, the problem is somewhere else.

Related: Is My Thermostat Really, Truly Broken?

3. Drainage Problems

Air conditioners have a condensate line (also know as a condensate drain). This funnels excess moisture removed from the air in your home out and away from your home and your air conditioner.

If the condensate line becomes clogged, moisture will build up in your air conditioner. This can result in mold/mildew growth, which is bad for your house and your health.

It could also result in water backing up, which could cause serious damage.

You may have a clogged drain if:

  • Your house starts to smell musty/moldy.
  • There’s standing water.
  • If your condensate pan (which feeds into the condensate line) doesn’t seem to be emptying.

You should also keep an eye out for condensate line leaks: these also cause water damage.

4. Breakers Issues

Our electrical breakers are the first line of defense against too much electrical current entering our system.

When your air conditioner breaker is tripped, your air conditioner won’t function at all.

After you reset the breaker, monitor your air conditioner and see if it starts working again. If it doesn’t – or if it trips the breaker again – you should call in the pros. Don’t reset the breaker again, as it’s doing its job.

5. Dirty Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are located just beneath the grille or fins on the outside part of your air conditioner, called the condenser. Refrigerant passes through these coils: they are an important part of the heat transfer process.

Diagram How AC Works

Related: How Do Air Conditioners Actually Work?

Since these coils live in the wilds of your yard, they’re exposed to the accompanying dirt. Dirty condenser coils may not sound like a big deal, but they can actually affect your air conditioner’s efficiency!

When they’re dirty, the heat transfer process becomes a lot harder. This means not all the heat is removed from your indoor air. Pretty soon you’ll see higher cooling bills because your air conditioner is struggling to reach your desired indoor temperature.

Eventually, all that extra work will cause your air conditioner to have a break down. And the last thing you want to happen during a GTA summer is losing your air conditioner.

Luckily, you can avoid all this by keeping your condenser and coils clean. We have instructions on how to do that here >

6. Electric Control Failure

Parts of your air conditioner – including the fan and compressor – operate using electric controls. If they wear out or stop working entirely, you won’t get that cool air you desperately need in the summer.

One of the main reasons your electric controls wear out is corrosion of wires and terminals. When that happens, a professional technician will have to investigate and make recommendations for repairs.

Electric control failure can also happen if your air conditioner stops and starts frequently. This is most common in oversized air conditioners.

Related: Why the Biggest Air Conditioner Isn’t Always the Best

7. Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is the liquid that absorbs the heat in your home. Refrigerant leaks are a serious problem, and they should be handled by professionals.

You may have a refrigerant leak if you:

  • Have ice on your air conditioner.
  • Can’t seem to get your house to cool.
  • Hear hissing when your air conditioner is turned on.

Without enough refrigerant, it will be harder to cool your house – and you’ll quickly find yourself with higher monthly cooling bills.

Refrigerant leaks can also have negative effects on the environment and the air you breathe.

Most of the time, issues like refrigerant leaks can be caught with regular maintenance.

8. Lack of Maintenance

This is perhaps the most common air conditioner problem because it is the root of almost all the other problems.

Think about a car – in general, a car that receives regular service will operate better and last longer than a car that doesn’t get tuneups.

It’s the same for your air conditioner. Not only will you increase your AC’s efficiency and lifespan with annual tuneups, but a professional will be able to catch many of the common air conditioner problems on this list before they become more serious issues.

Our experienced and skilled air conditioner professionals will inspect and clean your entire AC system, providing you with piece of mind that you won’t find yourself high and dry this summer.

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