Although not everyone agrees, science and climate change inform us that the world is getting warmer. That means that for a lot of us working and living in temperate and warm climates that due to warmer temperatures and heatwaves, life can get pretty hot and uncomfortable.
For many homes and businesses, effective air conditioning (AC) units are essential for keeping cool and comfortable. However, modern AC units, although simple for day-to-day operation, are still quite complex pieces of machinery. It is easy for things to go wrong or for them to not work as effectively and efficiently as they could.
Being able to diagnose and fix simple AC problems and knowledge of the different things that can go wrong in order to help with preventative maintenance can help your air conditioning to run at its best as well as minimize costs for maintenance and AC repair.
Not Turning On
A common problem for any piece of electrical or electronic equipment is that it doesn’t turn on. If it doesn’t turn on, there are various things that you can do to check, and these are often some of the most simple fixes.
- Is it plugged into the mains?
- Has a circuit breaker been tripped?
Checking the mains connection, circuit breaker, or fuse box are important initial checks to make in this case, which are likely to fix the issue. If, after checking these three things, the AC still doesn’t turn on, it is likely to be a more significant issue that requires the services of a skilled electrician, as electrical problems can be dangerous to meddle with if you don’t know what you are doing.
Many air conditioning units will have an external thermostat. This is usually located in a separate room, perhaps a common hallway or living room. The thermostat provides information to the AC unit about when to switch on or off, much like a central heating boiler.
This is separate from the air conditioning unit; it may be operated by batteries and provide a radio-controlled connection to the main unit. If the batteries have no charge in them, then they will not send information to the main AC unit about the ambient temperature, and therefore the AC unit will not switch on or off and is, therefore, likely to stay switched off.
This is a relatively simple check to make that requires a low amount of skill, and batteries can be easily replaced.
Most AC units use evaporating coils that are filled with refrigerant, a liquid that is used to absorb the heat from the air. Any mechanical or electrical item that includes a liquid also means a risk of that liquid leaking out into the unit or the wide environment.
A visual check can be made to see if there are any leaks below or around an air conditioning unit. Depending on the construction, it may also be possible to take off front or back covers to see if any refrigerant is leaking. Once a leak has been found, it may require a professional to fix the issue.
Most AC units also contain filters, which filter impurities out from the environment to ensure that the cool air being pushed around the air conditioning system is as clean as possible. Filters are items that should be regularly checked, as they need occasional replacement.
The instruction manual will state how often (and how) filters should be replaced, and the controls of the AC unit may include visual information to check with the maintenance and repair of filters. A clogged filter will reduce the efficiency of the unit and may even lead to it stopping working. A filter is in good order will be easy to see daylight through, whereas a clogged filter may be opaque and hard or impossible to see through.
A clogged filter can sometimes be diagnosed by the fact that the AC unit is not blowing cold air through the ducts, as cold air is unable to escape the main unit.
Clogged filters are a relatively simple fix that can be done by the vast majority of householders.
Problems With Coils
AC units have evaporator coils and condenser coils that are part of the main functions of the AC unit. The evaporator coils absorb the heat from the air, using the refrigerant mentioned earlier, whereas condenser coils transfer the heat from inside the property to the outside of the property.
As the coils are metal and humidity is involved, there is a possibility over time that coils can be corroded, decreasing the efficiency of the AC unit. Therefore, coils should be checked regularly for corrosion and to ensure that they have not become frozen, which would suggest an issue elsewhere.
The integrity of the coils should be checked regularly, with the perfect time to check them being at the beginning of the year before the system is turned on for the first time. Replacement of coils may require a professional installer.
An AC unit that covers a whole house or other building will do so via a collection of ducts from the AC unit moving throughout the property.
These ducts should also be checked regularly for signs of damage, blockage, or wear and tear. Issues with ducts can show themselves either through not enough air moving through the system or rising energy bills without any other obvious cause. Inspection can be done by a householder depending on the location of the ducts or may require the presence of an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) expert.
Preventative maintenance and regular checks are key to getting the most out of any AC unit, enabling it to work effectively and efficiently. With so many important moving parts and electrical parts, there are so many things that can go wrong even in a well-manufactured and installed air condition system, but there are also many simple, regular checks that can be made to keep it in tip-top shape.