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The top five most common air conditioner problems

Posted on: August 5, 2011

It’s been really, really hot for what seems like a really, really long time – if you’re like many people in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area you’ve probably got your AC running full blast for at least 8 – 10 hours a day. It’s around this time that many common air conditioner problems start popping up all over the place – air conditioner problems that can leave you sweating through the dog days of summer!

The Five Most Common Air Conditioner Problems

Improper refrigerant levels – the single most important factor in maintaining your air conditioner is making sure your refrigerant is at the proper level. The refrigerant in your AC is set at installation, and, barring improper installation, having improper refrigerant levels means you probably have a leak.

If you suspect that you have a refrigerant leak, don’t try to just add more refrigerant – this won’t solve the underlying problem and, if you add too much, can cause further damage. Instead, call an HVAC company to come out and fill the leak. Trust us – it will save you significantly in the long run.

A note about leaky refrigerant: many symptoms associated with improper levels are similar to those that come when your filters need to be replaced. Before you call for air conditioner repair, try replacing the filters and see if that does anything. If you’ve changed them and your AC still isn’t working, this is usually a sign of bigger problems.

Poor maintenance – one of the most common air conditioner problems is the lack of proper air conditioner maintenance. A lot of people assume that if their air conditioners worked last year, they’ll work this year, no problem. Like anything mechanical, air conditioners are subject to pretty intense wear and tear – both when they’re running during the summer and when they’re off during the winter. If you don’t schedule seasonal air conditioner maintenance every summer, there’s no telling what could go wrong with your air conditioner – anything from dirty coils that reduce your AC’s efficiency to complete compressor or fan failure!

Electrical control failure – if your air conditioner is oversized, it will have to cycle frequently to maintain your home’s temperature. If this happens, it can cause the fan controls or compressor to wear out quickly. Even if your AC is the right size, corroding metals and wires can cause serious problems with your AC operation, possibly compromising your entire system.

Heat sensor problems – if you have a room air conditioner that seems to be behaving erratically, it may be having some problems with its heat sensor. The heat sensor measures the temperature of air blowing into the evaporator coil, and if it malfunctions, it could cause the AC to cycle on and off or simply shut down. The heat sensor should be placed as close to the coil as possible, without actually touching it. If it gets knocked out of place, you can usually readjust it by adjusting the wire that holds it in place.

Drainage problems – if it’s humid outside, the condensate drain on your air conditioner could become clogged. Check this out, and if it’s clogged, try to clear it.

If you’re experiencing any of these common problems with your Gaithersburg air conditioner, don’t sweat it – call James A. Wheat & Sons today!