10 Most Common AC Problems in AZ
With temperatures in Phoenix averaging over 100 degrees in summer, air conditioning is certainly more a need than a want.
The problem is, no air conditioner is perfect and from time to time, everyone experiences problems. The key is to identify them quickly so that they can be sorted – and your sanity restored – as quickly as possible.
Here’s our rundown on the 10 most common air conditioner problems in Phoenix, AZ.
1. Broken Capacitor
Right in the heart of your condenser is the capacitor. Responsible for keeping the motors of the AC running, they will just burn out and need replacing from time to time.
Signs that you’ve got a caput capacitor include AC not turning on, turning itself off, not blowing cold air or generally making a racket.
Keeping your condenser filters well maintained with regular cleaning and servicing will reduce the strain on the capacitor and help to extend its life.
2. Leaking AC Unit
It’s extremely annoying, not to mention damaging to your house when an AC unit starts to leak. A common AC problem that causes this kind of leak is a blockage in the condensate drain.
This system should be taking the condensation away from the unit. However, because it’s blocked the water has nowhere to go and springs a leak in the hose or fixing.
You won’t necessarily notice a rise in temperature, but the flooding water will be a giveaway that all is not well.
3. Low Coolant
The coolant or refrigerant in an AC system shouldn’t need topping up like the oil in your car.
If you’ve got low freon levels in your system, then you’ve got a leak. This will manifest itself in poor cooling or just warm air being blown out of your AC.
A technician will be able to locate and stop the leak and top up the system so it’s up and running in no time. Leaks in awkward spots can be difficult to treat and may mean that your system needs regular top-ups.
4. AC Trips the Breaker
One of the most common air conditioning problems is that units develop an electrical issue which causes the breaker to trip every time you fire up the AC.
The reason for this is usually that the compressor is grounded. This means that the wiring inside the compressor has broken and hit its side. This causes it to short to ground.
A compressor replacement may be required, but your technician will be able to advise you on this. The important thing is not to keep resetting the breaker. This is dangerous and can lead to the circuit overloading, potentially catching fire.
5. Malfunctioning Control Board
If your AC unit generally starts behaving weirdly, messing about with temperature settings, and doing things you haven’t asked it to, it’s probably a control board issue.
If your AC starts acting up, it’s probably going to need a new control board to ensure that it obeys your commands in future.
6. Pest Damage
As the bulk of your AC unit is outdoors, one of the AC issues they are vulnerable to is pest attack.
Mice, in particular, seem to have an affinity for AC units. They love these dark warm spaces to build their nests in. Other larger animals such as raccoons can also attack.
You may not notice their presence until your AC unit develops a problem related to what they have chewed or otherwise disturbed. You may be alerted by an unusual odor, which could be from urine or feces.
7. Damaged Connections
Over time, due to exposure to the elements and the constantly vibrating nature of the external unit, connections can easily become brittle and damaged.
It’s not uncommon to find that these have simply perished or come away as part of the wear and tear on the machine. If your system is malfunctioning and is a few years old, have the connections and terminals checked by a technician.
8. Underperforming Compressor
If your AC is not cooling as it should, the compressor may be at fault.
The valves inside the compressor can become less efficient over time. This means that they will not pump out the refrigerant at the high pressure required to cool the air efficiently.
A technician will be able to measure the output of the compressor to see if this is the issue and advise you on the best course of action.
9. Dirty Condenser Coil
The condenser part of your AC performs a vital function. It condenses the coolant, thereby removing the heat from the air and causing the cooling effect you’re looking for.
Few things in life work better when they’re dirty, and a dirty condenser coil is no exception. It puts an extra barrier between the condensed refrigerant and the air. This makes the cooling process much less efficient.
You’ll notice this in higher energy bills and less efficient cooling. If you don’t sort this quickly, it can take years off the life of your AC system – not a risk worth taking!
10. Sensor Behaving Badly
Last but not least, you may notice that your AC seems to have a mind of its own.
If it’s behaving erratically – coming on and turning off when you didn’t expect, or not responding correctly to changes in temperature – it’s worth investigating whether the sensor is where it should be.
The thermostat relies on accurate readings from the sensor to determine when to increase or decrease the temperature. Your technician will be able to make sure it’s where it should be to keep doing the job properly.
The Bottom Line: Common Air Conditioner Problems
The fact is, sooner or later, you’re going to be dealing with one of these common air conditioner problems.
As can be seen above, many of these issues can be avoided or nipped in the bud through regular maintenance. This is one of your biggest investments, so it makes financial sense to have it regularly serviced and maintained.