3 Mistakes That Will Break Your Home Air Conditioner

May 22, 2014

What if your home’s air conditioner broke in the middle of summer? 
 
We can hazard a guess what would happen: Panic would ensue. You’d scramble for a contractor to come fix it. You may get scammed in the process because you just want air conditioning again and don’t have time to research how to find a good air conditioning contractor.
 
OK, enough doom and gloom. You can avoid all that mess by not making all these 3 mistakes that accidentally kill your air conditioner.

1) Forgetting that the air filter even exists

We understand life gets busy, so some home maintenance tasks gets thrown back ‘til next week (the same time where you’ll start working out).

But we implore you: don’t forget about to change air filter in your return duct. If it gets dirty, it’s basically choking your air conditioner to death.
 
According to ENERGY STAR, “A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.”
 
Basically, once too much dirt gets on the filter, air can’t pass through easily, forcing your central cooling system to work longer and harder to cool your home until it breaks down.
 
Solution: Change the air filter once a month

2) Failing to see the signs of low refrigerant

If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant on a hot day, it will work constantly, running up your utility bills and eventually leading to the A/C breaking down.

If you see these signs, you’re low on refrigerant and you need to call a contractor to fix the refrigerant leaks and add more refrigerant:

  • Ice builds up quickly on the inside A/C unit.
  • A/C runs constantly during the day.
  • A/C blows lukewarm air only during the day buy goes back to normal at night.

But whatever you do, don’t fall for the biggest lie some technicians tell you about refrigerant. 

3) Letting your outside condenser unit wear a dirt sweater

Imagine if you were wearing a sweater on a hot day. Your body would overheat because the wool wouldn’t allow heat to escape your body.

Something similar happens when your air conditioner’s outside unit gets too dirty. The outside unit’s job is to disperse any heat from refrigerant runing through the unit’s condenser coil.
 
But if the condenser coil is dirty, it’s like your air conditioner is wearing a big sweater that won’t let heat escape the refrigerant. This prevents the refrigerant from cooling off, and your air conditioner can’t efficiently cool your air. 
 
Your A/C will desperately keep running to cool your home to match your thermostat’s setting until...well you should know by now.
 
Clean the outside unit once a year using a special air conditioner coil foaming cleaner and a hose sprayer. Or call a professional and ask for an air conditioner tune-up. Cleaning the outside unit is part of typical air conditioner maintenance visit. 
 
Santa Fe Air Conditioning and Heating serves the Kansas City area. For more information, contact us online.