How to Accidentally Kill Your Home’s Air Conditioner

March 03, 2017

“I’m pumped to spend over $5,000 to replace an air conditioner that unexpectedly died!”

(Said no one ever.)

But, unfortunately, replacing your AC is exactly what you could be doing very soon if you’re guilty of any of the following 3 things…

Not changing the filter

Why it kills your AC:

If it’s not replaced regularly, a clogged filter can actually suffocate your AC.

You see, your air conditioner is a lot like you: It needs to breathe in a certain amount of air to operate correctly. Imagine trying to breathe while clamping your hand over your mouth and nose. It’s exhausting, takes a lot of extra work and eventually causes physical harm.

The same goes for your air conditioner when it’s struggling to breathe from a clogged filter. Low airflow entering your AC system can cause your evaporator coils to freeze over and can harm your compressor. (Both of which cost a small fortune to repair or replace.) A clogged filter also puts extra stress on your AC system, especially the blower motor, which can eventually shorten its lifespan considerably.

Want to learn more? Check out our blog, Dirty Air Filter: How it Will Kill Your Home's Air Conditioner.

What to do instead:

Check your air filter regularly (every 1-3 months) and replace it when it’s dirty.

Replace your air filter when it looks like the one to the right.

Time for a new filter but not sure which one to buy? Here’s an air filter buyer’s guide that will help.

Closing air vents

Why it kills your AC:

Despite what many homeowners think, closing air vents in unused areas doesn’t save money; instead, it destroys your evaporative coils and compressor.

Here’s how: Closing vents lowers the amount of warm, unconditioned air that passes over your evaporative coils. And eventually the lack of warm air causes the evaporative coils to freeze over.

Once those coils freeze over, it sends cold, liquid refrigerant to the outdoor unit. Which is a huge problem because your compressor (which sits inside the outdoor unit) is designed to accept refrigerant in only gas form, never liquid. So now, not only are your coils damaged but so is your compressor.

What to do instead:

Leave all air vents open. For an in-depth look at all the reasons you should never close vents, check out our blog “3 Nasty Consequences of Closing Air Vents in Unused Rooms”.

If you’re trying to combat high AC bills, have a professional inspect your home and AC system to see what kind of energy-efficient solutions would work best for you.

Using an AC cover

Why it kills your AC:

A fancy AC cover might be aesthetically pleasing but it can cause your AC to overheat and die.

Source

You see, your outdoor unit is primarily responsible for dumping all the heat absorbed from your home’s air into the outdoor air. And it needs plenty of breathing room for the “heat dumping” process to take place, otherwise it will overheat.

How your outdoor unit dumps heat into the outdoor air.

Source

But covering the outdoor unit prevents it from properly dumping that heat into the outdoor air. Which means your compressor has to work harder and longer to try and cool your home.

And when your compressor works harder it pulls more amperage than it should, causing it to run much hotter than normal. If this happens continuously, your compressor will eventually burn out and die.

And replacing a compressor is so pricey ($1500+) that most of the time it makes more financial sense to replace the entire AC system.

What to do instead:

Don’t use AC covers. Also, make sure that any bushes, trees or fences are at least 3 feet away from your outdoor unit.

We also suggest cleaning your outdoor unit regularly. Use a hose on a gentle setting to spray away any layer of dirt that might suffocate your unit. But for best results, have your AC serviced at least once a year to keep your outdoor unit clean and working properly.

Guilty of any of these? Consult a Kansas tech

If you’re guilty of any of the above 3 things, just call us.

We’ll send over a tech to inspect your AC system to make sure it’s still healthy.


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