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Written on: April 26, 2017

Every summer, we fix air conditioning problems — some simple, some tricky. Here’s a closer look at a few of these problems and how we solve them. We’ve also provided hot tips to help you avoid problems from happening!

why does an a/c system stop making cool air?

One of the most common problems we see is an air conditioning system that runs but fails to generate any cool air. When we dispatch our technician on a call like this, he will begin his diagnosis by checking out these typical causes:

In some cases, our technician may find an ice buildup on the evaporator coil and stains on the refrigerant piping. This usually indicates a loss of refrigerant. A few tests will confirm the diagnosis. If a system has lost too much refrigerant, it can no longer cool the home properly.

The technician’s solution: He will use a detector to find and fix a leak in the refrigerant line. Next, he will recharge the system with the proper amount of refrigerant so cool air can flow again.

If you have an old system that uses R-22 refrigerant, adding more can be a costly expense. See related article down below to see how you can avoid this.

Gallons of water

why does an a/c system leak water?

Your air conditioning equipment creates cold air by passing warm air over the indoor evaporator (cooling) coil. This causes condensation to form and flow off the coil. During normal operation, a cooling system produces large amounts of water from condensation.

Normally, the water exits through a drainage system. But if the drain line gets clogged, water backs up and spills over the drain pan and into your house. If it’s not detected right away, you could be facing expensive water damage.

We can stop this from happening. When we do annual service on your a/c system, we’ll clean the coil and flush the condensation line to prevent dirt buildup in your system. We can also install a float switch, which will automatically shut down your system if a drainage problem occurs.

In a typical a/c system, about 27 gallons of water go down the drain every day!

how your home gets cool

Central A/C diagram

Liquid refrigerant enters the coil of the indoor unit (A), absorbs heat and cools the air, which is then blown through ducts (B). The vaporized refrigerant, which now carries heat, is piped (C) to the outdoor unit (D) where it is compressed back into a liquid and the heat is released outside.

(That’s why you feel hot air coming out of the back of your outdoor air conditioning unit.)

should you repair or replace?

Use this guide to help you decide whether it’s best to repair your system or purchase a new one.

AGE OF SYSTEMLess than 10 years
More than 10 years
  • Older systems use R-22 refrigerant, which is expensive.
  • Older systems are less efficient and cost more to repair.
Less than 50% cost of new unit
  • Unit still under warranty
  • Less than two repairs in last 10 years
50% more than cost of new unit
  • Any repairs after warranty expires
  • Any repairs after 10 years and older
More than 13-SEER
  • If it’s still efficient, it may be worth keeping.
Less than 13-SEER
  • New units have ratings up to 20-SEER. You save money long-term because of higher efficiency.

are you spending more to be less comfortable?

If your system is not keeping your home as comfortable as before and your electric bills have been getting higher, ask us to evaluate your equipment. It could be that it is reaching the end of its life span and should be replaced. If your system still has some life in it, the main problem may be a lack of maintenance.

Over time, dirt and debris build up inside a system, lowering its efficiency. Not only will your home become less comfortable, but you will spend a lot more money on electric bills. You also risk a costly repair and the loss of your manufacturer’s equipment warranty, which can be voided if a proper maintenance schedule is not followed.

That’s why it’s so important to get your air conditioning system serviced at least once a year!

On your own, you should change or clean the system’s air filter about once a month to keep the system running as efficiently as possible.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing or cleaning your filter.

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