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The Main Warning Signs and Causes of Air Conditioning Failure

Preparation is the best prevention for trouble of any kind. With any mechanical or technological application such as air conditioning, prevention, maintenance and repair are critical to getting optimum performance, economy and longevity from your equipment. The trouble is, if you don’t recognize the warning signs and know the most important things to inspect, you will be operating in the dark.

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Common Warning Signs of Air Conditioning Trouble

  • Unusual noises: Excessive noises are often one of the most apparent indications of air conditioning trouble. Fan motor bearings can start to chatter or squeal, pump belts can wear and slip, and moving components can become clogged or fouled with debris and other buildup. All of these can be easily handled with early warning. Left too long, however, any of them can precipitate unwanted wear and damage to your air conditioning unit.

  • Presence of excessive humidity or water condensation: Your air conditioning unit should easily drain away condensation from the coils. Every AC device has a simple collection pan and drain tube for this purpose. While the problem is usually quite simply handled by the replacement of a rusted-out collection pan or the clearing of a clogged drain tube, left unattended, the adverse effects can be some of the most dramatic and costly. Water can run down inside walls or ceilings, cause dangerous mold or mildew to form, and cause unsightly and costly structural damage.

  • Freezing AC coils: Efficient operation of air conditioning depends on proper circulation of Freon and air. Usually, this is not a problem, as units are designed to cycle in sufficient intervals to assure cooling coils do not form ice, and many actually have a heating circuit to regularly clear away ice buildup. However, units that become fouled with dust and dirt may become restricted and freeze, or the unit may require recalibration.

  • Clogged Ventilation Grills: This is one of the primary causes of air conditioning failure. A simple annual cleaning of these and other critical components as mentioned above will help to ensure a full equipment lifetime of optimum service.

Other Important Air Conditioning Clues to Watch For

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  • Ineffective cooling: You may have a blocked sensor or your air conditioning unit may need recharging. There could also be a Freon leak. Another issue might be with the thermostat.

  • Intermittent operation, premature shutoff, or no operation: These could result from a number of factors, such as problems with thermostats, sensors, compressor motors, fans, or calibrations. Electrical shorts can cause breakers to throw. Most will demand inspection and testing by a competent technician with the right tools. Your help will be needed, however, by carefully noting any and all of the signs you have observed. These may well clue your serviceman to the exact problem.

Air Conditioning Experts Mean Best Long-Term Value

Remember, while you may well handle some of the simpler situations quickly and easily yourself, such as cleaning of vents or replacing a thrown drive belt, the cost savings of avoiding a yearly maintenance check of the overall air conditioning system may be hiding a much greater cost of prolonged running with faulty settings, maladjustments, failing parts and unattended hidden issues. Missing these may cause an early failure and need for costly replacement of additional parts or the entire the air conditioning system.

And don’t forget, most such equipment will tend to fail when it is under peak stress, meaning you will most likely experience service outage during the hottest part of the season. Many reputable HVAC service providers offer service plans and options to save customers money and inopportune breakdowns. Check with your local air conditioning service company today and find out what your options are.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Alley Heating & Air Conditioning and a clickable link back to this page.

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