Top Reasons for Your Home Air Conditioner Failing

During the hottest months of the year, your air conditioner can become one of the most prized appliances within your home. This is especially true when temperatures reach into the 100’s, and it’s difficult to focus without the constant blast of cool air.

While most of the year you’ll be able to rely on your a/c unit to run smoothly, this isn’t always guaranteed. Since these units work so hard when they’re on, you could end up with yours failing when you least expect it. To help avoid this, take a look at the most common reasons for failure below.

1. Leaked Refrigerant

Refrigerant is one of the most important parts of keeping your air conditioning unit running with enough cold air. This is why a leak that causes refrigerant levels to decrease can wreak havoc on your air conditioner’s ability to work. While this can be repaired in many situations, extended use of your a/c unit without balanced refrigerant levels can ruin it completely and require a replacement. Refilling and charging refrigerant is something that only a licensed a/c repair tech can and should do.

2. Worn or Damaged Parts Inside the A/C

The compression, fan blades, fuses, and wiring inside of your air conditioner must all be in good conditioner for the unit to run properly. If one of these begins to break down or breaks completely, then the unit as a whole can fail. While replacing some parts may help, it’s also possible that the unit could be a total loss and require replacement. If you’re worried about the parts inside of your a/c being in good shape, then it’s important to have regular maintenance done by an experienced technician.

3. Broken Thermostat

If you have recently replaced your thermostat, incorrect installation could be the cause of your air conditioner not working. It’s recommended to have a professional take a look at the thermostat to determine what the problem is and if it’s related to the a/c not working. It’s also important to read through the handbook to understand how to use the new thermostat properly. “If your thermostat is older, you may want to consider having it replaced in order to keep your a/c running efficiently,” says John from

4. Failed Capacitor

The capacitor inside of your air conditioner stores energy and will have a lot of electricity flowing through it as your air conditioner is running. This can cause it to overheat, especially on really hot days when it’s working for several hours. In some situations, this part can be replaced, although this is not guaranteed. If the unit as a whole has failed, then it may not work again.

5. Failed Compressor

An a/c compressor is perhaps one of the most important parts of this unit as a whole. Similar to a car’s engine, an a/c cannot work without it. While this will last for a while, it can break down over time due to extended use. If this does happen, then it’s recommended to consider the price of a replacement versus replacing the air conditioning unit as a whole. Since these parts are so expensive, it’s generally a better option to replace the entire air conditioner unit if it breaks down.

6. Debris in the Unit

When an air conditioner is covered in dirt, mud, and other debris, then it can begin to experience issues running normally. For this reason, it’s important to keep your a/c unit clean, especially when the weather outside isn’t the best. You can do this by removing the top and side panels after turning the unit off at the breaker. From there, dust off any dirt and clean off debris that may have gotten stuck inside. If you’re nervous about doing this yourself, then don’t hesitate to call a professional to do this for you. They can clean and maintain your unit regularly to make the task easier.

7. Frozen Evaporator Coil

If your air filter is not regularly cleaned and dirt or dust builds up, this can lead to problems with airflow. When this happens, the unit is not able to sufficiently cool, and the evaporator coils on it may begin to freeze with ice and frost surrounding them. This can cause damage to the ground as water leaks, but more importantly, it can mean your a/c isn’t working as it should. Fortunately, this may be an easy fix if you’re able to clean the air filter and get the coils thawed out. However, if you aren’t sure how to go about cleaning, a professional technician can take care of it for you.

8. Broken Contactor

The contractor is responsible for turning the a/c on and off based on the temperature that the thermostat is set at. If this is worn out, it will cause the a/c unit to remain off. Fortunately, this is a part that can be replaced by a skilled a/c technician.

9. Broken Fan Motor

Fan motors today are made better than ever and can run for years despite facing harsh temperatures and weather conditions outside. However, they will not last forever. If your a/c unit has stopped working, the fan motor may very well have broken. A replacement or repair may be necessary and can cost you anywhere from $300 to $500 depending on the severity of the problem and the type of unit you have.

10. Blocked Pipes

A blocked pipe can be caused by leaves, wood, dirt, dust, and mud that builds up over time. When this happens, it can lead to damage to the air conditioner and problems with airflow. If you notice the drain pan is filled up, then call a technician to help diagnose the problem. They can also help with cleaning out the pipe or replacing those that are damaged.

What’s Wrong With Your A/C Unit?

If your a/c stops working at any time, don’t think it’s a lost cause and must be replaced. Instead, take a look at the unit to see if there are any signs of distress. If you can’t find obvious blockages or frozen coils, then call in a professional a/c technician to help you. They will evaluate the unit to identify the cause of the problem and whether or not part replacements are the best options.

If your unit is older, you may want to consider replacing the unit as a whole to avoid constant repairs. However, if your unit is newer, then repairs may be all you need to keep the a/c running for years to come.

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