Things that Can Cause Your Air Conditioner to Fail

tools on an air conditioner system after it has failed

Nobody wants their air conditioner to stop working when it’s hot outside, and that’s why regular maintenance is so incredibly important. Technicians can often spot the things listed below which are the most common causes of air conditioner failure.

Failure of the Compressor

The compressor is one of the most important parts of your home air conditioner. This is the part of your unit that is typically placed outside, either in your yard on a concrete slab or on the rooftops of apartment buildings. There are a few different things that can cause them to fail, but even with regular maintenance, they are designed to perform about 8,000 hours in their lifetimes.

Bad Electronics

Even in older air conditioning units, there are relays and wires that carry signals back and forth from the various parts of the unit as a whole. Some of these are quite simple in nature, such as the relay that tells the air conditioner when to kick on or off according to the temperature that is shown on the thermostat. Other electronic parts are a bit more complicated, but technicians can usually spot these during annual service calls.

Refrigerant Leak

From time to time, air conditioner units will leak some coolant. When your system has low coolant, this means that the air escaping from your ducts won’t be as cold as it once was. An oil spot or stain is generally the first indicator that refrigerant is leaking from the system, and while there aren’t any EPA requirements to fix the small leaks, it is typically in your best interest to do so. It will allow your unit to cool as efficiently as possible and will save you money in the long run at the same time.

Contaminated Refrigerant

It is absolutely possible for the refrigerant in an air conditioning unit to become contaminated, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to determine whether or not this is the case on your own. Technicians use a sophisticated but simple method of pressure measurement to determine whether or not there are any non-condensable gases present within your cooling lines. If they are present, then this coolant must be recovered and new coolant must be placed into the system.

Other Issues

There are a few other, simpler reasons why your air conditioner may not be properly cooling your home or space. One of these has to do with the thermostat; in some cases, they stop accurately reading air temperature and cause the unit to run too frequently or infrequently to provide ample comfort. In a few cases, failure to change the filter can result in reduced airflow through the vents. Finally, and in rare cases, ductwork can become clogged with debris. This can completely close off airflow to one or more rooms within your home.

As you can see, there are several things that can cause your air conditioning unit to stop functioning properly. Regular system maintenance and checkups can catch all of these issues, though, so make sure that you schedule an appointment annually to have these components examined.