The Most Frequent Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Problems

woman turning on an AC unit with a remote controlAir conditioners are engineered to cool and dehumidify the air. So, it will come as no surprise that the most frequent air conditioning repair and maintenance needs are for loss of cooling or water leakage. Our technicians find the root of AC problems nearly always fall into one (or more) of three categories: dirt, electrical, water (I remember this by the letters D– E– W).

Air conditioning problem no1: Dirt

A typical home contains about 800 pounds of air. All of this air moves through the filter, coil, and blower every 8 minutes or so while the air conditioner is running.  Every hour, about a third of that air, is lost through leakage and replaced by another 250 pounds or so of unfiltered air from outdoors. Inexpensive filters are only 8-12% effective against even large airborne particles (the washable ‘green rug’ filters are the worst at about 3%). That means a dirt particle can travel through the system a dozen or more times before the filter has a chance to catch it.

When microorganisms see dirt they think, “FOOD.” Biological growth on the coil and in the duct is certainly disgusting, smelly, and unhealthy. But it is also damaging, as growth colonies left unchecked will block airflow, clog drains, and irritate allergies.

Dirt in all its forms is the number-one cause of AC equipment failure. The good news is, a good quality filter will take away the food source. A high-quality ultraviolet light system will kill biological growth before becomes a problem. We’ll talk more about these some other time – let’s move on to our next issue.

Air conditioning problem no2: Electrical

Hundreds of electrical connections in your air conditioner are held together by friction. Now that in and of itself is not a bad thing. But these connections – whether twisted, screwed, or plugged in – will all loosen over time. Every part of your air conditioner unit is subjected to temperature extremes, vibration, and moisture for more than 2,000 hours each year. The connections are designed to be safe and effective. But over time, even the best electrical connection will loosen and corrode.

Fuses in your air conditioner and electrical panel are for your safety and protection. If a fuse trips, you can safely reset it once. If it trips again, NEVER RESET IT A SECOND TIME. Leave the air conditioner off and call a trained professional. Your air conditioner runs on 240 volts – twice the power and far more deadly than what comes out of your wall socket. Never remove protective covers to see what’s going on inside. Electrical inspections and repairs, no matter how minor, should only be made by a trained professional.

Air conditioning problem no3:  Water

Your air conditioner removes thousands of gallons of water from your home every year. Of all the things that can go wrong with an AC system, water does the most damage in the shortest time. Even a few ounces on ceiling drywall can lead to hundreds of dollars in expensive repairs.

A bit of dirt on a coil or in a pipe can cause water to travel where it does not belong. Once it meets dirt (remember your filter) water provides the final ingredient to make biological soup on your coil, duct, or drain. Water will quickly corrode or condense on electrical connections and circuit boards. In each case, the effect is a costly repair. All these, and more, are addressed with a thorough maintenance service and inspection.

What to Do About D-E-W

Benjamin Franklin almost certainly crafted the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The vast majority of service issues and their expensive cures can be prevented by routine maintenance and inspection. That’s why at Complete Comfort we offer Comfort Club membership to everyone we serve. It is a demonstrable fact that over the lifetime of an air conditioner, maintenance pays for itself many times over.

Start saving money today. Call our air conditioning repair company in South Florida on (561) 529-6262 to learn more.