Common Culprits In Condensing Unit Failures

Air conditioning repair can be extremely complicated. There are many aspects of air conditioning repair that take a true expert to deduce what is really going on inside the system. However, there are a handful of simple problems that seem to present themselves over and over when it comes to condensing units that aren’t operating properly. Some are even easy enough that the average handyman can correct himself. In this article we are going to go over some of the most common air conditioning problems that hvac technicians come across during their service calls.
Dirty condenser coils are a common culprit in a system that is running and seems to be operating to some extent, but not cooling the house like it should. Dirty coils may even cause a condensing unit to trip breakers or blow fuses. A visual inspection of the coils on the condensing unit will reveal whether this is an issue or not. Depending on the make of the condensing unit, the coils may be easy to see or may require some squatting. If the condensing unit has horizontal grills, you will have to get low enough to see under the grills and into the coils. If you do have dirty coils, there are many tutorials around the web that take you through the process of cleaning them.

Dirty evaporator coils are much harder to get to than condenser coils and should be cleaned by a professional service person. They can be found above, below or in some cases to the side of the furnace. A dirty evaporator coil will often provide cold air, but poor air flow at the registers. There is also the possibility of freezing at the evaporator or at the larger copper line at the condenser. An extremely clogged evaporator can render an air conditioning system almost inoperable. This is usually caused by a system that has been operated for an extended period of time without a filter.

A system that is low refrigerant is something that definitely takes a professional to correct. One symptom of a system that is low on charge is frozen lines at the evaporator or at the larger copper line at the condenser. Another sign that indicates an air conditioning system might be low on charge is one that seems to be working to some extent but not able to keep the house cool.

Capacitors are used to start the compressor and keep the condenser fan running. If the condensing unit seems dead outside then you may have a bad dual capacitor that runs both the compressor and fan. If the compressor runs and the fan doesn’t then you may just have a bad fan capacitor. This is a good time to mention that the blower inside the air handler at the furnace also uses a capacitor.

These are some of the common problems that air conditioning repair professionals find when they are on service calls. Keeping your filters changed and your condensing unit free from debris are the main tasks that you can perform to keep your system in a well maintained condition.

Ralph has over twenty years of hvac experience. For service in Broken Arrow, please visit Broken Arrow Hvac or Broken Arrow Air Conditioning

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