The air conditioner is an amazing piece of technology. But it isn’t an infallible one. Air conditioning units have been known to break down from time to time – and if they’re misused this can happen often. In this article, we’ll examine problems that might crop up with an air conditioner, the sources of those problems, and the ways in which they might be fixed. Let’s begin, shall we?
Not enough maintenance
Like any technology of the sort, an air conditioner can suffer stress over time. This damage will in turn impact the performance of the unit. When filters and coils gather dirt, they cease to work properly. This in turn will put more pressure on compressors and fans, causing them to fail. If this deterioration is not checked, the end result can be total failure!
Replacing these components can be a costly business. It’s therefore often better in the long run to have the system looked at by an engineer at regular intervals, so that problems can be identified and dealt with before they can cause further complications.
Air conditioners work by funnelling a special liquid from one area of a building to another. This liquid is squeezed by a special compressor in order that it change temperature, and thereby absorb and release heat, which is spread to the desired area using fans.
If there isn’t enough of this refrigerant in your air-conditioning system, the results can be undesirable. Typically, this can happen either as a result of the system not being properly filled when it was last serviced (or installed), or because of a leak.
In the latter instance, simply adding more refrigerant is not going to solve the problem, as it will immediately leak again. Refrigerant leaks are not only detrimental to your air conditioner’s performance; they can damage the environment, too. It’s therefore important to get the problem fixed as soon as possible – even if you aren’t reliant on your air conditioner functioning properly.
You’ll need to call in a qualified engineer to service your system – they’ll be able to pinpoint any leaks and refill the system with refrigerant. Make sure that it is a qualified engineer, since putting too much charge into a system can be as detrimental as too little.
Not only can the components themselves suffer from damage over time, but so too can the electrical circuitry responsible for controlling them. If you’re turning your air conditioner on and off regularly, this decay can happen all the more quickly. Corrosion is also a problem, and so a good engineer will always make a point of checking terminals and wiring for damage, securing replacements where necessary.
Air conditioners work using a thermostat to monitor the temperature of the evaporator coil. If this sensor should become inadvertently moved, then it will not be able to properly monitor the temperature, and the system will behave improperly. The conditioner will ‘think’ that the temperature is higher than it actually is, and so attempt to compensate by driving the fans harder.
Fortunately, this particular problem has a simple solution – move the sensor into a position closer to the coil by bending the wire holding it in position. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, then get an engineer to do it for you.
Problems with drainage
In particularly humid conditions, condensation is prone to forming on the outside of an air conditioner. If this extra moisture has nowhere to run to, then this can lead to problems.
The most common cause of drainage issues is an improperly mounted unit. If the unit is not level, then moisture can become trapped. Make a point of regularly checking the unit to see that this is not happening.
Many problems with air conditioners are brought about by improper operation. You can avoid most of them by simply adhering to good practice. Don’t leave windows open while the air conditioner is on; this will cause it to work much harder, and thereby shorten its lifespan. If your air conditioning unit is designed to serve a single room, then this applies to doors adjoining other areas of the building.
Generally speaking, air conditioning systems are durable and precisely-engineered; they’ll withstand a great deal of punishment without suffering irreversible damage. One of the features designed to preserve an air-conditioner is a pressure switch which will cause the unit to cut out when the pressure of the refrigerant grows too high. When this happens, you can solve the problem by simply pressing the reset switch, usually located on the access panel.