Your air conditioner is a silent worker. It works hard to give your family comfort all year long and improve your SoCal home’s indoor air quality.
However, your ubiquitous AC is not exempt from wear and tear. Like most of us who go through annual physical exams, to check for illnesses and ensure good health, our ACs also need regular servicing.
Proper and regular AC maintenance, inspection, cleaning, and tune-up ensure your unit’s optimal performance and long years of service.
On the other hand, neglecting AC maintenance increases energy consumption and lowers your unit’s efficiency and performance.
7 Common Air Conditioner Issues Caused by Poor AC Maintenance
Most SoCal AC owners make the common mistake of ignoring their unit after installation. When your AC is not serviced, it cannot perform at it’s best.
Worse, your AC can break down just when you need it the most, during extremely hot or cold seasons and require costly repairs.
Here are common air conditioner issues that arise from lack of regular servicing:
1) Refrigeration Leaks
The refrigerant charge of your AC should exactly match the manufacturer’s specifications to work correctly. Your air conditioner runs low on refrigerant if your HVAC installer undercharged it during installation or if a refrigerant leak is present,
Over time, rust can form on assembly joints and the outdoor unit resulting in refrigerant leakage. Freon can also leak from worn-out service valve rubber seals.
Refrigerant leaks are dangerous to your health and can cause headaches, coughing, breathing difficulty, skin and eye irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Freon leaks are also an environmental hazard.
You can detect a leak by applying a soap solution to suspected areas. Bubbles will form at refrigerant leak points.
Contact an HVAC professional immediately to repair refrigerant leaks, recharge your unit with Freon, and dispose of the excess refrigerant properly.
2) Frozen Coils
Your AC coils may be frozen when your air conditioner blows warm air on the cooling settings or stop distributing air in the room. Check if there are ice layers of frost in your indoor unit.
Frozen coils can arise from a failure in different parts of the AC system.
- Broken Thermostats – If the Thermostat senses the wrong temperature, it will improperly control the AC and overwork it. Frost can form on a worn-out AC unit’s coil.
- Dirty Air Filters – Filthy filters block hot air from getting in and cold air from coming out. Coils get cold and freeze when air does not properly circulate through them.
- Clogged Condensate Lines – The AC collects moisture from humidity and condenses it to water. Water stuck in a clogged pipe turns to ice and eventually freezes the AC coil.
- Broken Fan – A malfunctioning fan motor or dirty fan blades prevents regular airflow, causing AC coil freezing.
- Refrigerant Leaks – Refrigerant absorbs heat. It will absorb more heat than it should if it leaks and eventually freezes the refrigerant line and AC coils.
If you see ice forming in your coils or any part of your air conditioner, turn off the unit. Try to thaw the ice carefully and remove water that drips from the unit. Contact an HVAC professional immediately for repairs.
3) Uneven Room Temperature
For central HVAC systems, clogged or leaking ductwork can cause uneven room temperature. You lose 30% of the air from leaking or poorly connected ductwork. Blocked vents can also disrupt airflow and cause uneven temperatures – close vents in unoccupied rooms to push air in other areas of the house.
Contact an HVAC professional to clean your air ducts and seal leaking ductwork.
4) Foul Odor
Bacteria, mold, and mildew might be thriving in your evaporator coils if you notice a musty smell. This dark and damp area in your AC unit is an ideal spot for fungi and bacteria to multiply. If in this case, your AC’s evaporator coil will need a good scrub to remove all the gunk and eliminate the smell.
Checking the evaporator coils and cleaning them involves opening the unit and removing certain parts. If you are unfamiliar with the AC parts and the process, better seek professional help.
5) Poor Indoor Air Quality
Poor indoor air quality happens due to dirty and clogged air ducts and air filters that prevent proper air circulation. Outdoor air pollutants can also come into your home, which dirty filters cannot catch and remove.
Short-term exposure to poor air quality can cause dizziness, sinus congestion, headaches, fatigue, eye, nose, skin, or throat irritation. People with asthma, chronic diseases, the young, and the elderly are more prone to allergies and other respiratory illnesses from constant exposure to poor indoor air quality.
Clean and replace air filters regularly. Use polyester and pleated air filters to remove up to 45% of all allergens and pollutants in the air.
6) High Energy Bills
Lack of AC servicing jacks up your energy bills. When you do not check for failing parts, duct leaks, dirty filters, and low refrigerant, you set up your system to work overtime. When your AC uses up more energy to reach your desired room temperature, your energy bill also increases.
7) AC Unit Breakdown
Ignoring the tell-tale signs of AC problems can result in your unit’s breakdown.
A simple problem with dirty air filters can escalate to frozen or broken evaporator coils that will need costly replacement. Continuous AC operation even when the refrigerant leaks and the condenser lines and AC coils are frozen can ice up your unit and cause it to stop working.
Home Comfort USA’s 32-Point Tune-Up
Prevention is always better than cure. To ensure that your air conditioner runs at full capacity, our Home Comfort USA HVAC technicians will perform a thorough 32-Point Tune-Up that includes:
- Checking thermostat accuracy
- Checking for refrigerant leaks
- Ductwork inspection for clogs and leaks
- Air Filter cleaning
- Condenser coil cleaning
- Airflow measurement through the evaporator coil
- Verifying correct electric control sequence
- Inspecting electrical terminals and tightening connections
- Motor Oiling
- Checking belt tightness
We will ensure that your AC unit operates stress-free and consumes low electricity to conserve energy and save money on your next energy bills.