Why is it that in the hottest days of the summer, when we need our air conditioners most, they break down? You’ve heard the stories from friends or relatives – how their air conditioners quit working on days topping 100 degrees, requiring a long wait for AC repair or even replacement. Maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself, suffering in the sweltering heat while you wait for an AC repairman, or staying at a hotel (if you’re lucky). Before it gets that hot, here’s some food for thought on why your air conditioner cuts out on those dog days of summer.
The main reason your air conditioner is more likely to break down during summer months is pretty logical – you’re using it a ton, so it has more opportunities to malfunction. One proactive thing you can do is look at ways to lower the usage of your air conditioner.
Another culprit for breakdowns is simply the age of your air conditioner. The older it gets, the more likely it is to quit on you, especially when usage is high. If you notice repeated problems with your air conditioner, and it is more than ten years old, consider talking to a professional about a new unit that’s appropriate for your home.
A dirty air filter can cause your AC unit to function poorly, or stop working entirely. With dirt covering the air filter, the unit can only draw in (and push out) smaller quantities of air to be cooled. A combination of cleaning the unit’s air filter monthly, and replacing it as necessary, will help keep your unit running at peak efficiency.
Dirty coils in your air conditioner can cause it to overheat and break down. The coils in an air conditioner are constantly working to push cool air through the AC unit, ducts, and throughout your house. If these coils are continuously covered in particles and unable to release moisture, the unit can’t function properly. Regular cleaning will help limit the amount of dirt and dust that accumulate on the coils.
Low refrigerant levels can be caused by holes in the refrigerant lines of your AC unit. Refrigerant is what cools the air, and if it drips out of the lines, the unit has to work harder to push a smaller amount through, resulting in an AC unit that is running high but not producing cool air.
Aside from mechanical issues specific to your air conditioner, there are also other instruments connected to it that can create problems. The functioning of your air conditioner is dependent on both the thermostat and the sensors in your home. If either of these instruments is broken, they can impact the performance of your AC unit.