The summer months are approaching, and already the temperatures are on the rise. This is the time of year when your air conditioning system comes into its own. An air condition unit is one of the hardest-working appliances of all. It will be on the go almost constantly and repeating its cycle over and over again to keep your room cool.
Whether you have a full system that involves ducts around the house or a single-room air conditioner, there are various things that can go wrong. These are appliances the require replacement parts every now and then as some of the elements within will wear out.
How does air conditioning work, and what are the potential problems you may experience? In this article, we will look briefly at the workings of a typical air conditioning unit as well as explain the problems that commonly occur. Let’s begin by talking about how air conditioning keeps your home cool.
A Brief Explanation of How Air Conditioning Works
When you visit a website like Air Pro Heating, Air & Electric of Fayetteville, you will find plenty of information about air conditioning systems. So, how does it work?
Every air conditioning unit features three main elements: the evaporator, the compressor, and the condenser. In basic terms, the air conditioning process works thanks to a law of physics. This is that when a liquid turns to a gas – which happens by way of evaporation – it absorbs heat.
Within the unit will be a series of sealed coils. These are filled with a refrigerator liquid. The coils form the evaporator element of the process. There are also fans that draw the air into the machine and send it back into the room.
The process is as follows: the warm air from the room is drawn into the machine and flows over the coils. The cold refrigerant liquid absorbs the heat, and the air becomes cooler. The liquid refrigerant reacts to the addition by evaporating into a gas. This is then pumped by the compressor towards the condenser. This changes the gas back into a liquid. And the cycle begins again.
While all this is happening, the fan pushes the cool air back into the room, where it reduces the temperature. So, from all of that, we can see immediately that while there are few components in what is actually quite a simple process, there is quite a lot that can go wrong. Let’s look at some common problems with A/C units.
What Can Go Wrong with Air Conditioning?
When air conditioning systems begin to go wrong, it is usually quite easy to recognize. Here are some of the most common signs your unit is failing:
- The temperature in your room is warmer than you have set the unit to regulate.
- There are signs of fluid leakage around the unit.
- The fan stops blowing cool air back into the room.
- The system starts to make unusual noises.
- Your unit doesn’t switch on when the temperature rises.
These are just some of the problems that you will notice, and the causes of such can be many things. The condenser, compressor, and evaporator system are all components with finite lifespans. They will need replacing over time.
The fan can be damaged by debris getting into the system, and this will impair performance. There are various seals within the system that can deteriorate and fail over time.
What you should never do is try and fix an A/C unit yourself. These are specialist appliances, and they need an expert to handle repairs, servicing, and replacement parts. Let’s talk about why this is the case.
Why You Need a Qualified Air Conditioning Expert
Firstly, the regulations regarding refrigerants have become far stricter in the last few years. Many older air conditioning systems – like fridges and freezers – used refrigerants that we now know contribute greatly to the damage to the environment. If your system is, for example, more than ten years old, it may be worth having it inspected to ensure you are not using banned substances.
Furthermore, handling refrigerant liquids is something that should only be done by a trained and qualified expert. The chemicals that are permitted for use in A/C systems can still be dangerous and need to be treated with caution and care. So, if you notice something amiss with your unit, call the experts out straight away as worn or damaged components will only get worse with time, and you may find yourself with a system that needs to be completely replaced at a potentially great expense.
This brings us neatly to the next section, in which we talk about regular maintenance and servicing of your air conditioning system.
How Often Should Your Air Conditioning Unit Be Serviced?
This is an important question and one we felt needed to be included. As we have explained, there are many parts in an A/C unit that are perishable. They will not last forever but should last for many years. However, as most AC units are outdoors, there can be damage to them from inclement weather and from other elements such as debris and general wear and tear.
We strongly recommend you have your unit serviced on an annual basis. This will allow for an expert technician to check all the relevant parts for notable wear. They will replace the parts that need to be renewed and keep your unit working to the best of its ability. Make sure you talk to a local A/C maintenance company and have a regular service plan put in place.
We feel we should stress once more that if you suspect or notice your A/C is not operating as efficiently as it should be or has been, you need to call out an engineer right away. Things will rapidly get worse, and if there are leaks, you need them rectified as quickly as they possibly can be.