As the weather heats up, make sure you don’t go into the long, hot summer with an overheating AC. An air conditioner that’s running too hot can’t do an effective job of keeping you cool when outdoor temperatures soar. Moreover, critical system parts including the compressor — the most expensive single component in a central air conditioner — can be permanently damaged by excessive operating temperatures. To ensure your AC is reliable and efficient while it keeps your home comfortable, here are some factors to keep in mind this summer.
- Change the air filter monthly. A dirty filter obstructs proper system airflow. This means the air conditioner runs increasingly longer cycles to sustain consistently cool indoor temperatures. Extended cycles may cause overheating to occur at the compressor, the blower fans, and other parts, leading to malfunction or early failure of these components. Replace the air filter every month with a pleated cotton or polyester filter rated at least 8 on the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) scale.
- Get the condenser coil cleaned. The condenser coil located in the outdoor AC component disperses heat extricated from the house into outdoor air. If the coil is dirty, coated with dust, or clogged by leaves or other debris, it will not effectively disperse heat. This can cause an air conditioner to overheat. Coil inspection and cleaning is part of annual preventive maintenance provided by a professional HVAC contractor. If you haven’t scheduled annual maintenance, get it done before the hot weather hits.
- Have the refrigerant checked. A low refrigerant charge in your air conditioner is another factor that may trigger excessively long cycles. Low refrigerant typically leads to overheating and, eventually, total system shutdown. An air conditioner doesn’t consume refrigerant like an engine may use up oil. If the refrigerant charge in your AC is low, it’s almost certainly the result of a small leak somewhere. Pinpointing and repairing a refrigerant leak, then restoring the refrigerant to the proper level, is a job for a qualified HVAC service technician.
For professional service to repair an overheating AC, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.