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5 Causes of an Air Conditioner Failure You Need to Know About

Published on: April 22, 2021

IMPORTANT NOTE: . Our company is located in British Columbia, Canada. If you are reading this article in another location, we hope you enjoy the information, but unfortunately we cannot service you. 

Sometimes no matter how well we treat things like our air conditioning, there are some elements that end up causing your unit to fail when it’s needed the most. Thankfully, the majority of these problems can usually be fixed or maintained by a technician. However, it’s a good idea to fully understand the main causes of why an air conditioner’s failure may occur. That way, you can get a repair job done more smoothly if and when the time comes and in some cases prevent these failures from happening in the first place. So with that said, let’s go over five major causes of an air conditioner failure and what can be done about them.

  1. A clogged air filter

This is one of the easiest problems to both detect and prevent from getting worse. A clogged air filter will not only deter cool air from flowing in and out, but also it will force the unit to work harder than it needs to in order to produce the cooled air effect. The unit itself can’t tell why it’s clogged in the first place. That’s why it’s up to us to remove the filter and either clean it out or replace the too-dirty or dusty filter with a new one. Whichever you do to avert this completely preventable failure will depend on the make and model of your air conditioner.

  1. Electrical problems

A failure in your A/C unit can happen from a few electrical problems:

  • Poor electrical connections. These are more frequently seen in air conditioners that are well past their warranty and are old.
  • Bad wiring. This can happen as a result of wires deteriorating, corrosion, or faulty wires. Bad wiring can be best identified should your circuit breaker be tripped constantly while the air conditioner is on.
  • Overheated capacitors and contactors. A lot of electrical charge goes into these components, which creates the potential for them to get extra hot. When the outside temperature rises, even more heat will be generated from these two parts and thus cause failures.

The majority of electrical problems should never, ever be handled as a DIY project since the end result could end up being fatal electrocution. Diagnosing and fixing the problem is best left to a professional technician.

  1. Damaged components

An air conditioner is built up of several components, a few of which we mentioned before are electrical. The two parts that are most likely to cause the entire cooling system to fail include:

  • The fans/fan motors. There are two fans that are typically found inside of an A/C unit. One blows air over the outdoor A/C unit’s condenser to expel absorbed heat outside of the building, and the other blows the indoor air over the evaporator coil to cool it down. The motors for these fans can fail if they’re faulty. Other causes of the fans failing is too much dirt and debris buildup, wear and tear to the belts, or a lack of lubrication.
  • The compressor. Losing this part is the equivalent of a death sentence for your air conditioner, sadly. It’s the heart of the system and the most difficult to replace on its own. An entire replacement of the system itself is recommended in case this component fails you.
  1. A faulty thermostat

This is another component that if it fails on its own means trouble. The thermostat is what informs the air conditioner when to turn on and off in order to keep your home at your desired temperature. However, it’s possible for a thermostat to get out of calibration or break, which will cause the temperature in your home to fluctuate.

That’s why if your air conditioner is failing, be sure to check the thermostat first and make sure it’s reading the temperature properly. If it is, then the issue lies with another component connected to it. Again, this task is best left to a technician to diagnose and treat since there are several underlying causes of a faulty thermostat.

  1. Frozen Coils

Frozen coils are what happen when there’s a problem with airflow and the evaporator’s coil gets too cold. It sounds counter-productive, but heat is what needs to be absorbed in order for your unit to cool the air down. The heat is typically soaked in by the refrigerant located inside of the evaporator coil. If the coil is frozen however, then a lack of cool air or warm air is what your unit is going to produce instead.

How to Prevent These Causes

The majority of these causes may require a technician’s touch to resolve. However, you can prevent these causes from happening to your A/C unit by doing the following:

  • Clean out or replace the air filter before switching the A/C on.
  • Inspect the unit’s more delicate parts for potential cracks or damage.
  • Do an exterior tidy-up, especially for heat pumps.
  • Perform cleaning and maintenance tasks regularly, not just once in a while or as soon as you remember you own an air conditioner.
  • Ask your technician to check on the more vulnerable and complex components, such as the capacitor, the compressor, and the thermostat.

For more preventive maintenance tips please refer to our previous blog post “How to Prepare Your Air Conditioning for the Warmer Seasons.”

Need Some Help Before Summer Hits?

Take action now while it’s spring as opposed to reaching out for help during summer. Spring is a low season for the HVAC industry, so if you need someone to spend time on fixing or tuning up your A/C unit, we’ve got you covered. At Rep-Air Heating And Cooling we provide our customers with many options that will best suit your needs from heating and cooling to refrigeration. Contact us today for your complimentary quote: 1-778-728-1476 or and don’t forget to take a look at our website: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for free giveaways!

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