Most Common Causes of A/C Failure

Air conditioning (A/C) improves the living and working conditions for many people during hot weather not only by maintaining a cool interior space but also by removing excess humidity. Periods of intense heat and humidity, such as those often experienced by Iowans during the summer, can often lead to reductions in A/C efficiency or even outright failure. Here are some of the most common causes for A/C failure and what steps you can take to avoid them.

Filter problems

One of the most frequent issues that we find when servicing a client’s A/C unit is a clogged air or furnace filter. Your air filtration system is designed to filter out dust and other particles. If not changed out periodically, your filter can become clogged and severely limit the air-flow through your HVAC system. Dirty air filters can cause many problems. When it comes to keeping your house cool, a dirty air filter can restrict and limit the amount of cooling your A/C unit provides to your home. In addition to low air flow, a clogged filter can cause the rest of your system to become overworked in order to try to compensate. We recommend that you replace your furnace filter at least every 3 months or more frequently based on your filter manufacturer’s recommendations.

Frozen Evaporator Coils

Your ventilation system blows air across the evaporator coils causing the surrounding air to transfer its heat to the refrigerant and cooling the air coming out of your registers. Additionally, any moisture in the air condenses and drips into a collection area and drains away. If the condensate drain is clogged or your space’s air is too saturated with moisture, your evaporator coils can freeze-up which counterintuitively reduces the heat transfer between your coils and the surrounding air. To avoid this condition, make sure that your evaporator’s condensation line is not clogged and use dehumidifiers to help reduce the water vapor in your space’s air system. To find out more information, read our “What Causes A/C Units to Ice Up?” blog.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Your condenser is where the warm refrigerant passes its heat to the air outside of your building. Since the condenser is located outside, it is often exposed to dirt and other substances which can reduce its efficiency. Additionally, the cooling fins can become damaged or bent preventing optimal heat transfer. The best solution for this type of problem is to use a hose to clean the coils and fins and remove any debris that may obstruct airflow. We highly recommend that you contact a professional to correct any bent or broken healing fins. Trying to straighten them yourself may lead to further damage.

Fan Problems

Your A/C unit relies on two fans—one fan to circulate internal air across the evaporator unit and cool the interior space and one fan to blow exterior air over the condenser unit in order to cool the refrigerant. Either of these fans can fail due to lack of lubrication, worn parts, or electrical issues. Annual maintenance by a certified technician can help minimize the failure of these fans and provide you with advance notice that a fan may be developing an issue.

Refrigerant Leaks

As with any system that circulates liquids, a leak is bound to occur eventually. If your A/C unit isn’t cooling as much as it used to, you may be experiencing some sort of refrigerant leak. It is important to contact a professional HVAC technician to assist with this problem. If the leak is not repaired first then simply refilling the refrigerant may yield some short-term relief but will cause additional and unnecessary stress on your other components and will eventually need to be refilled.

Des Moines A/C Repair Service

If you suspect or are experiencing issues with your A/C, give Wyckoff a call. Our technicians have the expertise and experience to fully assess your system and help walk you through your best options. In addition, we can schedule you for routine maintenance that will help sustain your system’s efficiency and extend the life of your components. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!