Summer heat and humidity can make Charleston quite uncomfortable, so discovering that your air conditioner isn't cooling is an unpleasant surprise. In addition, chances are you're concerned about the cost of air conditioning repairs, which may increase your displeasure about the situation.
The good news is that the reason for your air conditioner's poor performance may be due to one of several simple causes. In fact, there is a decent likelihood that your air conditioning woes are caused by a relatively easy-to-resolve problem.
Below are three common and readily corrected causes that you should explore if your air conditioner isn't cooling.
Thermostat Setting Error
Before assuming that your air conditioner is failing, take a closer look at the thermostat to be sure it is set correctly. Thermostats are the control centers of air conditioners and will faithfully execute any command given to them, even if the command isn't what the user had in mind.
One relatively common thermostat programming error is setting the fan to run continuously instead of intermittently. Homeowners frequently set the fan to on in the mistaken belief that it will provide a flow of constant cold air.
However, the on setting does not directly affect the cooling function of the air conditioner. Instead, the fan will operate regardless of whether cool air is being produced. That means the airflow may feel lukewarm when the compressor is turned off and refrigerant isn't moving through the system.
Fortunately, the solution to the problem is simple. Simply change the fan setting to auto, as this will cause the fan to function only when the compressor is also moving refrigerant and, therefore, cooling your home. If you wish to maintain continuous air circulation in your home, use strategically placed fans or ceiling fans.
Low Refrigerant Level
A low refrigerant level will also cause an air conditioner to produce uncooled air. Refrigerants, such as Freon, transfer heat from your home to the outside atmosphere at the condenser coil. An insufficient amount of refrigerant can prevent the air conditioner from capturing and transferring all of the available heat, thus leaving the airflow too warm.
The solution to low refrigerant levels is to add enough refrigerant to make up for lost amounts. However, keep in mind that air conditioning professionals should add the refrigerant, as any existing refrigerant line leaks must be repaired first. Even without leaks, adding refrigerant requires skill and knowledge, so be sure to permit the experts to take care of this particular task.
Dirty Evaporator or Condenser Coil
Another problem that can prevent your air conditioner from providing a cool breeze is dirt or other debris in the evaporator or condenser coils. These vital components are where heat is exchanged with the surrounding air, so dust, dirt, cobwebs, hair, lint, and other types of debris will keep them from functioning with efficiency.
The fix is fairly simple, fortunately, as cleaning the debris from the evaporator and condenser coils isn't difficult. Use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove loose debris, then spray the coils with an approved coil-cleaning solution. Solutions can be purchased from home improvement stores and air conditioning parts suppliers.
Once the solution has soaked for the amount of time recommended by the product manufacturer, rinse the coils with clean water to remove leftover debris. Just be sure to disconnect electrical power before cleaning the coils to prevent damage or shocks.
Should you have any questions about your air conditioner's operation, be sure to contact Charleston Heating & Air for help. Their professionals are able to assist you with all maintenance and repair needs, so call them today.