air conditioning
Why is My Air Conditioning Not Working? What to do & How to Fix it!

There are few things worse than coming home during the summer, wanting to relax in a comfortable, cool home, only to find out the AC is on the fritz. And despite putting fans in the bedroom, you just can’t sleep as comfortably when it’s hot without an effective air conditioner.

In this article, we look at the many reasons why your air conditioner might stop working, why it’s not cooling your home anymore, and what you should do when it does go out.

How Air Conditioners Work

Before we get into why your air conditioner might stop working, it’s good to know how the whole system works so you can better diagnose and understand the problem before you call for help.

The modern home air conditioning system is made up of two units, the indoor unit and the outdoor unit. The indoor unit is usually installed in a closet or where your furnace is located. This unit contains the evaporator which works with the refrigerant to absorb the heat from the air. By pulling the heat out of the air, the air becomes cool, which is pumped back out into your home.

The outdoor unit houses the compressor, the condenser coil and the fan. The outdoor unit is responsible for taking the heat absorbed by the indoor unit and passing onto the compressor which is the heart of your system and moves the refrigerant through the system to keep your home cool. The compressor compresses the refrigerant to a higher pressure and moves it on to the condenser, and then on to the fan. This whole system operates much like your circulatory system and as you can see, there are many parts involved, which when they break down, can cause your air conditioner to stop working.

Why My Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling

Now we know the nuts and bolts of how your air conditioner system operates, let’s look at why it might stop cooling your home.

With so many pieces to the puzzle, a failure at any point can cause your air conditioner to blow warm air or stop working altogether. The following are the most common reasons why your air conditioner isn’t cooling your home.

  1. Thermostat Problems If the compressor is the heart of your air conditioner, then the thermostat is the brain, and when the brain fails, it can bring the entire system to its knees. If your ac isn’t cooling your home, check the thermostat to see if it’s set to the correct temperature. Also check to see if it’s set to “ON” or “AUTO”. Change it to “AUTO” because the “ON” setting allows the fan to stay on all the time even when the system isn’t cooling. Also, thermostats do go bad, so it’s worth checking to see if it needs repaired.
  2. Clogged Air Filters This one gets overlooked all the time, but it’s essential for the health of your air conditioner to keep your air filters clean by changing them regularly. The air filter traps dust, dirt, and debris and keeps your entire system clean. When it’s clogged, the airflow becomes restricted, and it makes the system work harder, which shortens its lifespan. A clogged air filter can also lead to your condenser unit to freeze, and when that happens they system can’t cool the air.
  3. Broken Condenser As mentioned, your condenser is an essential piece of your air conditioner, and when it fails, you won’t get the cold air you want. Condenser problems are evident by the system “short cycling” which means the system turns on and off rapidly. Take note if this happens because failure to fix it can lead to the system failing prematurely.
  4. Low/Leaking Refrigerant If your system lacks sufficient refrigerant, it won’t cool your home. Sometimes, pipes crack and refrigerant leaks, which leads to the system failing to cool to your liking.
  5. Broken Condenser Coils Your condenser coil is vital for producing cold air and sometimes an electrical failure such as a short can cause the coil to stop working even though the fan is running. When the fan runs, it’s easy to think the system is working even though you have a part that’s failed.

ac not working

How Much To Repair My Air Conditioner

When Mother Nature turns up the heat, and your ac isn’t working properly, you want your system repaired as quickly as possible, but you also don’t want to hand over the kids’ college fund to do so. The average lifespan of an HVAC system is about 15 years with proper maintenance, so anything older than that, and it’s time to consider a replacement. Barring that, an ac repair cost depends on what is the problem, how much the parts will be and what kind of labor time is involved. If all you need is a filter replacement, you can do that yourself for about $20. Also, if your thermostat is broken, or placed in a bad spot, a new unit costs anywhere form $100-$300 plus labor.

However, if the fix involves a failed compressor, you could be looking at a $2,000 repair, in which case it’s better to think about a new unit if yours is over 10 years old.

When To Call Your HVAC Professional

Your home air conditioner is a complex machine which can prove to be a challenge even to the most handy people. Because of this complexity, you’re always better off calling in an HVAC professional when you have an issue. An HVAC professional technician undergoes rigorous training and education to learn how these systems work so they can quickly diagnose a problem and fix it.

Also, to keep your system running efficiently year in and out, and ensure that it lasts, it’s essential you conduct regular maintenance on the entire system at least once a year and preferably twice. Call your local HVAC professional and get on a maintenance schedule to have them keep your system running optimally so it’s always ready when you need it.

Is Your AC Compressor On The Fritz? Here’s How To Know For Sure

When Mother Nature turns up the heat, most people reach for the thermostat and crank up their home air conditioning system to remain cool and comfortable during the summer months. But what happens when your AC system won’t cooperate? What do you do when it blows warm air or no air at all?

Your home AC system can fail for a variety of reasons, but one of the more common issues is with the compressor.

In this article, we’ll look at why your AC compressor is vital to your home’s AC system, what causes it to go bad, and how much you can expect to pay for a new one.

How Your Air Conditioner Works

Most people don’t give their air conditioner a second thought until the day it stops working. They expect it to keep their home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, forever.

But knowing how your AC system works can help you diagnose a small problem that can be fixed quickly and inexpensively, before it grows into a large problem that costs hundreds to fix.

Most central air conditioners have an outside unit and an inside unit. The indoor unit contains the evaporator which houses the cooling liquid or refrigerant. This refrigerant absorbs heat from the air in your home and allows for cold air to blow out in its place.

The outside unit contains your compressor, the fan, and the condenser coils. Heat removed from the air inside your house passes to the refrigerant and then gets pushed to the outdoor unit where it passes over the condenser coil and then through the compressor.

Think of your compressor as the heart of your air conditioner system whose responsibility is to move the air throughout the system. When the compressor goes, so does your air conditioner.

What Happens When Your AC Compressor is Bad?

Now that you know how vital your air compressor is to your air conditioning system, it’s time to look at what happens when it goes bad and why it fails.

When the air compressor stops working your system grinds to a halt. You no longer get cold air because the refrigerant and the air is no longer pumped through they system.

Air compressors are expensive to replace, and while most are built to last up to 15 years plus, they fail eventually. However, with proper ac maintenance, you can extend the life of your AC unit and ensure it operates as you desire year in and year out.

Here are some common reasons your air compressor might fail.

  1. Dirty Coils — As your system ages, grime, dust, and mineral scales build up on your condenser coils, and when this happens, the unit can’t get rid of the heat efficiently, which causes it to work harder. As the unit works harder, it puts more wear and tear on it thus shortening its lifespan. Too much dirt can cause the compressor to overheat and stop working.
  2. Clogged Suction Lines — The suction lines are like the arteries of your AC system, as they carry the refrigerant necessary to keep the air cool. When these lines become clogged, you’ll notice a drop in how cold the air gets. As with dirty coils, the clogged suction lines cause the compressor to work harder, overheat, and eventually fail.
  3. Refrigerant Leaks — Sometimes, cracks develop in the lines that carry the refrigerant which can cause the fluid to leak. When there’s insufficient refrigerant, the system has to work harder to cool the air, which causes strain and eventual breakdown.
  4. Poor Lubrication — For your compressor to function optimally, it needs proper and thorough lubrication. Whether it’s due to age or if it was never well-lubricated, poor lubrication causes the compressor to work harder, which leads to an early demise.
  5. Power Failure — An air compressor can become damaged because of an electric shock to the system such as voltage fluctuations.

ac compressor repair

How Much Does An AC Compressor Cost?

Getting a new air compressor is expensive, and depending on where you live and who installs it, the prices vary considerably. If you’re installing the unit yourself, expect to pay anywhere from $400-$800 for the unit depending on the model of your air conditioner. If you’re hiring an HVAC technician to install it, expect to pay anywhere from $1,200-$2,000.

Signs Your AC Compressor Is Going Bad

Since no one wants to shell out money for a new air compressor or a whole new HVAC system, it’s a good idea to know when something is going wrong and fix it quickly before the problem gets worse. Here are a few signs to watch out for that warn you your air compressor is failing.

  • Grinding, Chattering Noises — A noisy air conditioner is a sign that something is wrong and it should you should check it out right away.
  • Fluid Leaks — If you see refrigerant leaking or any fluid leaking from your system, get help immediately.
  • Low Airflow — If you’ve noticed the airflow in your home has diminished, the air compressor could be the culprit.
  • Warm or Hot Air — Sometimes, as the compressor fails, the air blowing out of the system is warm or even hot.
  • No Air — Obviously, if your air conditioner isn’t blowing any air at all, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong with the compressor.

When to Call An HVAC Professional

HVAC systems are complex machines and it takes someone with the technical know-how to fix them properly.

Any time you have a problem with your HVAC system, it’s best to call in a professional technician for an assessment and a fix rather than trying to do it yourself. If you damage the unit by trying to fix it yourself, you may void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to have a professional HVAC contractor perform routine maintenance on your system at regular intervals to ensure the system works as expected and lasts as long as possible.

Best Way to Save Money When It Comes to Your AC

When the heat is on during the summer months, there’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to a cool, refreshing home. And while most people couldn’t dream of living without their air conditioner, they don’t like the energy bills that come with running it constantly.

In this article, we look at the best ways to save money while using your air conditioner without sacrificing your comfort.

How Much Does It Cost To Run Your AC?

While there’s no single answer or number we can put on how much it costs to run an air conditioner because it varies from climate to climate and house to house, we can give a ballpark estimate.

The best way to figure out how much it costs to run your air conditioner is by using a simple formula. The first thing to do is learn how many amps your unit draws, which can be determined by looking at your air conditioner’s SEER rating. You should be able to find this number on the inside of your AC’s filter panel, for example, a 5,000 BTU air conditioner has a SEER rating of 5 amps.

Next, multiply the figure of 5 by the voltage put out by your outlet, which is usually 110. So, 5×110=550 watts. Once you know how much you’re paying per kilowatt an hour, you can figure out how much it costs to operate your AC system for any length of time.

Should I Turn Off My AC When I’m Not Home?

If saving money is a concern you have regarding your air conditioner, you’re probably wondering if it’s beneficial to turn it off when you’re not home. There are two schools of thought here. On one hand, you have people who reason that if the machine isn’t running, it’s not using energy, which is saving you money. Then you have people who say if you leave it off, then turn it on when you get home, it takes more energy to get cool down the house than if you left it on all day.

According to some HVAC experts, leaving an air conditioner on all day when you’re not home is an inefficient use of energy and puts more wear and tear on the system causing it to break down more quickly.

So, if you’re planning on being out of the house for several hours, or even leave town for a few days, it’s best to turn the system off. Or better yet, invest in a programmable thermostat which can adjust the temperature according to your schedule. You can program the system to fire up right before you get home and power down when you leave for work. Using your system only when you need it is a great way to keep your energy costs down and maintain a healthy and long-lasting HVAC system.

save money on AC

What Temperature Should I Set My AC When I’m Away?

As we’ve seen, if you will be out of the house for a lengthy period, it’s best not to have your air conditioner running full throttle. But, you also want to come home to a house that’s not humid and oppressive either. So, what temperature should your thermostat be set at when you’re away?

Most experts agree that turning your thermostat up two or three degrees when you will be out of the house is a great way to save energy costs and still keep your house reasonably cool.

If you’re planning on being on a vacation, that will only last a few days, set the thermostat up four degrees higher than you would normally set it if you were home. Experts say four degrees is ideal because if you go higher than that, you risk expending more energy to cool the house down when you come back, which defeats the purpose of trying to save money by setting it higher. So, if you normally keep your thermostat at 65, turn it up to 69.

If you will be out of the house for a week or more, you can save money by turning the system completely off.

Top Tips on How To Lower Your Air Conditioning Bills

Now we’ve covered how to save money on your energy bills when it comes to leaving your air conditioner on versus turning it off when you leave, we’re turning our attention to the top ways you can save money on your energy bills when operating your air conditioner.

  1. Get Insulated A great way to keep your energy bills low is to beef up your home’s insulation. This not only keeps you cooler in the summer but also warmer in winter. Good insulation doesn’t end with the attic either. Sealing your windows to prevent the cold air from leaking out goes a long way to helping to keep your house cooler and lighten the load on your air conditioner.
  2. Get A Programmable Thermostat As mentioned earlier, a programmable thermostat is a great way to regulate and adjust the temperatures in your home when you’re away or when you’re sleeping. Many of these thermostats can be controlled via an app on your phone for extra convenience.
  3. Maintain Your HVAC System Keeping your filters clean and performing regular maintenance on your system keeps it running properly and efficiently. And when your system is running efficiently, you save money on your energy bills.
  4. Block Out The Sun If you have windows that face the sun, consider getting thick blinds or drapes to block out the rays which heat your home and cause your air conditioner to work harder to maintain the desired temperature.
  5. Use Ceiling Fans If you have ceiling fans, use them. Not only do they use less energy than your air conditioner, but they do a wonderful job of keeping you cool.

With a little forethought and diligence, you can shave money off your energy bills without sacrificing comfort, and ensure your air conditioning system lasts as long as possible.

 

 

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