Furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners are designed to provide many years of reliable, comfortable and efficient service. Unfortunately, many systems continue to perform poorly because of shoddy workmanship and improper design. This condition is so prevalent that many homeowners have come to accept drafts, degraded humidity control and uneven temperatures as the normal way a system operates.

The efficiency and performance of HVAC equipment is largely determined by design methods and the skill of the installing contractor. Homeowners can help lower operational costs and improve comfort by understanding how air conditioners work and by employing a few simple techniques.

Air Conditioning Issues

Central air conditioning systems include a variety of complex components. AC equipment should always be serviced by a licensed HVAC contractor who has received the appropriate training in the refrigeration cycle and high voltage current.

Some of the most common air conditioning problems include:

Coil Freezing

A frozen evaporator coil is usually caused by a problem with the superheat and sub-cool balance. A coil that has frozen will not adequately transfer heat energy, so the thermostat temperature setting cannot be maintained. If left unaddressed, critical system components can be permanently damaged. If the blower is engaged and the air at the register is still warm, it is important to call a qualified HVAC repair contractor immediately.

Low Refrigerant

A system that is low on refrigerant must work harder and longer to satisfy the thermostat call. Low refrigerant is a condition usually caused by an improper charge or a leak in the refrigerant line. Simply adding refrigerant is not an adequate solution, and if a leak is found, it should be repaired by your air conditioning service provider. The performance of your system is maximized when the refrigerant charge matches the manufacturer’s specifications.

Inadequate Air Flow

Clogged filters, worn motors or obstructions in the air distribution system can reduce airflow and result in substandard comfort and performance. To maximize efficiency, filters should be checked monthly and changed with an appropriate replacement when dirty.

Condensate Obstruction

Air conditioners create moisture as a result of the refrigeration process. When an air conditioner is running, condensate collects in a drain pan that is located just below the coil. The water subsequently drains through a pipe until it is deposited outside the home.

Drain pan cracks are typically caused by improper handling during shipping or installation. Sometimes the pan cracks because of manufacturing defects, especially if it is made of fiberglass. Condensate pipes can also become clogged with debris, which forces the water to backup into the pan. Either condition creates a perfect environment for the growth of fungi, mold and other unhealthy biological organisms. Unaddressed condensate issues can degrade indoor air quality and compromise critical system components.

Helpful Tips

There are many ways to improve overall comfort while reducing the cost of operating a heating and cooling system. Here are a few heating and common air conditioning problems, and helpful tips to address them:

  • Shade the Condensing Unit: Placing the outdoor condenser in a shaded area will improve the efficiency of the energy transfer process. The Department of Energy estimates that a shaded air conditioner is at least 10 percent more efficient than a unit placed in direct sunlight.
  • Install Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans help improve air movement and are very inexpensive to operate.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Preventive maintenance can help keep your HVAC system operating at peak performance. Worn parts and other minor problems can be located and fixed before they cause an untimely breakdown.
  • Add Insulation: Insulation is one of the most cost effective upgrades that can help improve energy efficiency. Upgrading insulation levels to current Department of Energy standards can save up to 50 percent on annual heating and cooling costs.

Learn More about Our HVAC Service

Watley Heating & Air Conditioning invites you to explore our website and learn more about the many advantages of a modern, efficient HVAC system. One of our friendly comfort specialists can provide useful heating and air conditioning information to help you make an informed purchasing decision.