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Common Air Condition Repair Problems to Watch For

By: Mike Thomas

A variety of problems can cause air conditioners to stop working properly until repair or parts replacement occurs. Of the hundreds of issues that can be to blame, a few are seen far more often than others. Here's a look at some of the most common air conditioner problems you may encounter and what to do about them.

Frozen Coils

If an air conditioner has problems with airflow or insulation, coils may freeze. This can prevent cooling from taking place or cause the unit to shut off repeatedly. Inside coils usually freeze due to clogged return air ductwork or air filters. However, low refrigerant can also be to blame. If outdoor lines freeze, you may need to install more insulation.

Broken Thermostat

The thermostat, which relays temperature information to the unit, can cause numerous problems if broken. Air conditioners often do not turn on at all if the thermostat is not working. In many cases, the air conditioner will stop cooling the air enough once the thermostat breaks. Finally, some units will not turn off if the thermostat is broken, requiring manual shut-off. In all of these cases, thermostat replacement is likely to fix the problem.

Faulty Wiring

As with other appliances, air conditioners can suffer from faulty wiring. Not only can this cause lack of performance, but it can also be a fire hazard. Blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers are two common signs of wiring problems. Home air condition repair is an option for this issue, but only with strict compliance to wiring standards.

Broken Outside Fan

To move hot air outdoors, an air conditioner's outside fan has to be working. If the outside fan breaks, the unit's compressor is at danger of overheating, which can prompt safety shutdown, such as a blown fuse or tripped breaker, or even cause damage to parts inside of the air conditioner. For the sake of safety, an HVAC technician is normally advised to take care of air condition repair on outside parts such as this one.

Compressor Problems

The compressor is at the heart of an air conditioner, pressurizing the coolant during operation. Although the compressor is usually sealed, overheating or wear and tear can damage it. This can cause shut-off to occur. Faulty wiring, damaged motor overload protectors and blown fuses can all cause a compressor to stop working. Although this is a more advanced air condition repair, you can probably handle this at home with the right tools and some time.

The common air conditioner problems listed above can usually be fixed at home. However, some may be too dangerous or labor-intensive to attempt by most people. If in doubt, call a professional air condition repair technician to get the cool air flowing again.

  

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†Average repair and replacement costs as reported in a nationwide survey: A Study of Homeowners Appliance and Home System Service Experiences Decision Analyst (2011) and reprinted with their written permission.

Home protection plans are subject to exclusions and limitations including repairs or replacements of covered home system components and appliances. See contract for details.