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What’s the Cause for a Struggling AC?

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It’s so hot outside that you’re actually considering seeing if you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. The minute you walk outside, you’re instantly drenched in sweat. When you get in your car, the steering wheel actually burns your hands from baking in the sun all day.

When you finally get home, you walk in the door, expecting to feel the instant relief of an air-conditioned home, cooling you down, relaxing you, and welcoming you to your home. And yet, as you shut the front door behind you and enter the house, it occurs to you that your house isn’t very cool at all. It is uncomfortably warm in every room, as if the air conditioning is barely working, if at all.

So, you start running down the list of questions in your head. Did I pay my utilities this month? Are all the doors and windows shut? Am I having a rather unexpected hot flash? While many of the above are indeed possibilities, it is far more likely that there is a problem with your AC. Here are a few common AC issues that can cause your air conditioner to function poorly.

A Refrigerant Leak Won’t Let the Air Cool

lowrefrigerant If your air conditioner is circulating warm or hot air, this is a telltale sign that it is low on refrigerant. What follows is a brief overview of refrigerant and how low levels can affect your air conditioner’s performance.

It is possible that the refrigerant line has ice on it, which can cause the line itself to drop to an extremely low temperature. This has to do with a drop in the level of pressure caused by the low level of refrigerant.

This combination of low pressure and extremely low temperatures causes the evaporator coil to freeze. This subsequently causes the liquid refrigerant to freeze and develop ice throughout it, thus preventing proper circulation.

Be aware that low refrigerant is almost always indicative of a leak. You may even hear an audible leak, such as a bubbling or hissing sound. A leak is not a DIY fix; it is appropriate to call a licensed HVAC technician to complete the necessary repairs.

The AC Unit is Filthy

dirtyunit You may currently own, or have previously owned, a desktop computer with a tower. At times, you undoubtedly heard a sound emanating from the tower that didn’t seem quite right; a fan doing overtime.

You may even have felt the tower and discovered it was hot to the touch from heavy use in an unfit environment. The next step is to save your work, shut down the computer, unplug it, let the tower cool off, and then remove the cover of the tower.

You discover what’s slowing your PC down and causing it to overheat, putting a serious strain on the fan: lots and lots of dust. Even in a work area that’s regularly vacuumed and dusted, computer towers, especially those that sit directly on the floor, naturally attract dust, particles and other debris that slows everything down, puts a strain on the system and is an overall energy drain, causing your computer to slow down.

Gently vacuuming the dust away, manually cleaning it or using a very small amount of compressed air will eliminate the dust. The same concept is true with a vacuum cleaner that is too full. It needs to be emptied, freed of debris, and the filters have to be cleaned. Otherwise, the vacuum has no suction and is an ineffective tool, actually circulating dust rather than removing it.

Your AC unit is no different. Dust, debris, dander and so forth accumulate inside the unit. The occasional dusting of the external components can be done to help slow the accumulation of dust and dirt, but it is in no way a replacement of having a professional clean out the vents, motor and various component parts, successfully removing anything that could hinder your air conditioning from working properly.

The Installation Was Done Wrong

wronginstallation Improper installation is a surefire way to guarantee your AC will not work properly. If you made this mistake, don’t feel bad. A lot of people do.

AC installation, in theory, does not seem that difficult, especially if you watch a few YouTube tutorials or watch an hour of HGTV. Plus, it’s a way to save a few bucks.

However, installing an AC incorrectly can be dangerous, ineffective, and perilous - plus you can wind up voiding your warranty that way. Hire a trusted HVAC technician who will do the installation right the first time, and avoid the headache (and hot temperatures) of someone else’s blunder.

If your AC has failed you, find an HVAC professional who won’t. To schedule an appointment to have your AC inspected, routine maintenance done, or any needed replacement or repairs, call the helpful staff from John Henry's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we look forward to helping you stay cool!