3 Problems That Can Reduce The Efficiency Of An Older AC System

Posted on: 1 August 2022

Staying cool through the hottest days of summer requires an efficient and effective central air conditioning system. A well-designed HVAC system should be able to keep your home comfortable through all the most extreme days without struggling. Unfortunately, efficiency issues can reduce the ability of your air conditioner to keep you cool and comfortable as temperatures soar.

While many people write these problems off as part of living with an aging air conditioning system, it's rarely necessary to suffer in the heat. Although air conditioners may lose some efficiency as they age, a trained technician can often locate and fix the underlying problem to restore your system's efficiency. If you're noticing your AC losing cooling power, it may be due to one of these three problems.

1. Damaged Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are critical to your air conditioner's refrigerant cycle. The refrigerant leaving your home is in a hot vapor form that carries heat energy from inside your house. The condenser coils help to release this energy into the environment, allowing the much cooler liquid refrigerant to return to the evaporator and pick up even more heat.

Unfortunately, several situations can reduce the effectiveness of your condenser coils, reducing overall system efficiency. Dirty coils are one possibility, but damaged coils are another, especially on older systems. If you suspect damaged coils, attempting to repair them may worsen the situation. Calling in an expert is a good option to restore your coils and recover that lost efficiency.

2. Hard Starting Compressor

Your compressor is the heart and soul of your air conditioning system and its most expensive component. Unless you have a relatively new system still under warranty, a failed compressor is usually the end of your home's air conditioner. Fortunately, throwing in the towel on a compressor that's beginning to wear down is not always necessary.

As your compressor ages, it may have more difficulty starting. This situation can lead to poor efficiency and even tripped circuit breakers. Although a hard-starting compressor is often on its last legs, you may be able to extend its life with a hard-start kit. An HVAC professional can evaluate your system and help you determine if this fix might be appropriate to keep your current AC running for a few more years.

3. Refrigerant Leaks

You should never need to add refrigerant to your AC system, even if it's over a decade old. Unfortunately, many older systems eventually develop leaks, causing the refrigerant pressure to drop over time. This situation will eventually cause your system to stop functioning, but a slow leak may initially reduce its efficiency and cause it to freeze up and stop running occasionally.

The good news is that you don't need to scrap your old system because it's leaking refrigerant. An HVAC technician can help you locate and repair the leak, allowing you to recharge your system and restore it to its previous cooling efficiency. 

Contact a local company like Fred Williams and Sons Heating & Cooling for more information.