3 Neglected Maintenance Items That Will Stop Your AC Cold

Posted on: 29 November 2022

Everyone knows they need to maintain their HVAC systems, but many homeowners defer this critical task or neglect essential maintenance items. When your system runs fine, it's easy to decide that maintaining it isn't important. After all, why do you need to fix something that still works? Unfortunately, there's often a straight line from poor maintenance habits to expensive repairs.

When your hire an HVAC company to perform routine annual maintenance on your air conditioner, you might think you're helping your efficiency a little bit or getting a basic tune-up. In reality, you may save hundreds of dollars or more by preventing future repairs. These three essential maintenance items can, if neglected, stop your system cold and leave you with an expensive emergency AC repair visit.

1. Dirty Condenser Coils

Your condenser coils live outside since they need to transfer heat from your home into the environment. As a result, these coils can become clogged up with dust, debris, and dirt. Since the condenser fan pulls air through the coils, anything floating nearby can get pulled inside. Unfortunately, clogged coils will greatly reduce airflow over the condenser, potentially reducing your system efficiency.

However, clogged coils do more than cost you money on your utility bills. If your condenser coils become dirty enough, they can stop your system from releasing heat and cause your compressor to overheat. If you're lucky, you'll only need an emergency visit to resolve the problem. If not, you can cause some seriously expensive damage to your system's compressor.

2. Clogged Condensate Drains

All air conditioners remove moisture from the air as a side effect of their normal operation. This happy accident keeps your home comfortable but produces a substantial amount of condensation on the evaporator coils. This condensate drains away while your blower isn't running, but dirt and corrosion that build up in your air handler cabinet can cause this drain to become clogged.

Air conditioning systems include safety switches that stop the system from running if the condensate line becomes too full, but a clogged drain can still cause damage. Water can back up onto your basement or attic floor or even pool around HVAC components and cause rust. Routine condensate cleaning is necessary to prevent these potentially expensive consequences.

3. Ignored Filter Changes

Many homeowners don't understand how frequently they need to replace their HVAC filters. If you have a small filter, you'll likely need to replace it fairly often. Thicker filters can last longer, although you'll still need to monitor their condition if you have a dusty home or live with pets or smokers. Your HVAC filter protects your system's components and your home's air quality, but a clogged filter may restrict airflow.

A severely restricted filter will stop air from moving over your evaporator coils, making them too cold. As a result, condensation will freeze onto the coils instead of draining away, forming a layer of insulation that will eventually cause slugging and stop your system from working. In severe cases, slugging can even damage or destroy your AC compressor.

Contact an air conditioning services provider to learn more.