Air conditioning units work hard in Naples. Here at BHS, we get numerous calls a day for AC repair, many of which stem from the same reoccurring problems. If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably because you either have or had a need for AC repair, and you want to know why certain problems are so common. If so, we applaud you for taking the time to find the answer! After all, it’s a great question. Not to mention an important one. Understanding your air condition unit and how it works can go a long way in preventing many of these common AC repair calls.
You see, the issue isn’t with the quality of today’s HVAC systems. Nor is it solely the result of Florida’s harsh, hot climate. Some of the most common AC problems come from worn out or broken parts that could have been replaced or fixed with regular air conditioning maintenance.
Some regular AC maintenance you can do yourself, such as changing your filters on a regular basis to ensure unobstructed airflow. However, there are other issues that require the assistance of a licensed HVAC technician. Below you’ll find a list of Naples’ AC maintenance problems that are most common, along with the best way to go about fixing them!
Most Common AC Component Problems
AC and HVAC systems utilize multiple components to keep your home or business cozy. These components work in tandem with one another. When everything is in working order, it can be a powerful and efficient process. Yet it only takes one of these components to break or stop working properly to throw the entire system off kilter.
Knowing what these components are and what they do can go a long way in helping you maintain your system. You’ll be able to recognize issues before they turn into major problems, saving you in time, hassle, and money. Get to know these common parts and components to your AC system so you can recognize when they’ve encountered problems, and know the best methods to resolving them, whether it’s fixing it yourself or calling BHS for an AC repair.
1) Air Filters
Air filters are one of the easiest to inspect and most important parts of your AC system maintenance plan. However, many people neglect to replace them regularly, which can lead to your system freezing—literally! The problem occurs due to a buildup of carpet fibers, dust, human and pet hair and other particles that get trapped within the filter.
While it is the filter’s job to catch all of these unwanted things that get swept up into your air vents, they have their limits. The typical lifespan of an AC air filter is between one to three months, depending on how much debris passes through your vents. If you’re a pet owner, you’ll want to change it more frequently due to the buildup of pet hair in the home. Also, if you keep your doors or windows open while your AC unit is running, there will be additional air particles caught by the air filter that float in from the outdoors.
The quickest way to tell whether your filter is good or not is to take it out and hold it up to a light source. If you can see light passing through it, you’re good. If you can’t, change it immediately. Why? If light can’t pass through your vent, neither can your air. That is when problems start to occur.
Air must pass through your vents in order for your AC or HVAC system to work properly. If that passage is significantly narrowed, your system has to work harder in order to maintain your home’s desired temperature. If that passage becomes blocked, it can cause your compressor or fans to fail prematurely, and turn your system into a giant block of ice.
It’s not as cool as it sounds.
Once your system freezes, it will stop working. You’ll need to turn it off immediately and let it thaw out. Don’t wait to resolve this problem. The longer your system remains this way, the higher your risk is for serious damage to the unit. While it is thawing out, replace the dirty filter. If your system doesn’t start cooling properly after it is thawed out and the filter has been replaced, that’s when you need to call in BHS’ professional AC and HVAC technicians.
2) AC Thermostat
Are things heating up inside your home? Check your thermostat before you go out and inspect the unit. For those who don’t know, the thermostat is the device located inside your home that regulates the temperature your air conditioning is set to maintain.
If the temperature displayed on your thermostat’s screen matches what it feels like, make sure your system is on and is set to your preferred temperature before assuming something is broken. We know this bit of advice sounds really obvious. Yet you would be surprised how many times we’ve received calls because a homeowner didn’t realize their system was accidentally turned off or set to maintain the wrong temperature.
However, if the temperature on your thermostat doesn’t match the temperature in the air, or if your thermostat isn’t turning on or responding properly, pick up the phone. It’s time to call in the professionals. You can contact BHS at (239) 291-0860 to set an appointment.
3) Thermostat Sensor
Every thermostat comes with a sensor located behind the control panel. This sensor is used to measure the temperature of the air flowing into the evaporator coil. It’s an important piece of equipment that, if dislodged, can seriously impact the function of your air conditioning system.
Simply being knocked out of position can cause your AC to cycle constantly or behave in erratic ways. Thus, it is important to make sure that the sensor remains in place near the coil, but not touching it. The sensor can be easily adjusted by carefully bending the wire that holds it into position.
4) Condensate Drain
If the drain for your condensate pan is clogged, your condensate pan will fill up and start to overflow. This can cause major water damage to the surrounding walls and floor, especially if your unit is located inside or above ground. Dust, dirt, and even algae and mold can cause this drain to clog. However, it’s typically pretty easy to clean.
Of course, if you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, you can always call in a technician. While you’re at it, it may be beneficial to have them do a full maintenance visit, especially if your AC or HVAC system hasn’t had one in a while.
5) AC Coils
Air Conditioning and HVAC systems use two types of coils: condenser coils and evaporator coils. These two coils are opposites in many ways, but each plays a necessary role in your system’s daily operation. Two things typically happen to these coils: they get dirty or they crack. Condenser coils should be cleaned annually (this should be part of the air conditioning maintenance visit you schedule at least once a year), while your evaporator coil can typically go three years until its next cleaning.
For light soiling, your condenser coil can be cleaned off by a water hose. Your outdoor unit is pretty durable and made to withstand rain and the outdoor elements, so a bit of water won’t hurt it. Just make sure your unit is off prior to cleaning the coil.
If your condenser coil is really dirty, it may require specific chemical cleaners used by your technician to get it clean. Again, this is often done during a typical AC maintenance visit.
As for your evaporator coil, its location varies depending on the type of system you have. If you own a split system, it will be located in the attic. If you use a package unit, it will be found with the rest of the unit outside.
If for some reason your coil cracks, call a technician to come and replace it.
Your air conditioning system has three contractors: one for the compressor, one for the blower motor, and one for the condenser fan motor. These contractors start to act up when arcing and pitting form, making it difficult for electrical currents to pass through and start the motor. Once contractors start to act up, it can quickly lead to erratic operation and failure.
The best thing to do when this happens is to call in a professional technician who is able to inspect the contractor and determine what caused it to wear down in the first place. This investigation step is very important. If you replace a contractor with an identical part without pinpointing what caused it to break in the first place, you run the risk of it happening again.
The refrigerant is necessary to cool your system and your home. If you find that your system is low on refrigerant, the cause could be a leak or that your system was undercharged when it was installed. Leaks are trickier than one might think. There are specific manufacturer specifications for each system and model that determines how much refrigerant and charge is necessary to keep your system running efficiently.
A technician should be called to your home to determine whether there are any leaks. If the technician finds a leak, he will repair it and then test the system before charging it appropriately. Do not attempt this yourself unless you are a trained professional. The refrigerant is hazardous to the environment and must always be disposed of properly.
8) Breakers And Fuses
Your breakers and fuses can be found on the air conditioning unit’s evaporator coil. When the motor starts to go bad, a technician will usually check the state of your breaker first, as this may be the culprit. Do not try to fix breakers and fuses if you do not have the proper training and expertise. This is another one of those components that you want to trust a professional to diagnose and repair.
9) Air Conditioning Compressor
The compressor is the core of your air conditioning unit. Located within the condenser coil, it runs on refrigerant. This is why it is so important for your system to be properly charged. If it is undercharged, your system will overheat until it seizes up. If it is overcharged, it will develop liquid sludging.
10) AC Unit Capacitors
Used to keep your motor running at a constant speed, capacitors provide your compressor with a brief boost in starting torque. Your system cannot run without it. Once it burns out, it will have to be replaced by a technician.
Why A Qualified Technician Matters For Ac Repair Services
What many clients don’t realize is that many problems that arise within an AC unit are not just from neglected maintenance, but also from improper repairs. Hiring the wrong technician can set you up for costly issues later on down the road thanks to mistakes made through a faulty installation or improper servicing. We’ve seen leaky air ducts, low airflow, improper refrigerant, and other mishaps impair the function of air conditioning units, costing the homeowner money they never would have had to spend had the job been done properly.
Never let someone work on your unit who isn’t certified in what they are doing. Air conditioning units aren’t all made to be alike. They can vary greatly depending on their make and model. That is why there are thorough training programs that teach air conditioning professionals how to do their job. Make sure that you choose licensed and trained technicians, like the ones we employee here at BHS. Good technicians are insured to protect both you and the professional, so it’s important to make sure their business is covered.
Why AC Maintenance Calls Make All The Difference
If this list has left you feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. You don’t have to panic. There is a way you can decrease your risk of AC problems while extending the lifespan of your AC or HVAC system without becoming a licensed technician yourself.
As we mentioned in the beginning, annual maintenance visits can save you hundreds of dollars (if not thousands) in costly repairs by catching problems before they become catastrophes. The same goes in hiring the right technician for the job. One visit a year can help you avoid major repairs, improve your cooling efficiency, and save money on your utility bill.
Upon each visit, technicians will inspect the condition of your air conditioning system in various ways. However, their visits should always have these tasks on their checklist:
- Make sure your refrigerant is at the proper level
- Inspect for wear and tear on parts and replace them if necessary
- Check, clean, and/or replace your filters
- Clean dirty condenser and evaporator coils
- Inspect your electrical components and controls
- Calibrate your thermostat
- Make sure your condenser is in proper working order
- Oil motors if necessary
Never deny your air conditioning unit these annual visits. Like a car, your AC system needs regular maintenance. After all, it works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Although air conditioning units are hardy systems, they will develop wear and tear after prolonged periods of continual use. While it may cost money to schedule a visit, they’re much cheaper than an AC repair later on down the road.
Scheduling An Air Conditioning Maintenance Call
Here at BHS, we make setting up a maintenance visit for your air conditioning unit easy and hassle-free. Simply give us a call at (239) 291-0860 or talk to one of our representatives via the chat box located at the lower left corner of your screen. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have and set up an appointment at your earliest convenience.
Our quotes are straightforward and fair, and our technicians always show up on time. Plus, every technician we employ is certified, trained, and licensed—guaranteed! They will arrive at your home in a clean BHS branded van in their uniforms and fully equipped to handle any repairs necessary on the spot, so if something is wrong with one of your components, we can take care of it before it turns into a costly AC repair.
We never charge for overtime, and we follow up with our customers after the job is done to ensure you’re satisfied. It’s one of the many reasons why we have over 4,00 five star reviews. We service multiple areas across Florida, including Naples, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Marco Island, Fort Myers, Estero, Bonita Springs, Sarasota, and Cape Coral.
Yet despite our wide reach, we remain a family-owned company celebrating more than 36 years in business based upon family values that you can count on. We promise 24/7 emergency service, so we can be on call when you need us the most. Why? Well, we certainly can’t call ourselves the “best” home services in South Florida without living up to the expectation!