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Three Common Reasons for Central A/C Breakdowns – And What to Do about Them

Date: August 1, 2018

Cooling down from heat

In our experience, central air conditioning systems have impeccable timing: they always wait for the hottest day of the year to break down.

That’s not a coincidence, of course: breakdowns happen when your cooling system is working hardest. But what are the actual causes of those breakdowns, and what can you do about them?

Here are three common causes – and solutions – for A/C breakdowns.

1. A clogged air filter – Your air filter protects your air conditioner from dirt and other pollutants – but when it’s clogged, your filter can quickly turn from protector to enemy. A dirty air filter blocks airflow in your ductwork, forcing your A/C to work harder than it was built to work to cool your home; over time, this overwork could cause your air conditioner to overheat and either blow a circuit breaker or shut down entirely.

Solution: Follow troubleshooting instructions to make sure your A/C hasn’t blown a fuse or tripped a circuit breaker. Then check your air filter – something you should do at least once a month during cooling season – and replace or clean it (depending on the model) as necessary.

2. Dirty condenser coils – Condenser coils deliver heat-transferring refrigerant from your A/C’s indoor unit to its outdoor unit, enabling hot exhaust to be released outside your home. If these condenser coil get dirty, that heat won’t transfer – instead, it will build up until your air conditioner overheats and shuts down.

Solution: Get annual routine AC maintenance. Technicians will clean your outdoor condenser unit with a special coil cleaner spray to remove dirt and debris safely.

3. Low refrigerant – Just like having dirty condenser coils, not having enough refrigerant will also cause your air conditioner to overheat.

Solution: First, look out for telltale signs of low refrigerant:

  • Air is warm coming out of the vents
  • Ice is forming on the A/C’s outdoor unit (condenser)
  • Cooling bills are substantially higher than normal

If your cooling system is low on refrigerant, you probably have a leak that will need professional A/C repair before you can recharge your system. During your service visit, our certified technicians will:

  • Confirm there’s a leak
  • Remove leftover refrigerant
  • Repair the leak and re-charge the air conditioner

If your air conditioner is chronically leaking refrigerant or is beyond sensible repair, it is probably time for an upgrade to a new, high efficiency A/C; we can help you there, too.

If your A/C needs repairs or a refrigerant re-charge every cooling season, it’s time to invest in a new, high-efficiency unit. Contact Cubby’s today for a FREE no obligation estimate on an home cooling system upgrade for your Boston-area home!

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