Central air conditioning systems have a condensing unit outside your home that serves as the starting point for the cooling process. The condensing unit receives the signal from your thermostat to cool, starts up a compressor to pump gas refrigerant into condenser coils, and then the coils change the gas to a liquid so it can travel inside and finish the cooling process.
Problems in the condensing unit can stop your air conditioning system's cooling process before it even has a chance to start. If your unit has recently become less efficient, there might be a problem in the condensing unit. And you can always call in an air conditioning repair service to make sure.
Here are a couple of the potential issues that can occur in the condensing unit that can interfere with your central air conditioner's functionality.
Broken Fan or Fan Motor
The condensing unit contains a fan that helps keep the system from overheating as the condenser coils change the gas refrigerant into a liquid. If the fan isn't functioning, the system can overheat and trigger a shut-down failsafe. It should be easy to tell if your fan is starting up or not when the system starts. If the fan doesn't start at all, you likely need a new fan motor. Call in a service tech for repairs.
If the fan does start but sounds noisy, there's either something stuck in the blades of the fan or the fan is becoming loose on its housing. Either problem can make the fan slower than normal and increase the risk of overheating conditions.
You can check the fan by turning off all power to the unit, removing the fasteners holding the grated dome on top of the condensing unit, then lifting up on the dome while flipping it over to access the fan on the bottom. If the fan turns and has no debris stuck, simply call in a service tech for further diagnostics.
Dirty or Overheating Condenser Coils
Has your central air conditioner become less efficient at cooling your home? The problem might be in the condensing coils. If there's a problem with the coils, the coils won't properly convert the gas refrigerant to a liquid and there will be insufficient refrigerant traveling inside to cool the evaporator coils.
Two common coil problems are dirty coils and broken coils. Dirty coils you can clean with a stiff brush after you've turned off power to the until and removed the access cover. The dirt clogs the surface and prevents the chemical reaction from happening properly so a good clean could be all you need.
If the coils are damaged or broken, the coils could be leaking chemical refrigerant into your system, which poses both a danger to you and other parts in the condensing unit. Call in an air conditioning repair services company for immediate replacement.
For air conditioning repairs, contact a company such as Phil's Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.