Central air conditioning systems have a useful service life of about 15 years. If your AC unit is not cooling like it once did and it is older than 15 years, you should really consider to replace rather than repair. However, all mechanical equipment will experience normal usage issues: minor component failures, operational problems due to a lack of maintenance, etc. Most failures will be easily fixed and many can be prevented. Here are four problems that could stop your central air conditionerfrom providing cool air when you need it most:

Dirty or Clogged Filter

Many A/C problems are related to insufficient air flow. The most frequent cause of poor air flow is a dirty or clogged filter. While manufacturers may recommend filter changes every other month or so, it is a good practice to change your filter out every month during the hotter months of the year. Some filters may only require a monthly cleaning, but most will require replacement. Check with your manufacturer or local cooling contractor to see what is best for your A/C system and filter.

Low Refrigerant

The need for a refrigerant charge is usually indicated when your air conditioner doesn’t pump out cool air from the ducts. Another indicator of needing refrigerant is seeing the evaporator coil iced up. This can shut your cooling system down completely, though most systems have a safety switch that will turn off the compressor when it senses very low pressure. Both refrigerant testing and charging, as well as leak detection, should be done by an HVAC professional.

Condensate Issues

While your air conditioning system cools the air, it’s also pulling gallons of humidity from the air on a daily basis. A clogged condensate line or drain may cause overflow and water damage. Many systems are equipped with a safety float switch that will sense an overflow condition and automatically turn the system off. If you experience an excess water overflow from your HVAC system, call an HVAC technician to unclog the drain and restart your air conditioning system.

Electronic Failures

The outside condenser contains two components that may cause calling problems: a contractor and the run capacitor. The contractor is a spring-loaded solenoid that switches high-voltage electricity over to components such as the compressor and the condenser fan. It has moving parts and contacts that can be impacted by usage and wear. The run capacitor provides extra electricity to actuate the compressor when the thermostat initiates the system to provide air. Capacitors weaken with age and eventually may not deliver sufficient electrical power to start the compressor. It’s always best to have a certified HVAC technician check and replace any electronic components.

New Berlin Heating & Air Conditioning has been providing expert HVAC services for heating, indoor air quality and air conditioning in Southeastern Wisconsin for over 30 years. Contact us for prompt and excellent service on any air conditioning problems you may be experiencing.