Whether we like it or not, AC systems are vital for most people during the summer. And as heat becomes more severe each year, the need to have a fully functional and operational air conditioning system becomes vital, especially in the southern states.
So, what can you do when you notice that your air conditioner is overheating? HVAC technicians at Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar share some of the most common reasons why an AC could overheat, as well as what you should do if you notice that this is happening to your system.
A Dirty or Clogged Air Filter
The simplest to check, and the most common issue which could cause overheating is a dirty air filter. You probably know that you need to clean or replace your filter as often as the AC manufacturer recommends.
However, most people don’t know why or have some misguided ideas why. Even though the air filter cleans the air from particulates and thus purifies the air you breathe, this is not its primary function. Its primary function is to protect your machinery from those same particulates.
If the air filter gets dirty, your AC system will have to work harder to push the same volume of air, which strains the system. This can lead to overheating if not treated. Fortunately, the solution is really simple – clean or replace your air filter. The AC will go back to normal and stop overheating. Do keep a closer eye on it, just to be safe.
Dirty Evaporator or Condenser Coils
If you know how AC really works, you’re probably in a minority. Most people don’t know and don’t need to know how an AC works. It is, however, very simple. The coils of thin metal are filled with a fluid which has thermos-conductive properties.
The coils inside the indoor unit are called evaporator coils and they absorb the heat from your home and transport it to the outdoor unit, where condenser coils release that heat back into the world.
What is important, though is that both these sets of coils need to be clean and free of obstructions in order to function properly. If there is a buildup of dirt on either of them, the transfer of heat will be limited and ineffective, causing the whole system to heat up over time.
Simply checking the coils for dirt is the simplest way to determine if this is the cause of your system’s overheating problem. If you find that your coils are dirty, be careful when cleaning them – the thin metal of the coils is easy to bend or even break. This will impact your system’s ability to dissipate heat properly.
Low Levels of Refrigerant
Finally, if neither of the previous two options seems to affect your system’s overheating problems, it may be caused by the low levels of refrigerant in your system. As mentioned before, the refrigerant is the fluid that transports the heat from inside the unit to outside.
The refrigerant should remain sealed in the closed-loop system, but whether due to a leak or just gradually over time, the level of refrigerant in your system might lower, causing your system to work harder to achieve the same temperatures.
If this is the cause of your problem, you shouldn’t try to resolve it on your own, but rather contact your HVAC maintenance company and schedule a checkup and possible maintenance check.
Your HVAC technicians should be able to determine the refrigerant levels and top up your system if necessary. They can also inspect your AC for more serious problems if the refrigerant is not the cause of overheating.