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June 26, 2019

3 Common Causes Air Conditioner Problems and How to Fix Them

When you have been fixing broken air conditioners for so long, you will notice a pattern of similar problems over and over. At Pacific Air Conditioning, we diagnose and fix various Maui air conditioner problems.

Common Causes of AC Problems

- improper operation

- faulty installation

- lack of maintenance

Improper Operation

It’s not surprising -- or maybe it is sometimes -- that not running your AC properly can lead to problems down the road. Its task is simply -- cool your home. But it’s still a complex machine with each part, big or small, working smoothly with the others. Most of us, however, don’t know we’re sabotaging our cooling systems.

How not to sabotage your AC

  1. Close the doors and windows. The moment you turn on your AC and you set your thermostat to your desired temperature, it’s time to close all the doors and windows. Your air conditioner isn’t designed to cool the entire neighborhood.
  2. Don’t leave your AC running if no one is around the house. You would be surprised to know how many people actually do this. Some people don’t turn off their thermostats when they leave for work because they don’t want to be bothered to turn it back on again when they arrive. Guess how much energy is being wasted cooling an empty house throughout the day.
  3. Set the thermostat properly. Most of us want to feel cool air right away after being outdoors for too long. So we should set the thermostat down to its lowest setting to speed up the cooling, right? No. Air conditioners don’t work faster by setting the thermostat lower than your intended temperature. If your comfortable temperature is 75 degrees, setting your thermostat to 68 won’t speed up the cooling. The air temperature will still go down to 75 degrees within the same amount of time whether you set your AC to 75 degrees or 68 degrees. Setting it lower is only a waste of energy.
  4. Set the thermostat a bit higher to save energy. Most people feel comfortable around 75-78 degrees, and many can tolerate slightly higher room temperatures. Try setting your thermostat at 79 or 80 degrees, and see how it feels. If that’s fine, thank you for saving on energy consumption. Every degree of change in your thermostat setting adds or reduces your AC’s power consumption by 7%.
  5. Use your ceiling fans. Your AC and ceiling fans can work in tandem. Ceiling fans make you feel 4 degrees cooler, hence allowing you to raise your thermostat settings a bit even on a hot day. Moreover, they circulate cool air evenly in the room.

Bad Installation

Faulty air conditioner installation is another reason for premature AC problems and higher than normal electric bills. This happens when an inexperienced guy installs your system. The following installation mistakes can lead to Maui air conditioner problems:

1. An undersized or oversized unit

If your air conditioner is too small, it won’t cool your home effectively and will run longer than necessary. If it’s too big, it will cool your home too quickly, which has two awful effects: high humidity and more frequent cooling cycles that wear out your equipment sooner.

Load calculation should be done before shopping around for air conditioning units, and it should be done again after a renovation. Don’t replace an old unit with a new one of the same size if you made changes in the design and layout of your home.

2. Unfavorable AC location

I have seen outdoor units in tight spaces and dirty backyards where the sun bakes the condenser at midday. Where you put your unit determines how efficient it will run and how often you need to clean it. So install your unit in a shaded place away from obstructions.

3. Ductwork design flaws

These are due to amateur work. These are why we recommend that you hire a professional AC technician on Maui when you want to have a central air conditioner installed. Common ductwork design mistakes are sharp bends, improper sealing, lack of return vents, substandard materials, and poor workmanship. If your newly installed HVAC systems suffer from leaky ducts, suspect bad installation.

4. Incorrect refrigerant charge

Inexperienced technicians often make this mistake. The amount of refrigerant in the system needs to match the manufacturer’s specifications. Otherwise, your air conditioner, no matter how new it is, will not perform accordingly. Notice ice on your evaporator coil? It may be due to a low refrigerant charge. Only a professional can check the refrigerant charge of your unit. Don’t try to fix this problem on your own if you have absolutely no experience in handling refrigerants.

Lack of Maintenance

If your air conditioner has been running smoothly for a few months but has suddenly become problematic, you probably have been neglecting it for too long. An air conditioner needs to be checked every once in a while.

Signs your AC needs maintenance or repair

  1. Your unit fails. Suspect the fuses, circuit breakers, or compressor. Turn off the unit, and wait for at least 5 minutes. Check the fuses and circuit breakers. Also, check the compressor, which may stop working on a hot day. Reset the compressor by pushing the button in its access panel.
  2. You see ice on the evaporator coil. Frost on the coil is due to reduced heat absorption, which is due to low refrigerant charge or dust on the coil. A low refrigerant charge may be due to a leak, which needs to be fixed. Dust on the coil, on the other hand, can be addressed by cleaning.
  3. Your room feels warm. When any part of your air conditioner isn’t working properly, one of the usual symptoms is reduced cooling. Dirty filters, dirty coils, duct leaks, or blocked vents can cause this problem. If routine cleaning or filter replacement doesn’t solve the issue, it’s time to call a licensed AC technician on Maui.
  4. You notice moisture near your unit. This may be a serious issue that should be addressed right away to avoid damage to your unit and to your wall and floor. It may be due to a clogged drain line or a refrigerant leak.
  5. You hear bothersome noises. All air conditioners produce some noise, albeit tolerable. Weird noises like squeaking, clicking, or grinding noise should prompt you to call a technician.
  6. You smell something strange. HVAC systems aren’t manufactured to produce any smell. The smell may be due to several things. A musty odor could be due to mold, a product of high humidity or water leaks. But if you smell something like burnt plastic and you suspect it’s from your AC, turn it off and contact a technician.
  7. Your electric bill is huge! Air conditioning eats a huge part of your energy consumption, especially if you live in warm places like Maui. However, if you notice that your bills are much higher than usual, it’s time you have your unit checked. Dirty or damaged air conditioning systems work harder and require more energy.

The warmer months are around the corner, and it’s time for your AC maintenance and tuneup on Maui. Call us at 808-244-0161 to learn more about keeping your unit in good condition.







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