There is nothing more satisfying than walking into your deliciously cool house after being in the oppressive Dallas heat. As you feel the crisp air hit your skin, you can relax and comfortably enjoy your home.
However, when that wondrous cooling machine stops working—the feeling of sticky heat can range from uncomfortable to downright icky.
To help keep your home comfortable—and to prevent that unpleasant feeling of not having AC—the team at Aire Serv of Dallas compiled this blog so that should disaster strike, you’ll know how to handle (or completely avoid) emergency air conditioning repairs.
How Your Air Conditioning Unit Works
Did you know that your air conditioner and your refrigerator work almost the same way? The difference being that a refrigerator cools a confined space, whereas your air conditioning unit cools your home or office.
AC units are part of a central heating and cooling system. Essentially, they work by drawing out the warm air inside your home and replacing it with cool air. Your air conditioner does this by using chemicals that convert gas to a liquid and then back to a gas again.
As a liquid evaporates into a gas, it absorbs heat. For example, water has to absorb heat to evaporate. This is why we sweat to cool down. As the water on our bodies evaporates from our skin it creates a cooling effect.
Air conditioning units use a liquid called a refrigerant. The process of the refrigerant changing from a gas into a liquid, and then back into a gas again, is what cools down your home. It does this by flowing through a series of coils on a loop.
As the refrigerant flows in the coils near vents in your home, the warm air inside your house causes the refrigerant to boil and turn into a gas. This creates that cooling effect. The cool air is blown into your home with a fan.
Then, as the gas moves through your AC unit away from the vents in your home, it passes through a compressor. This compresses the refrigerant so that it turns back into a liquid and releases hot air. This hot air is blown outdoors using another fan.
After this step, the refrigerant moves back towards your home’s vents and passes through an expansion valve so that the refrigerant can boil again as it is exposed to the heat in your home.
This cycle repeats until your home’s interior reaches the temperature set by your thermostat. Should part of this process become broken or start to malfunction, you may require an emergency air conditioning repair.
Common Air Conditioning Problems
At Aire Serv, we’ve completed our fair share of emergency air conditioning repairs. We’re often called because:
The air conditioner won’t turn on.
Your unit is making weird noises.
The AC is vibrating when you turn it on.
Warm air is coming out of where it shouldn’t.
The unit hums, but the fan is not working.
Water is pooling around the air conditioner.
However, although the problems are obvious and make it easy to tell when you need an air conditioning repair, it’s harder to understand the root of the issue. To help you navigate common reasons your AC unit may be malfunctioning, we compiled this list:
There’s No Power to the Air Conditioner
Common reasons your AC unit may not have power are because of faulty wiring, a tripped breaker or the unit has overheated and turned itself off. The expert air conditioning repair technicians at Aire Serv of Dallas will be able to resolve this problem by fixing the wiring, resetting the circuit breaker, and ensuring that no vegetation is blocking airflow to the outdoor unit (which may be causing it to overheat).
The Fan Belt is Worn Out
If you hear a squealing sound coming from your air conditioning unit, that is a good indication that its fan belt is wearing out. If this is the case, it’s very important to contact an Aire Serv technician right away as you may need an emergency air conditioning repair. If the fan belt is not replaced before it breaks, the repair will be much costlier.
There is a Refrigerant Leak
A hissing noise is a common symptom of leaking refrigerant. When your refrigerant leaks, it decreases the efficiency of your AC unit and is bad for the environment. When you call our skilled technicians to help fix leaking refrigerant, they will not only recharge the AC system but also replace the tubing. This will prevent the leak from happening again.
The Evaporator Coil is Frozen
If the air coming out of your air conditioning unit feels warm, it could be because an evaporator coil has frozen. Frozen evaporator coils are often caused by continuous use of your AC unit overnight, a low refrigerant level and poor circulation. Be sure to contact an Aire Serv technician at 972-992-5648 to make the necessary repairs to prevent a frozen coil from happening again.
The Fan Motor is Defective
If the fan motor in your air conditioning unit is not working, then it will not circulate cool air throughout your home. Depending on why the fan is not working, an Aire Serv Dallas technician may be able to fix the motor. Alternatively, you may have to replace it.
The Compressor is Defective
If your AC unit’s fan is running but the air it emits feels warm, it may also be because the compressor is not working. Should you think this is the case, speak to an Aire Serv technician about whether an emergency air conditioning repair job or replacing your unit entirely is the right course of action.
The Condensate Drain is Clogged
Algae, dirt, insect nests and other debris can clog the AC unit’s condensate drain over time. A blockage in your condensate drain may lead to water damage. The professionals at Aire Serv Dallas will flush the drain—removing the clog—and then apply algaecide to help prevent future clogs.
Causes of Emergency Air Conditioning Repair
While sometimes an emergency air conditioning repair is unavoidable—accidents do happen—many of the primary causes of broken AC units can be prevented. Some of the common reasons an air conditioning unit may malfunction include:
Not Maintaining Basic Care
There are a few things you have to do to ensure the longevity of your air conditioning unit. This includes:
- regularly changing out filters. Air filters stop dust and debris from getting inside your AC unit. Not only does this improve the air quality in your home, but it also prevents wear and tear that may cause the unit to break.
- Monitoring coolant levels. If your refrigerant levels are low, it may indicate that you have a leak. Regularly checking coolant levels will help you know if this is the case.
- Cleaning coils. Even with a filter, dust and pollutants can make their way into your AC unit and build-up on the unit’s coils. Without regular cleaning, this build-up will reduce the system’s ability to create cool air. Dirty coils also make the air conditioner work harder—which may shorten its lifespan.
- Straightening fins. Straight fins enable heat to easily escape from the outside of your AC unit. If the fins are crooked, the cooling process becomes less efficient and may cause damage to your system.
Avoiding Annual Professional Inspections
Annual inspections completed by the pros at Aire Serv Dallas are key in helping you avoid an emergency air conditioning repair. These inspections keep your AC unit running as smoothly as possible by catching problems before they become an emergency. Additionally, regular check-ups by a professional technician aid in keeping your annual maintenance and repair costs minimal.
Not Upkeeping System Cleanliness
Ensuring your cooling system is being properly cared for and kept clean is one of the surest ways to prevent an emergency air conditioning repair situation from happening.
Plants or Grass Blocking the Unit
As you learned earlier, the hot air from your home travels through the AC unit and exits outside your house. It is very important to ensure that this outlet has lots of space so that it can produce proper air flow without any restrictions. Should the ventilation become restricted, the system will not be able to cool your home correctly and will overwork the unit. Should the unit become overworked, it may start to wear prematurely.
Improper Use of Your Thermostat
The balance of the air flow and temperature in your home affects your entire cooling system. If your thermostat does not work correctly, or was tampered with, this could cause an imbalance to the system. When your cooling system becomes imbalanced, it becomes strained and uses more energy. This additional strain could result in damage to your system.
Overusing Your AC Unit
While it can be tempting to leave your AC unit on all day while you are at work, if no one is in your home there really is no need to do so. Your air conditioning unit has to use a lot of energy to keep your home cool. That energy is wasted if no one is in the home and can shorten the lifespan of your cooling system. So, give your AC a break and use these other ways to keep your house cool:
- Close your curtains. By blocking the hot sunlight, you will help keep the interior of your home cooler. It’s amazing the impact closed curtains can have on the temperature within your house.
- Avoid using the stove. Your stove emits a lot of heat—especially if you are using it for a long time to roast a chicken or bake a cake. Consider barbecuing or eating meals that don’t require long cooking times.
- Use your ceiling fans. By rotating your ceiling fan counter clockwise in the summer, the fan will push cool air down towards you in a column. This helps the indoor temperature of your home feel cooler than it is.
- Limit AC use. Only use your AC when you are home and during very hot days. If the temperature is cool enough in the evening, consider only running your AC when the sun is up.
- Open your windows in the evening. Letting cool air into your home by opening your windows at night can help cool down your house.
Not Enough Insulation in Your Attic
Did you know that insulation plays a key role in moderating the temperature of your home? Since most heat transfer happens through your roof and ceiling, your insulation is pivotal in keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Insulation is able to keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable level because it creates a barrier that prevents heat from being increased or decreased in your house.
If your attic is not properly insulated, the interior temperature of your home will increase in the summer and you will be reliant on your AC unit to keep the inside of your house cool. This could cause your cooling system to work too hard and not last as long.
How to Handle (and Avoid) Emergency Air Conditioning Repair
Should you notice your AC unit is making strange noises or not emitting cool air, take a look at your filters to ensure they are clean. If you still have a problem, double check that your coils are not frozen and that your system has the correct level of refrigerant.
In the event that you still can’t pinpoint the cause of the air conditioning unit malfunction—or if you are not comfortable trying to fix the unit by yourself—be sure to reach out to the experts at Aire Serv Dallas at 972-992-5648.
Even if your AC unit seems to be functioning properly, the best way to prevent an emergency air condition repair is through regularly scheduled maintenance with an HVAC professional. To book an appointment and have your cooling system looked at by one of our skilled technicians, contact the team at Aire Serv of Dallas today.