Which AC Components Fail the Fastest in the Summer?

Which AC Components Fail the Fastest in the Summer?

Failing AC components and an unbearable summer heat wave make a very uncomfortable combination. Today’s air conditioners are designed and engineered to survive normal usage under typical expected temperatures. However, severe overheating or other scenarios where the AC is running longer and working harder than usual may overstress certain parts of the system. Neglected regular maintenance can also be a factor. Here are a couple of examples of failing AC components:

Compressor Failure

The AC compressor is a powerful, 220-volt electric motor that compresses refrigerant. Installed in the outside condenser housing, the compressor may overheat if the system runs excessively long cycles due to problems such as low refrigerant or even simpler maintenance issues like a severely clogged air filter. An overheating compressor will usually shut down automatically to prevent severe heat damage. However, professional HVAC service will be required to resolve the issues before the unit can be restarted.

Coil Icing

The indoor AC evaporator coil circulates frigid refrigerant that extracts heat from the airflow. If the refrigerant charge is below specifications — most commonly due to a leak — the coil temperature may drop into the freezing range. Condensation on the coil then turns to ice, which gradually obstructs airflow through the coil, severely reducing the cooling performance of the unit. When system airflow is totally blocked by coil icing, a safety interlock may shut down the unit entirely. Professional troubleshooting includes tracking down and repairing the refrigerant leak, then restoring the refrigerant charge to proper level.

Condensate Overflows

On a hot summer day, the AC evaporator coil may extract more than 20 gallons of condensation from indoor air. This liquid continuously collects in a condensate drip pan situated beneath the indoor air handler. This liquid is then diverted down a drain line. Algae forming in the drip pan may clog the drain line, triggering an overflow. Extensive water damage can affect the area around the indoor air handler. Annual inspection and cleaning by a qualified service technician includes algae-prevention methods to head off clogs and overflows.

For professional service to prevent failing AC components — or to replace them when necessary — contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc.

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