3 Reasons Your Air Conditioner May Be Struggling
#1 Lack of Maintenance
During the summer, your air conditioning system circulates a tremendous amount of air. As the temperature rises, your air conditioner has to run more often and push a larger volume of air to keep the house significantly cooler than it is outside. For this reason, air filters tend to get dirty quicker. At Frontline Comfort Systems, we recommend replacing your air filters at least every 3 months in the summer if your filters are in the ceiling. If your filter is located low on the wall, especially by hard floors, it may need to be replaced monthly. Replacing your air filters often will help your system cool more efficiently and can also prevent some major breakdowns.
Outside of replacing your filters, it is also very important to clean your air conditioner annually. You see, in Oklahoma we have the famous cotton wood tree. At the beginning of each Summer, these trees wreck air conditioners, covering them in a fuzzy blanket of cotton wood seeds. You want to make sure your air condition is free of this cotton wood and other debris. You can wash your air conditioner yourself or give us a call if you need professional help. Before washing your AC on your own, shut off the power and make sure that you’re not damaging the unit with too high of pressure or harsh chemical cleaners. If you do prefer to opt for a professional, there are several affordable options for homeowners to have their unit serviced each year, whether if be a one-time “tune up” or a maintenance contract.
#2 Refrigerant Leaks
Every year, I answer phone calls from concerned homeowners. I often hear from customers that their unit “just needs a little Freon.” Many times this is true. However, being low on refrigerant is not a small problem. Many times, these systems will ultimately fail due to the damage caused by the system running low on refrigerant. As a homeowner, it is nearly impossible to know when the refrigerant is low enough to cause damage. It’s usually very low by the time it creates a noticeable issue. Trust me, you don’t want to see the repair bill for replacing an air conditioner compressor!
When you believe you have lost refrigerant, find the source of the leak and fix it, if your system is 10 years or less. It can often be found inside your indoor coil located next to the gas furnace or inside your air handler. While the fix is not inexpensive, it can improve your indoor comfort and sometimes extend the life of the current system. If your system is over 10 years and has a refrigerant leak, it may be worth considering an upgrade.
#3 Inadequate Home Insulation
After working in attics for years, you learn quickly that not all homes are insulated the same. Some attics have very good insulation and are well ventilated. Others…..well not so much. When the the weather reaches extreme temperatures, this especially becomes a problem. Most of the time, with either a poorly insulated or under ventilated attic, you can feel the heat radiating from the ceiling on really hot days. It’s not always the heat and air system, and upsizing will only mask the actual problem. You may need better insulation instead of a new air conditioner.