Your air conditioner is up and running for the summer, it seems like everything is running smoothly, and then you come home one day to find your house hot and humid. Your air conditioner overheated.
It’s not an issue anyone wants to deal with, especially in the middle of a heat wave. But if you take some simple steps to care for your system and avoid some common mistakes, you should be able to keep your system running smoothly all summer long.
Don’t keep running an AC system that needs repair
While it may be tempting to keep your AC system running while you wait to call an HVAC technician or wait for them to show up, don’t. If you know your system needs a repair or a part replacement, you should turn it off, call a technician, and take steps to stay cool in the meantime. Continuing to run your system with an issue can lead it to overheat and shut down, potentially causing more damage. Our professionals at Paris Heating & Cooling in Rochester, NY, always aim to repair the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible, so you don’t have to wait in the heat for long.
Don’t leave your windows open
Leaving windows and doors open in your house while the AC is on on a hot day means your cooling system will have to run constantly, potentially causing it to overheat. Any progress your AC makes in cooling the air in the house is quickly lost through open windows and doors as the cool air seeps out and hot, humid air pours in. If you have your thermostat set at an ideal temperature, your AC will never end up reaching that and will have to keep running indefinitely, until it overheats and shuts off. Keeping your windows and doors closed will allow your AC to cool the air inside your house and only kick in as it needs to to hold the temperature steady.
Don’t just flip the breaker back on
When your air conditioning system overheats, it should trip the circuit breaker and shut off the system. If this happens, your first instinct might be to simply turn the circuit breaker back on. Don’t.
If your air conditioner is overheating, there’s probably a reason. If it’s the first time your AC has overheated and it’s a particularly hot day, let the system cool down for a while before turning it back on. If the system keeps overheating, however, you need to locate the source of the problem before continuing to use your AC. Running an AC system that is constantly overheating can ultimately lead to permanent damage to the system, turning what might be a simple repair into a major headache.
Don’t neglect simple maintenance
Some of the main factors leading to AC overheating are some of the easiest ones to deal with. Cleaning or changing your AC air filters regularly is a key element of keeping your cooling system running smoothly. The filter removes dust, dirt and debris from the air and helps keep it from entering the system. When the filter gets clogged, however, it blocks airflow in the system, reducing your air conditioning unit’s efficiency, making it work harder and potentially making your indoor coil freeze up, halting the AC. Air filters should typically be cleaned or changed every few months, depending on the amount of accumulation you notice.
You should also check to make sure your condenser coils are clean, especially if you neglected to do spring maintenance to prepare your unit for summer. Dirt, leaves and other debris can build up on the condenser coils, insulating the refrigerant inside and preventing it from releasing heat. That can lead the compressor to overwork and overheat. If you suspect your condenser coils are dirty, you should call an HVAC professional to conduct a thorough cleaning and inspection.
Don’t run your AC with refrigerant leaks
Low refrigerant levels force your air conditioning system to work harder to cool your house. It can end up running constantly if your refrigerant levels are low enough, leading to overheating. Low refrigerant levels likely indicate a leak in the lines and require a thorough leak test by a licensed HVAC professional. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, you should call a licensed HVAC professional to locate the leak, repair it, and refill the system with refrigerant.