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3 Common Reasons a Home A/C Will Overheat and Shut Down

Imagine coming home from work only to find that your A/C is broken. Your house is hot and uncomfortable, and you’re already a sweating mess! When summer arrives, one of the most common concerns with air conditioners is overheating. It will trip the circuit breaker if it overheats, and it will continue to do so until you address the problem.

Regular air conditioning maintenance might help you avoid problems like this in the future. In this article, we will share the 3 common reasons why your AC gets shut down more often and how to fix it.

Dirty Air Filters

One of the most essential aspects of your air conditioner is the air filter. It ensures that you are breathing air that is free of contaminants like dust, mold spores, and even pet dander. It will restrict airflow in your duct and ventilation system if it goes too long without being cleaned or replaced, forcing your system to run for extended periods to offer you the same degree of comfort that you’re used to.

When your system doesn’t have enough airflow, the components have to work harder to keep your home comfortable. This puts a lot of strain on your HVAC system, which might cause it to overheat and break down, or trip the circuit breaker.

How to Fix it?

You can change the air filter yourself, but depending on the nature of your unit, you might want to hire a professional expert to do it for you. Because each filter has its MERV (Minimum Efficiency Rating Value) rating, the expert can give the best advice to you about the filter selection. It is mandatory to inspect your AC air filter after every 30-45 days. Although many disposable air filters have a 90-day lifespan, you may need to replace your air filter more regularly if you:

  • Have pets?
  • Have a large number of people living in the same house?
  • Do you have someone in your home who smokes indoors?
  • Have you recently relocated or finished a home renovation?

Filthy condenser coils

The condenser is the outside unit of your A/C. The condenser’s coils discharge heat gathered from within your home into the air outside when everything is working properly. That’s why it’s critical to provide enough space around and above the condenser for ventilation. Unfortunately, the heat-releasing coils in the condenser can become very filthy.

These are the tubes that travel through your HVAC system and are loaded with refrigerant in most cases. If your condenser coils are unclean, your air conditioner will run for longer periods, similar to what happens with dirty filters. Simply explained, the refrigerant absorbs all of the extra heat within your home and transmits it outside to cool it; but, if the coils are clogged with debris, the heat cannot be discharged. This inhibits your HVAC system from achieving the thermostat’s desired temperature setting.

How to fix it?

While doing it yourself isn’t difficult, it’s not suggested for a project like this. It’s always preferable to err on the side of caution and consult a certified expert when it comes to your condenser coils. Your technician might notice something you cannot. For example, you may feel that your coils only need to be cleaned, but the damage they’ve sustained may require their replacement. This isn’t anything you’d notice, but it’s something an expert would notice. The best solution to this is to look for Affordable HVAC Services and call them from time to time for inspecting the system. They shall do the needful and it will reduce the chances of your HVAC heating or crashing.

Low refrigerant

Another big issue is the low refrigerant in your AC. It is the chemical that helps your AC to provide you with cold air at home. The cooling mechanism in your air conditioner requires a sufficient supply of refrigerant. To chill the air, the refrigerant removes heat from it.

A low refrigerant charge can cause the air conditioner to work harder than it was designed to, resulting in overheating and the possibility of a breakdown. Your HVAC system will not be able to effectively cool your home if there is insufficient refrigerant, and thus your AC will overheat.

How to fix it?

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, feel free to contact a professional. Common signs of a refringent leak or low refrigerant are AC not cooling your room efficiently. Your refrigerant levels must remain constant, and if there is a shortage of refrigerant, it may indicate a leakage problem. A licensed expert will know exactly what to do in this case and will make sure the leak is fixed.

Although these are the common reasons, there are a few others as well and these are as follow:

Thermostat is faulty

The thermostat is the “brain” of your air conditioner. Your air conditioner receives signals from the thermostat, which instructs it when to turn on and off.

Thermostats, like any other piece of electrical equipment, can break down. The device itself could be defective, or the cable connecting the thermostat to the air conditioner may be faulty, causing the system to shut down when it shouldn’t. You should ask a professional to check the thermostats as well as the wiring if your AC is getting shut down again and again.

How to overcome the problems that cause a regular AC breakdown?

The only answer is regular service and proper maintenance. Periodic and regular maintenance and servicing of your air conditioner can considerably lessen the chances of these problems ever occur. A professional can easily detect and repair your A/C unit and they can also ensure that the rest of your system’s components are in good working condition throughout the year.

Check your air filter if your HVAC system continues shutting down or tripping your circuit breaker, and if that isn’t the problem, call a professional HVAC expert to check for filthy coils or a refrigerant leak.

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