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Touchstone Heating & Air Inc. Blog

What Can Go Wrong With an AC That Isn’t Maintained

old-acOur last post was our annual reminder about scheduling air conditioning maintenance every spring—or a bit before spring for Florida because of the way our seasons work. But we aren’t finished with all we have to say about AC maintenance yet. It’s important enough for a second reminder as well as some more in-depth information about what makes maintenance so critical.

So we’re going to go into “scary mode” in this post. We’re not alarmists, but when it comes to air conditioning in Alachua, FL, we’re experts who have seen what can go wrong when an AC isn’t given regular professional care. We want you to avoid these problems, so putting a bit of a scare into you is healthy. It’s much better than being trapped with no AC on a 90°F + day!

Undetected refrigerant leaks

Maintenance contains two broad sets of tasks: tune-ups and inspections. The inspections are critical for locating possible troubles in the AC that haven’t started to manifest as cooling problems yet—but soon will. Catching them early heads off a major malfunction later, probably an expensive one to fix. Among these hidden problems, refrigerant leaks are among the most common and the most destructive. Loss of refrigerant does more than lower an AC’s cooling capacity; it will eventually cause the compressor to burn out, a catastrophic loss. During maintenance, we always check refrigerant pressure, which will tell us if there’s any refrigerant loss so we can have it fixed.

Miscalibrated temperature sensing

An annoyance homeowners may encounter with cooling their home is that the AC seems to never get the temperature just right. Too cold, then too warm, and a lot of fiddling with the thermostat to attempt to correct this. During maintenance, we’ll check the thermostat calibration and the cooling output to see if the thermostat is accurately reading the temperature and communicating with the AC. 

Burnt out motors

An air conditioner that’s neglected will accumulate wear, and this has the most effect on the mechanical moving parts, i.e. the motors. An AC uses several motors to run, and if any of them burn out because of dirt or lack of lubrication, it will bring cooling to a stop. The motor in the compressor is especially important, as it’s housed in the compressor casing, and if it burns out the compressor must be replaced. 

Iced-over evaporator coil

No, you never want to see ice on the AC, even if you want to feel icy air from it. When ice is along the coil, an air conditioner won’t be able to absorb heat and cool the house. Ice forming on the indoor evaporator coil can happen for several reasons, including low refrigerant, low airflow, and dust and dirt along the coil. Regular coil cleaning is part of maintenance, and the inspections will catch other sources that will cause the coil to freeze.

This is only a sample of the woes of the neglected central air conditioning system. They’re all easy to avoid when you sign up for regular maintenance with our team.

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