Your home’s air conditioner is designed to run during oppressively hot days—that is literally its purpose, to provide cooling when temperatures outside make living conditions inside unbearable.
However, even though your cooling system was designed with heat in mind, it can overheat. Just like with an automobile engine, if overheating does happen, then the equipment simply won’t be able to function.
“Alright, But What Causes My AC to Overheat?”
There are a variety of reasons this might happen. The majority of them can actually be prevented, with routine maintenance. Maintenance is a service you should be scheduling at least once a year for your air conditioner. We typically recommend it in the spring before temperatures start to rise too much, but it’s better late than never—call us if you haven’t scheduled maintenance yet!
Of course, even with the most diligent care, there’s still a possibility your equipment will overheat, for one of these reasons:
Failed Capacitors: There are two types of capacitors in your air conditioner—the start capacitor and the run capacitor. These are electrical components that, as you might have guessed, allow your air conditioner to start, and run.
The outdoor cabinet of your air conditioner houses a number of capacitors, each of which sends electrical charges to the fan motor and the compressor motor. Their exposure to consistent, high heat causes them to start losing their ability to hold that electrical charge, and eventually, they’ll stop running the motors.
You can usually detect failing capacitors by the sound of clicking coming from the outdoor compressor.
Clogged Air Filter: Most homeowners don’t realize this, but the air filter that comes standard with their HVAC systems is there to protect the system itself from dust and debris that can coat the internal components and impact performance.
The air filter needs to be changed every 1-3 months, depending on the type of filter and the level of contaminants in the home. If it’s too clogged up, it places too much strain on the blower motors, and eventually, that strain will cause the motor to overheat and trip a circuit breaker.
Refrigerant Loss: Another common misconception about air conditioners is that refrigerant is something that runs out regularly and should be refilled (what we call recharged) every maintenance visit. On the contrary, if your system is losing refrigerant it means you have a leak that must be repaired so that full cooling power can be restored.
If your system loses too much refrigerant, the compressor can and will overheat, and burn out as a result. In most cases, this means your entire air conditioner needs to be replaced, since the compressor is the heart of the system.
The best thing to do to avoid all the above-mentioned issues is to schedule maintenance on a routine basis, but also to call us for inspection and repairs if you suspect something is amiss with your air conditioner. Whether it’s making an unfamiliar noise or doesn’t seem to be cooling as effectively as it used to, it’s worth a call to our team.