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5 Reasons Your Air Conditioner Will Fail

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Woman sitting on her couch overheating using a paper fan to try to cool herself down because her air conditioning failed

During dry, hot Alberta summers, you’ll need an efficient way to cool your home—and by extension, yourself! You depend on your air conditioner for comfort and in the midst of a heatwave, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t fail.

The easiest way to keep your air conditioner working smoothly and providing you with cool comfort is to understand why it might fail in the first place. That way, you can be on the lookout for common problems and pitfalls, and try to prevent them before they happen. 

If your air conditioner does fail, be sure to call a professional to identify and repair the issue—or to help you assess whether there’s better value to be found in replacing the unit altogether.

Read on to discover 5 reasons your air conditioner will fail.

How Do I Know My Air Conditioner Is Failing?

Sometimes, a noise here or there or a delay in kicking in just means your unit needs a tuneup. But, there are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for in determining your need for an air conditioner repair. 

If any of the following occur regularly, it’s time to call a professional: 

  • Loud noises like rattles & squeaks
  • Air delivery that’s warm or hot
  • Air conditioner not kicking in despite reaching the set temperature
  • Pools of fluid under the unit that don’t evaporate

5 Reasons For Air Conditioner Failure

1. Electrical Issues

If turning on your air conditioner trips your circuit breaker, your system might have some wiring issues. This can happen due to deterioration of wires or corrosion. 

Electrical issues are serious business—they can cause a fire in your home. Any time you suspect electrical problems, get it looked at immediately.

Woman suffering from heatstroke having thermostat problems when trying to turn on her AC

2. Thermostat Problems

A critical component of your air conditioner is the thermostat. It’s how the system knows when to come on and start cooling your home. If the thermostat is broken or improperly calibrated, your unit won’t kick in when you want it to or turn off when the room is sufficiently cooled. 

When you’re expecting your home to be at a certain temperature and it isn’t, that’s a problem—and a frustrating one! If you notice your A/C isn’t starting up at the temperature you’ve set it to, check the thermometer to make sure it’s reading properly. Then, call your HVAC professional for additional diagnostic information. 

3. Refrigerant Leaks

Air conditioners use a refrigerant chemical to cool off warm or hot air. If your unit is blowing out air that isn’t cold, you might have a refrigerant leak. 

Leaks can be caused by damage to the unit or corrosion of the air conditioner’s metal components. Frozen coils, high power consumption, and low efficiency can result from a refrigerant leak.

4. Not Having the Unit Installed by an Experienced Technician 

Air conditioners need to be installed by experienced HVAC technicians who understand your home and the system they’re putting in it. 

Many air conditioner failures could have been prevented by proper installation in the first place. If the unit is not the right size for the area you want to cool, the air conditioner might have to work harder than normal to get it down to temperature. 

Too much work results in an A/C unit that wants to retire early—before you’ve received the maximum benefit for your investment. If an expert had measured your home and done an assessment before the install, you could have achieved maximum efficiency and prolonged the life of your cooling system. 

Have your air conditioner installed by a company that offers a warranty or guarantee of their work—that way, if something does go wrong, it can be fixed quickly and correctly.

5. Ignoring Regular Maintenance

Air conditioners don’t require a lot of maintenance, but just like your vehicle, a regular tune-up can help to extend their lifespan.

A professional can complete a multi-point inspection of your air conditioner. They’ll check coolant levels and top up fluids if necessary, lubricate parts to keep them moving smoothly, and calibrate the unit as required.

The best technicians keep great records and will measure the output of your air conditioner to have a benchmark for your next tune-up.

Well-maintained air conditioners don’t have to work as hard to cool your home, using less energy and saving you money in the long run. Plus, keeping your A/C unit in good condition prolongs its lifespan and prevents you from needing an early replacement.

Keep Cool & Comfortable

Understanding the reasons your air conditioner will fail can help you prevent breakdowns, save you money, and keep you cool and comfortable. Whenever there are issues with your air conditioner or questions about its operation, look to a team of trusted professionals and put your comfort in their capable hands.

Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.
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