2 Potential Cooling Problems Caused By Malfunctioning Condenser Coils

Construction & Contractors Blog

Central air conditioner units have two main parts: an outdoor condensing unit and an indoor air handler. The condensing unit has condenser coils along the wall that take in gas refrigerant and convert the gas to a liquid, which then passes into the house for cooling in the air handler.

Dirty, blocked, or damaged condenser coils can thwart both the efficiency and the long-term health of your air conditioning system. Fixing the condenser coils can be a fairly easy process but you should also call in an air conditioning service at least once a year for general maintenance.

Here are two of the common problems associated with malfunctioning condenser coils – and how or if you should undertake a fix on your own.

Inefficient Cooling

One of the most common signs of a condenser coil problem is that your cooling system becomes less efficient. The efficiency drop can manifest as the need to keep turning your thermostat lower to get the indoor temperature comfortable. Or the system can simply stop putting out cold air altogether.

If your system has become less efficient, you need to check the condenser coils for any dirt buildups. Dirty coils aren't able to regulate the refrigerant as well, which means that less liquid refrigerant makes it inside to cool the evaporator coils and then cool your indoor air.

Turn off all power to your condensing unit before removing the lid and locating the coils. Point a hose nozzle through the coils from the inside of the unit so that you can rinse the coils clean without getting standing water in the bottom of the condensing unit. Reassemble the unit when you are done, and turn the power back on before testing your system's efficiency.

Overheating Condensing Unit

Has your central air conditioner started turning itself off for no apparent reason? When you go out to the condensing unit after the shut-off, does the unit seem to be warmer than usual? Your unit might be overheating due to blocked condenser coils.

Coils that aren't able to properly vent through the grated unit cover can all become superheated when trying to convert the refrigerant. There is a fan inside to prevent this from happening, but the fan can only do so much and superheating can still happen.

Check around the unit for any yard items or plants that could be blocking the grate for the condensing unit. Turn off the power to your unit and check the coils for dirt. If the coils are damaged, call an air conditioning repair person immediately.


17 October 2015

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