Imagine living in Florida without air conditioning—during summer. Sounds miserable, right?
That’s exactly what will happen if your air conditioner overheats.
When an A/C overheats, it increases the electrical current it pulls in and can trip your circuit breaker. It will continue tripping the breaker until you find the cause and fix it.
Let’s avoid this sweaty scenario by showing you what causes your air conditioner to overheat.
Your A/C may overheat and shut down due to…
1) Choking on a dirty air filter
Imagine someone stuffing a pillow over your face. Hard to breathe, right? Your A/C has a similar problem when you leave a dirty air filter in the return vent.
According to ENERGY STAR: “A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.”
“Work harder” means it runs longer to cool your home to your thermostat’s setting.
If this keeps up, the air conditioner will keep running until it overheats and shuts down.
So if your air filter looks like the one on the right…
…It’s time to change it. (You should change your filter at least once a month.)
2) Getting low on blood
Yes, refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioner. It’s how your A/C absorbs heat from your indoor air and boots it outside. That’s why it’s called a “heat transfer fluid.”
Note: Most people know refrigerant as “Freon”, the DuPoint brand of refrigerant.
But when your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it has a hard time absorbing enough heat to cool your air to the thermostat setting. So it runs constantly, overheats, and can trip the circuit breaker.
Signs you’re low on refrigerant include:
- Vents blow hot air even though your thermostat is set to “cool.”
- Vents blow hot/lukewarm air only sometimes (usually when it’s extremely hot outside).
- Air conditioner runs constantly.
- Lots of ice builds up on the inside unit.
- Higher electric bills compared to other summers
- Water forms on the floor by your inside unit
Not sure if you’re low on refrigerant? Have an A/C contractor check it as part of a regular maintenance visit.
if it is low on refrigerant, there may be a refrigerant leak that may need repaired.
3) Wearing a sweater of dirt
Your outside air conditioning unit is always exposed to the elements. So it’s likely to get covered in grass, dirt, dust and leaves.
But all that junk makes it hard for refrigerant coils (the tubes the refrigerant flows through) to release heat, just like a sweater keeps heat from escaping your body. (imagine your body wearing a sweater in summer; you’d overheat, too!)
Remember, the refrigerant needs to release heat so it can absorb more heat from your indoor air. If it can’t release heat, it can’t absorb more. Meaning your A/C runs longer to cool your home, just like if it were low on refrigerant.
Either clean the air conditioners outside unit yourself, or have Professional Air Solutions Specialist take care of it for you!
These and much more…
These are 3 problems you can spot and fix right away to prevent your air conditioner from overheating. But, of course, there are many other issues that can cause your air conditioner to malfunction and break down.
If that happens, have a reliable air conditioning repairman you can trust so you don’t stay without cool air for too long.
Stay cool, everybody!