3 Reasons Your AC Could Be Less Efficient Than Last Year

Posted on: 30 July 2015

When the cold of winter leads into an unseasonably hot spring, you might find yourself firing up your central air conditioner earlier than usual. But instead of feeling a cool burst of air, you have little to no cold coming through the vents. If your air conditioner was working fine when you used it last summer, there are a few likely causes to your sudden cooling issues.

Here are three reasons your central air conditioner could be less efficient than last year.

Needs Seasonal Maintenance

Air conditioners need seasonal maintenance especially in areas that rotate from frigid winter to sweltering summer. Most HVAC companies offer an affordable seasonal tune-up that will make sure your unit is operating to the best of its abilities as soon as warm weather hits.

But there are also a few steps you can take as a proactive homeowner. Make sure the air filter has been changed or cleaned according to manufacturer instructions. You can also check the exterior condensing unit for any leaves or debris caught on the exterior grates.

If the cold weather turned to warm quickly, also check your exterior vent pipe to make sure it didn't freeze over or become clogged with snow.

Frozen Coils or Low Refrigerant

If your air conditioner fan and motor seem to be running properly but you're not getting much cold air out, you might have a problem with the coils or the refrigerant.

Evaporator coils within the air handler inside your house are meant to transform liquid refrigerant into gas. This phase change makes the coils cold, which in turn cools the air that's blown over the coils by a fan motor and back out the vents in your home.

Improper levels of refrigerant can cause those coils to either freeze up or fail to cool enough. Frozen coils will provide more cold air briefly but will also slow down the amount of refrigerant that can come through, which makes your system run as if it's too low on refrigerant. So either truly low refrigerant or frozen coils creating the illusion of low refrigerant can compromise the efficiency of your cooling system.

It's best to leave coil maintenance to a trained professional, as damaging the coils can render your system inoperable. Refrigerant levels have to be checked by a pro because sale of the chemical is restricted to professional use in most markets.

Exceeded Lifespan

Can't find any problems that could be causing your cooling issues? Check the age of your air conditioner unit. If that age is in the double-digits, it could simply be time to purchase a new unit.

For more information, contact Spell's Mechanical Services or a similar company.