Performance issues hound all types of air conditioners, from window units to centralized systems. The good news is that this common problem can be resolved without much effort. The following can serve as a guide for your AC troubleshooting:
1. Check the filters for dirt and airflow.
All types of air conditioners rely on the filters to block dirt and other impurities. If these get clogged, then airflow will be restricted, efficiency will go down, and air may not be cooled as well as it should be. Make sure that you clean these filters from time to time. Keep an eye on them so that you can act accordingly. For central AC, replacement is usually once a month for those dealing with pets and continuous operations. According to HVAC Denver, 90% of the calls they receive at his company are about systems with performance issues due to dirty filters. Taking care of this vastly reduces the risk of developing problems.
2. Reduce direct sunlight on the AC unit.
The placement of window units is essential to its performance. If it is situated in an area that receives large amounts of direct sunlight, then it will have a harder time trying to cool down the house. Whenever possible, the unit should be relocated to a spot that is out of the reach of the sun. Another strategy is to block sunlight using curtains and shades, so the room does not heat up too much. The same strategy works as well for central systems.
3. Inspect the room for air leaks.
There will be some space between the window AC and its perimeter. This can be closed off using sealants. See if there are any holes or gaps around this unit. Reseal as needed.
Senior air conditioner tester Chris Regan says that the majority of modern window units include insulation panels that are meant to go over the plastic side panels. While this is a great addition, optimal efficiency can only be achieved with full weather-stripping coverage around the sides. The best results can be achieved through the use of the manufacturer’s safety and installation hardware.
4. Observe the unit for vibrations.
There are plenty of moving parts in an air conditioner, so does generate quite a bit of sound. You can hear this from the hum of the fan and the constant switching of the compressor. It is normal to hear them up to a certain level. However, odd sounds and extremely loud noises should not be present. For example, vibrating noise is indicative of a faulty installation. Check the positioning and read the installation guide again for missed steps.
5. Verify the thermostat settings.
Using a programmable thermostat makes it easier to manage the household temperature. You can be sure that it will always be comfortable when you’re inside the home. The machine will automatically adjust the temperature during times when you are outside. The thermostat is responsible for sensing environmental conditions and reacting accordingly. Keep this out of direct sunlight so as not to skew the readings.
6. Clean the registers.
Forced air HVAC systems are prone to dust build-up. Therefore, you must ensure that the registers get regular cleaning to prevent this. Remove any object that could block the flow of air through these registers like furniture pieces.
7. Clear the perimeter of the compressor.
The compressor will be located outside the house in a central air system. This area should be monitored for debris, plant growth, and other unwanted objects. A minimum clearance of 2 feet should be maintained around the perimeter, while these should at a minimum of 5 feet between the top and the trees.
8. Schedule an annual tune-up.
Homeowners can only do so much. Some of the work requires trained hands and minds. Experienced HVAC technicians should perform the inspection and tune-up on an annual basis. These will prevent breakdowns by catching problems at their earliest stages. They will lubricate moving parts and recharge the system if required.