If you live somewhere with scorching summers, your air conditioner is likely the most important part of your home's HVAC system. While many people may only run their air conditioners for two or three months per year, homes in warmer climates may put their systems through much heavier usage. Unfortunately, longer runtimes can also mean more frequent failures.
Although these problems are largely unavoidable if you live somewhere with high temperatures, knowing what to expect can still be helpful. These three repairs are all particularly common areas with hot summers and long cooling seasons.
1. Start Capacitor Failures
The start capacitor ensures your air conditioner's compressor can draw enough charge to smoothly and reliably start when your thermostat calls for cooling. The compressor requires the most current when first starting, so a start capacitor is usually necessary to avoid hard-starting issues and other problems. As a result, the start capacitor can be a potentially frustrating failure point.
Capacitors typically fail due to runtime and heat. Constant cycling will cause your start capacitor to wear out more quickly, and high temperatures will also reduce its lifespan. While a hot day won't be enough to kill your air conditioner's capacitor, many long, hot summers can mean a reduced lifespan and a higher likelihood of replacement.
2. Condenser Fan Motor Failures
The condenser fan is an often underappreciated part of any air conditioning system. Efficiently removing heat from your home requires your air conditioner to release that heat into the outside environment. While the condenser coils help with this process, they can't do it alone. The condenser fan provides additional airflow to improve heat transfer efficiency.
However, the condenser fan must also run whenever your compressor turns on. Since it sits on top of the condenser unit, this fan and its must motor must often endure long days filled with scorching heat. These extreme conditions and heavy usage can cause the motor to wear out. If your condenser fan stops working, your system will likely stop working until you repair it.
3. Condensate Drain or Pump Failures
If your summers are humid as well as hot, then high condensation levels may be another concern. A properly-sized air conditioning system will run long enough to dehumidify the air, but that excess moisture needs to go somewhere. Residential central air systems use gravity-fed condensate drains or powered pumps to remove moisture from your home.
Heavy usage and high humidity can potentially expose problems with these systems, however. For example, a partially clogged condensate drain may begin to back up under the strain, or a weak pump may fail. If the condensate safety switch shuts your system off, it's crucial to have an HVAC technician locate and repair the problem to avoid possible water damage to your home.
Speak to an AC repair service for more info.