Air Conditioning FAQ
Whether you have questions about a new AC unit, you’re confused about repairs on your current unit, or you’re just curious about how your cooling system works, we have all the answers that you’ll need. We’ve compiled a list of answers to our most frequently asked cooling system questions below. And, if you’re still curious about your AC or any of our services, don’t hesitate to reach out to us — we’re here to help. Home Service Plus proudly provides AC installation, repair, and maintenance services for homeowners throughout Winnipeg.
What are some signs of a failing AC unit?
If you aren’t getting consistent, cool air throughout your home, then your AC unit may be inefficient or broken. Keep an eye out for the following signs that your unit requires attention:
Refrigerant leaks: Your AC unit relies on refrigerant to cool the air that is forced through your home. The refrigerant runs through the coils of your AC unit, as well as the compressor, where it changes from liquid to gas, which provides the cooling effect. If your line springs a leak, you’ll lose refrigerant which will affect the performance of your AC unit, eventually rendering it ineffective. Larger leaks may cause your AC unit to quit completely, right away.
Compressor failure: Your compressor converts gaseous refrigerant back into a liquid, making it essential for the function of your AC unit. If you have an issue with the compressor, your cooling system won’t work. Often, we recommend completely upgrading the AC system if you have an issue with your compressor. Compressors are difficult and expensive to replace, so it’s likely worth it to invest in a new unit.
Frozen evaporator coil: Your evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air around it, and it may collect frost if it is overused. If you have an AC unit that is constantly running, or the air isn’t being forced from the AC unit to your home, then your evaporator coil may freeze. While your air conditioner may still function, you should turn off your AC to prevent further damage that can occur. Let your evaporator coil defrost and dry before turning on the AC.
Faulty electronics: Your cooling system is outfitted with a variety of electronic components. From the motor to the compressor to the thermometer wiring, these components can fail, which can bring your cooling system to a halt. If your AC unit quits on you, you may have an issue with any one of these components — we’ll take a look and pinpoint the problem.
Drainage issues: Your AC unit may collect condensation as it operates. While that’s normal, you may end up with a drain pan that overflows, especially if there is a blockage. You should be wary of excess condensation and water buildup around your cooling system.
AC motor inefficiency or breakdown: The motor that operates the condensing fan of your AC unit is liable to fail, especially since this component is exposed to the elements. We recommend regular maintenance to ensure that your AC motor runs smoothly throughout its lifetime. If you are experiencing a problem with the motor, your motor may need oil, it may need a new belt, or it may have an electrical problem. Again, we can assess the situation at hand and pinpoint the problem.
Thermostat problems: Your thermostat should trigger your AC unit to come on at the right time. However, if you have a thermostat that is poorly calibrated or the electrical components fail, then your unit may not turn on at the right time or at all.
My AC unit is constantly running, what’s the problem?
You may be experiencing a number of issues if your AC unit is constantly running. You may have an issue with the fan motor of your AC unit, or you may have a bad condenser. You may also have low refrigerant in your system. In addition, you may have an AC unit that isn’t powerful enough to cool your whole home, or your home may be too poorly insulated to hold in the cold air that your cooling system produces. Your AC unit shouldn’t run constantly, or it may cause the evaporator coil to freeze over, which will further damage your unit. If you’ve noticed that your AC unit isn’t operating as it should, then you should reach out to us to take a look — we’ll let you know about the best solution for your circumstances.
Ideally, how long should my AC be on in a cooling cycle?
If you have the right AC unit size, your unit should run about 15 minutes at a time, and it may run two or three times per hour, even on the hottest days of the year. If your AC unit is running more often than that, you may have an issue that is affecting the efficiency of your cooling system. If your AC unit is running less than that, yet your home still isn’t getting enough cool air, then it’s likely that you have a problem with your thermostat.
The AC unit tripped its breaker, what should I do?
AC units are rather demanding as far as electricity goes. As such, they’re liable to trip your breaker while they run. If you’ve noticed that your AC unit doesn’t work, and the breaker has tripped, then you should shut down your AC unit at the thermostat (switch the thermostat to “Off”). Then, you can switch the breaker. Wait 30 minutes as the system resets. Then turn your thermostat back to its previous setting, and make sure that you hear your AC unit turn on.
What is an evaporator coil and how does it work?
Your AC unit relies on an evaporator coil to cool the air that is pumped through your home. As the refrigerant evaporates, it absorbs heat, which cools the coil and the air around it. This air is then ready to be pumped throughout your vents.
My evaporator coil is frozen, what should I do?
If your evaporator coil freezes over, then you should not use your AC unit until it is defrosted. Be sure to turn off your unit — you can turn your thermostat to “Off” for the time being. Thawing the coil may take up to a day. You may have to keep an eye on water buildup in the drip pan, since it can overflow. Once it has thawed completely, you can turn your system on again.
How long do most AC units last before they need to be replaced?
Most AC units last between 10 and 15 years. That said, proper maintenance may prolong the service life of your AC unit. Repair problems promptly, and consider regular maintenance to keep your AC unit running smoothly.
What kind of maintenance plans do you offer?
We offer maintenance plans for both heating and cooling systems. During summer months, we can stop by to ensure that your AC unit is running smoothly. With each maintenance call, we’ll perform all of the following checks, tests, and services:
Inspection of the evaporator coil
Blower inspection, adjustment, and cleaning
Condenser coil inspection and cleaning
Lubrication of the motor and other moving parts
Checking electrical components and wiring
Checking refrigerant pressure and level
Voltage monitoring for the AC motor
Testing the AC cycle for signs of inconsistency
Providing recommendations for necessary repairs or upgrades
Feel free to read more about our heating and cooling maintenance plans.
My AC unit is making noises, should I be concerned?
While your AC unit will make some noise, it shouldn’t be too loud. You’ll hear the fan turn on when your AC unit is triggered, and the compressor will make some noise. However, you should be wary of banging, buzzing, hissing, clicking, and screeching noises — these are all indications that something is wrong with your AC unit. For instance, you may have a leaky refrigerant line, which can cause it to hiss. Or, you may hear a clicking noise which can be caused if your fan is off-centered.
Why is my cooling bill rising?
If your energy bill is continually rising, then your AC unit may be to blame. You may have a unit that is losing its efficiency, which may be caused by a number of issues. If your unit is constantly running, then it may be losing its ability to cool your home. You may have low refrigerant in the line, your compressor may be malfunctioning, you may have a bad fan, or your evaporator coil may be frozen over — among other problems. Your energy bills may also be high if your home is poorly insulated, or if you have leaks throughout the ductwork of your house. You should also check the filter of your air conditioner to make sure that it is relatively clean, since a filter caked in dust and debris won’t be nearly as efficient as a new filter (learn more about filters below).
How often should I replace the air filter for my AC system?
You should swap out the filter of your AC unit every 30 to 90 days, as is recommended by the filter manufacturer. Take note, you’ll only have to swap out the air filter while the HVAC system is consistently being used. Also, be wary that some filters can be cleaned, instead of replaced. You may want to swap out your filter more often if you have pets in the house, if you are sensitive to pollen, if there are high amounts of pollutants in the air where you live, or if you suffer from asthma. Air filters are, generally, fairly inexpensive, and it’s worth the investment to improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, while improving the quality of your air.
Call for Service Today
If you’re still curious about our cooling and air conditioner services, we’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have — just give us a call. Also, if you need service for your AC unit, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Again, we provide AC installation, repair, and maintenance services for homeowners throughout Winnipeg.