Now that summer is in full-swing, you’ve probably relied on your air conditioner to provide cool air each day. If you didn’t start the season out with an inspection, your air conditioner may be in worse shape than you think. If you’re like most people, you assume that if your air conditioner comes on when needed, you have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true.

The fact is that air conditioner troubles can pop up out of nowhere, especially when you don’t know what to look for. Here are some tips that will help you identify problems with the components inside your AC.

1. Capacitor

When your air conditioner initially cycles on each time, a large burst of power starts the cool air production. This initial burst of power comes from the capacitor. Between cycles, energy is stored inside the capacitor for the next round. Unfortunately, each time the capacitor cycles on, the component loses a small amount of that ability to store energy.

Eventually, that ability wears out altogether. One way to tell when the capacitor is about to malfunction is to pay attention to the cycles. If your AC comes on without problems one time, only to misfire the next, the capacitor may be on the way out. In other instances, the capacitor will hum loudly during startup.

2. Compressor Valve

If you have regular maintenance performed on your air conditioner, you shouldn’t have to worry about worn-out compressor valves. That’s because this issue is usually diagnosed during those annual service calls. However, the compressor valve may fail between those appointments.

When the compressor valve malfunctions, your compressor won’t function properly, which means you’ll be without cool air in your home. Signs of a faulty compressor valve include visible refrigerant leaks, diminished cooling ability throughout the house, or lack of sound from the compressor.

3. Thermostat

Your thermostat is another component that can interfere with the proper performance of your air conditioner. This component, while small, is responsible for operating your entire HVAC system. In most cases, issues with your thermostat can be traced to a few minor issues — dead batteries, loose wires, or improper temperature settings.

However, when those issues aren’t the problem, something more serious may be the culprit. If you have a mechanical thermostat, and the AC won’t cycle on, the anticipator — a small metal tab inside the thermostat — has probably failed. If you don’t hear any sound when you activate the thermostat, and troubleshooting doesn’t identify the issue, the problem requires professional assistance.

4. Condensate Drain

Each time your air conditioner cycles on, condensation forms inside the unit. This condensation then drains into a tray, or through a tube. If the condensation drains through a tube, the liquids ends up outside the house. However, if the condensation drains into a condensate tray, the liquid is collected under the main HVAC unit.

If the tray isn’t cleaned out thoroughly, and on a regular basis, you risk the complete shutdown of your air conditioning system. That’s because an overflow situation triggers the safety sensor, which shuts down the air conditioner. If that happens, your AC technician needs to make the necessary repairs.

5. Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are a common AC issue that are often overlooked. One reason for this is due to the fact that most people don’t know what to look for. Luckily, refrigerant leaks are easy to spot, once you know the signs. One way to spot a refrigerant leak is to watch your electric bill.

Electric bills often spike, due to the increased power that’s needed to generate cool air when there’s a refrigerant leak. Another way to spot a leak is to look at the coils for ice deposits. Ice on your evaporator coil is a sure sign that your AC has a refrigerant leak.

Don’t spend the summer without your air conditioner. If you experience trouble with your air conditioner, the information provided above will help you pinpoint the problem. If you live in the Dayton, OH, area, contact us at Comfort Medic. We’re available for all your heating and cooling needs.