Learning About Furnaces

Five Things That Are Ruining Your AC

A fully functioning AC is a must for your comfort during the summer. Avoid making mistakes that could cause your AC unit to break down. 

1. Blocked Air Returns

The air returns are the vents in your home that take in air and recirculate it through the AC unit. Returns may look like regular vents, or they may be larger vents located on the walls or the floor. Blocking these reduces airflow into the AC, which can impact the cooling ability of the unit as well as put stress on the AC and increase the chances of a breakdown. Make sure return vents are open and that there are no drapes or furniture blocking the returns.

2. Dirty Filter Housing

It's common knowledge that the AC filter needs to be replaced every month or two, but replacement may not be enough. This is especially the case if you have pets or if you live in a dusty area where debris is more likely to build up in the filter. This dust and debris can become stuck in the filter housing, where it will recirculate into the AC and cause problems. Each time you change the filter, vacuum out the housing before putting in the new filter to ensure there is no remaining debris. 

3. Overgrown Weeds

Weeds, grass, and landscape plants growing up against the outdoor AC unit blocks airflow into the unit from the outside. Blocking the external unit also increases the chances of it overheating because it will have to work harder. Keep plants and debris trimmed back so that this isn't an issue. Airflow is one of the most important things to maintain around the main AC unit. 

4. Damaged Condenser Fins

The condenser fins are the fine vents located on the outside AC unit. These fins are sharp, so take care when working around them. They are also somewhat delicate and can easily become bent or warped. Bent and damaged condenser fins inhibit the cooling ability of your AC unit. Fortunately, there are special tools called fin combs available that will allow you to fix minor damage. 

5. Worn Fan Bearings

Noises and shaking from the AC blower fan are typically a result of poor lubrication. If not addressed, lubrication issues can lead to friction damage, particularly to the bearings in the fan. Your AC fan assembly needs to be lubricated and maintained annually to prevent issues. 

Contact an air conditioning contractor for more help with maintaining your unit.