One of the most important home installations for many people is the air conditioning. Designed to keep us cool in the searing summer heat., air conditioning works hard and constantly. A relatively simple concept, it nevertheless requires maintenance at set intervals and is not a DIY prospect if you want it to remain operating efficiently for its lifetime.
In the article that follows we look at problems that can be associated with air conditioning units, how long you should expect one to last, and how to tell if there is something wrong. We’ll begin with a look at some common faults.
What Causes Problems with Air Conditioners?
There are several faults that usually result in poor performance in air conditioning units. You will need a specialist in air conditioners and air conditioning repair to advise whether you need a replacement, or the problem can be repaired. Here are the most commonly reported faults:
- Low refrigerant occurs when the refrigerant – the gas inside the system – drops below a certain level. This can occur naturally or may be due to a leak. This will result in the device working harder to achieve a level of cooling that cannot be reached and can damage the system. The refrigerant can be refilled by an expert but should not be attempted as a DIY job.
- Fan failure is a common problem as the fan that drives the cool air does not have an infinite life. Eventually, the bearings will wear, or a fragile over-used part may break, and the fan will stop working. This can usually be replaced by a professional and should not be too expensive.
- Problems with the coils, either the evaporator or condenser coils that are integral to the cooling routine, can be troublesome. Should the coils become dirty or frozen they may fail, leaving a system that is again trying to achieve a temperature that cannot be reached. Coils can be replaced or repaired professionally to extend the life of your a/c unit.
- Dirty air filters will slow down the flow of air through the system and cause the unit to overwork. The filters become dirty from the particles in the air that passes through them and settle and can be replaced easily by an engineer.
- Leaking air ducts cause the air to leak out from the system which then needs to be replaced and makes the unit work too hard. It will eventually break down through being asked to do too much.
The above are the most common but not the sole problems associated with air conditioning. The electric board controlling the machine can fail, leaks in the water system cause problems, and any one of the moving parts within the air conditioning unit will eventually reach the end of its lifetime. What can be done to prevent the above?
How Long Should an A/C Unit Last?
As we have already mentioned the life of an air conditioning unit is not infinite. Your unit will probably need replacing after around 20 years, so if you have an older system it is worth having it checked over by an expert engineer. While there may be the need for repairs it is not necessarily time to go to the expense of replacement, but it is something you should budget for at 15 to 20 years to avoid unnecessary shocks!
The fact that these devices have many moving parts and work at full power for long periods of time means they do need maintenance. If you notice anything strange or different – perhaps a rise in temperature or the main unit making more noise than usual – it is essential you call out an air conditioning engineer to give the machine service. This should also be done yearly to help get the longest life from your unit and reduce the likelihood of further expense.
The benefits of clean air both indoors and out are well known and you will certainly start to feel the difference once your air conditioning unit begins to underperform. If you want to be on the safe side call out a local engineer now to have a look at your system and arrange a maintenance plan.