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What Are the Top 5 Reported Issues with Residential AC Systems?

A young couple relaxing in their Newark, OH, home and enjoying the comfort provided by their air conditioner and hoping it doesn’t malfunction.

Oh no! Your air conditioner just went out, and it’s hot outside. What are you going to do? Most repairs will require the services of a professional, but this guide may assist you in determining the cause and, in some cases, repairing it yourself. When the situation calls for the practiced hands of an experienced professional, we hope you’ll call our expert technicians at True North. We’re always available to our valued customers, so don’t suffer in the sweltering heat of summer—get in touch with us right away so we can repair your AC unit and restore the comfort of your home!

#1 Most Common AC Repair Issue: Bad Capacitor

If your thermostat appears to be functioning properly and air is blowing from your vents, but it’s still not cool in your house, check your outside unit, the condenser, to see if it’s operational. The compressor and the fan motor are the two components. Both can be heard with a trained ear. The fan makes a whirring noise, while the compressor produces a deep buzz, similar to that of a refrigerator running. If you hold your hand above the fan, it should feel warmer than the outside air. If the outside unit is buzzing or humming, but nothing is turning or blowing, your capacitor is most likely faulty.

Capacitors assist the electric motors in your air conditioning system in starting and running. They specifically provide an energy boost during the starting phase to get the motors up to speed. Capacitors deteriorate over time and, if not replaced, will “blow,” rendering them useless and occasionally causing other problems inside the unit. For the best AC repair services you can count on, trust True North in Newark, OH.

Average repair cost:  $150-$300

#2 Most Common AC Repair Issue: Low Refrigerant

The refrigerant in your air conditioner, which is usually R22 (Freon) or 410A (Puron), is what actually transfers heat to keep your system cool. The system will struggle to keep up if the refrigerant level is too low. As a result, it may freeze and will eventually fail to cool your home effectively, if at all.

Most low refrigerant cases are the result of a slow leak, so the symptoms become more pronounced if you pay attention. You may notice that your air conditioner is running longer and longer, and that the temperature you have set is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.

Adding more refrigerant to restore proper cooling to your system is not difficult, but you still have to address the reason your system is low on refrigerant. Although it may be a slow leak, refrigerant is escaping in some way. This usually happens in the evaporator coil, and if the leak is significant enough, it may be necessary to replace the coil or even the entire system (if it’s old enough).

Average repair cost:  $150/pound for R22, $70/pound for 410A

A professional technician performing a freon air conditioner refill so the refrigerant levels are satisfactory enough to keep the home in Newark, OH, cool and comfortable.

#3 Most Common AC Repair Issue: Clogged Condensate Drain Line

As your home is cooled with your air conditioner, it is also being dehumidified. The process of cooling the air actually removes moisture at the same time. That moisture must be captured and properly drained outside your home. When it is installed, a PVC drain line is run from your system to the outside, and everything should function normally. The issue is that algae and other substances tend to restrict and clog the drain line over time, causing it to no longer drain properly. When this happens, the water begins to back up inside the unit and eventually fills a secondary drain pan instead of soaking through the ceiling or running onto the floor. When the secondary drain pans fill up, a safety switch shuts down the unit. Furthermore, the current code necessitates the installation of a “SS2” safety switch, which is designed to cut off before any water even enters the safety pan.

Depending on how the safety switch is wired, several things can happen when it is triggered. The thermostat will frequently go blank because the safety switch cuts power to it. Alternatively, the blower and thermostat may continue to operate while the condensing unit is turned off.

Average repair cost:  $150

#4 Most Common AC Repair Issue: Failing Blower Motor

The blower motor is in charge of moving air within your home/ductwork. Blowers are fairly reliable, but they are still among the top five in terms of repairs. They are frequently in hot or humid environments and do not always receive the care and attention they require, such as lubricating their bearings or keeping them free of dirt and debris. Furthermore, older motors have capacitors to help them start, and as those capacitors age or wear out, the motor is subjected to additional stress during startup.

The blower is most likely to blame if you smell electrical burning in your ductwork or hear a rotating banging or grinding sound. You won’t be able to fix it yourself, but you should turn off your system to avoid further damage or a possible fire.

Average repair cost:  $800-900

A professional technician examines an air conditioner’s outdoor unit compressor at this home in Newark, OH.

#5 Most Common AC Repair Issue: Bad Condenser Fan Motor or Compressor

These two are grouped together because, when combined, they are one of the most common issues for air conditioning repair. Both of these components are found in your HVAC system’s outside condensing unit. If you turn on your system and don’t hear both parts running, you have a tripped breaker, or you hear screeching or grinding, it’s possible that your compressor and/or condenser fan motor is broken. These motors typically fail in three ways:

  1. Shorted to ground — This happens when an internal winding (internal wiring that generates a magnetic field when power is applied) makes contact with the case or ground. This will trip your breaker and prevent it from being reset.
  2. Open winding — This occurs when a winding breaks, preventing power from flowing properly through the motor. It will not trip a breaker, but the motor is damaged and will not turn.
  3. Faulty Bearings or Valves — Bearings allow the motor to turn freely and with minimal friction. When a bearing fails, it makes a screeching or grinding noise. When the valves in a compressor no longer hold pressure, they fail. As the refrigerant escapes around an area that should be sealed, you may hear a hissing or whining sound.

You won’t be able to do anything on your own in these cases, so you’ll need to hire a professional. Contact our team at True North today for a specialized diagnostic inspection.

Average repair cost for compressor:  $1200-1500 

Average repair cost for condenser fan motor:  $700-900

Contact True North for Expert AC Repair & Installation Services

When you’re experiencing problems with your home’s air conditioner, we strongly advise you to call our experts at True North in Newark, OH, at (740) 340-1941. We don’t want you to struggle in the heat alone. Hiring our technicians is the fastest way to guarantee a thoroughly professional service and results you’ll love. Let us restore your AC and make you comfortable in your own home again.

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