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Collier's Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Your AC May Overheat: Here’s Why


Air conditioners are designed to operate during hot days. That’s what they’re for, after all. But an air conditioning system can overheat the same way other mechanical devices like car engines do. When this happens, you may be stranded with a non-functioning AC on one of the hottest days of the year. The AC’s blower fan may stop working so no cool air circulates to the rooms, or the compressor may fail so you’ll still have air circulation, but the air will be room temperature.

Fixing overheated ACs is one of our major jobs during the summers. We have plenty of experience taking care of these failures and can explain in detail why they happen. You don’t need excessive amounts of detail, however, to understand why you need a Plymouth, IN, HVAC contractor to repair a busted air conditioner, so below we’ve only listed the major reasons for an air conditioner overheating:

Clogged air filter

Sadly, the clogged air filter is the cause of many different cooling troubles even though it’s easy to prevent. Changing the filter once every 1–3 months prevents congestion of dirt, dust, and other debris from blocking airflow and putting so much pressure on the blower fan motor that it will overheat and trip a circuit breaker. Change the filter, reset the breaker, and try the AC again. If the problem persists, call for repairs.

Dirty outdoor coils

The condenser coils housed in the outdoor cabinet of a split-system air conditioner release the heat carried from the indoor evaporator coils. Dirt and grime create an insulating layer over the coil, slowing down the heat release. The extra heat trapped in the AC forces it to run longer and possibly lead to failure from overheating. Cleaning off the coils isn’t as simple as pointing a hose at the cabinet, however. Let the professionals use chemicals to safely and thoroughly clean the outdoor coils.

Low refrigerant

Refrigerant may escape from an air conditioner through copper line leaks. A low refrigerant charge puts the whole AC in danger of failing, especially the compressor. The compressor can overheat due to a low level of refrigerant—and when this happens, it usually means the entire AC system must be replaced. (You can replace the compressor alone, but it’s often prohibitively expensive.)

Failed capacitors

Capacitors are components that can suffer from direct heat. The capacitors send electrical charges to the motors in the AC to start them and keep them running. But high heat levels eventually remove a capacitor’s ability to retain an electrical charge, leading to motors that won’t start or won’t stay on. Fortunately, replacing failed capacitors is a basic job for professional HVAC technicians.

Aside from checking on the air filter and the circuit breaker panel, you shouldn’t try to find out what’s wrong with an overheated AC yourself. Leave it to our licensed experts to make an accurate diagnosis and have the problem fixed. We want you to get back to enjoying cool times in your house during the late summer heat.

Turn to the company Northern Indiana has trusted for over 30 years: Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning.

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