Summer is the most critical time for a business’s HVAC system to be operating at peak performance. Uncomfortable employees or customers are a recipe for disaster, and humid indoor air is the perfect host for mold and mildew. It’s the worst time of year for your HVAC to fail.
Here are the 6 most common summer HVAC failures, plus some tips from an HVAC service company to prevent them.
#1 – Reduced Air Flow
Reduced air flow throughout your HVAC system can cause it to work overtime, be less efficient, and possibly even overheat. Common causes of reduced air flow in the summer include:
- Vegetation growing around the outdoor condenser units – It’s critical to keep the area around condenser units clear. This is why many businesses opt for rooftop condensers. TIP: If your condenser is on the ground, keep the lush summer grass and weeds away from it, and keep it free of mold, mud, and other gunk that can clog the cooling fins and blower fan.
- Dirty air filters – When your system is working overtime in the summer, the air filters get dirty faster, further reducing air flow. This problem is compounded with summer pollen and other allergens hammering your system. Not only is air flow reduced, but indoor air is compromised as clogged filters aren’t filtering out the allergens. TIP: Always plan to replace your air filters more frequently in the summer months. Your HVAC service company can recommend a replacement schedule based on how your business operates.
#2 Frozen Evaporator Coils
As mentioned above, when your HVAC system is working harder in the summer, air filters, and thus evaporator coils, can get dirty faster. Dirty evaporator coils can lead to frozen refrigerant lines, and frost and ice buildup on the coils. This causes your A/C to blow warm air — in the summer! While a quick fix is to turn the system off and allow it to “defrost,” this is just putting off maintenance that will end up costing more in the long-run – both in higher energy bills and repair costs.
TIP: Schedule a spring HVAC checkup and have the evaporator coils inspected and cleaned. If the coils “freeze up” again in the summer, schedule another cleaning. Take care of your HVAC, and your HVAC will take care of you!
#3 – Refrigerant Leaks
Air conditioning systems don’t actually consume refrigerant, like a car consumes gas. Refrigerant is theoretically recycled through the system indefinitely. When your technician says your refrigerant is low and the A/C needs to be charged, it means there’s a leak(s) somewhere in the system. Because air conditioning systems are pressurized, they must be completely sealed. Even tiny pinhole leaks in the evaporator coils or refrigerant lines can cause a slow leak over time. Major damage can cause refrigerant levels to rapidly drop and lead to compressor failure.
TIP: When you schedule service with your HVAC service company, part of their routine inspection is checking refrigerant levels. If they say the system needs to be charged, make sure they find and fix the leak, first.
#4 – Faulty Capacitor
The outdoor condenser unit’s motor capacitor is a critical part of your air conditioning system. It’s responsible for jump starting the condenser motor at the beginning of each cooling cycle. Electrical surges, faulty wiring, age and normal wear and tear, and extreme (hot) temperatures can all cause the capacitor to malfunction. When it does, symptoms can range from the A/C blowing warm air, to humming noises and burning smells, the system shutting off at random or taking a long time to “kick on” when a cooling cycle starts, and even complete failure.
TIP: Capacitors can last as long as 20 years, but it really depends on your business, system, and how hard the system is taxed in the summer. At each inspection with your HVAC service company, your technician should test the capacitor with a multimeter and recommend replacement when necessary. Replacing capacitors is actually incredibly affordable compared to the bigger repairs it could lead to.
#5 – Compressor Failure
The compressor is the heart of an HVAC system. It’s responsible for circulating the refrigerant through the system, changing it from a heat absorbing gas into a magical cooling liquid. Without the compressor, there is no cooling power to your air conditioning system.
All of the causes and problems discussed above can affect the compressor: dirty coils, refrigerant leaks, electrical problems, etc. And compressor failure can present itself in many of the same ways: blowing warm air, strange sounds and smells, the system not kicking on and off properly, and ultimately total system failure.
TIP: Fortunately, many of the problems that cause compressor failure are easy to prevent with regular HVAC maintenance. Unfortunately, compressor failure usually means there are more serious underlying problems in your HVAC system. It’s critical to have a thorough inspection from top to bottom to find and fix the root cause before simply replacing the compressor.
Trillium Facility Solutions Gets You Ready For The Dog Days Of Summer
Summer is the most taxing time for your HVAC. Now that you’re aware of some of the most common summer HVAC failures, you’re equipped to be on the lookout and can plan to schedule preventive maintenance to ensure your system is in good health before the dog days of summer arrive.
Trillium Facility Solutions is your one-stop for complete facility maintenance solutions. We have a nationwide network of vetted HVAC service companies. Just one call to us and we handle everything for you — no interviewing vendors, negotiating rates, scheduling service, and managing multiple invoices. Just one easy friendly, and helpful relationship with the folks here at Trillium!
Get in touch with any of our amazing team members who are standing by ready to serve! Call (844) 818-5713 to learn more.