How and Why Air Conditioners Leak and Break

There’s a reason A/C units break, and it always seems to happen at the worst possible times — in the middle of the afternoon a scorching summer day. Thousands of people turn on their system all at once (usually occurring at inconvenient) times. Energy companies have to employ large amounts of power plants to deal with this increase in use. Thankfully the reasons for failure are relatively easy to fix and need a touch of old-fashioned maintenance.

Usually when air conditioner problems persist, it is because of improper operation or basic misunderstandings of how to use the A/C system. For example, you’d be surprised how many people simply forget to close their windows and doors when the A/C unit is turned on.

Other common problems with existing air conditioners result from:

  • Faulty installation
  • Poor service procedures
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Improper installation of a central air conditioner can result in leaky ducts and low airflow

Check the amounts of refrigerant charge, and if it doesn’t match what the manufacturer listed. If you had the wrong refrigerant during installation, chances are that could be an issue later on.

You should also check circuit breakers and/or fuses. Before completing a reset of the system, give it a few minutes to cool off (especially on a hot summer day). The reset button can be found in the compressor’s access panel.

The 5 top reasons air conditioners leak

    If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, either it was undercharged at installation or it leaks.
    If you allow filters and air conditioning coils to become dirty, the air conditioner will not work properly, and the compressor or fans are likely to fail prematurely.
    The compressor and fan controls can wear out, especially when the air conditioner turns on and off frequently, as is common when a system is oversized.
    Room air conditioners feature a thermostat sensor, located behind the control panel, which measures the temperature of air coming into the evaporative coil.
    When it’s humid outside, check the condensate drain to make sure it isn’t clogged and is draining properly. Room air conditioners may not drain properly if not mounted level.

Common Air Conditioning Problems 

  1. A/C Unit Won’t Come On
    If you find yourself with your AC units unable to come on, and other appliances (i.e., the fan) are still functioning properly, there are reasons. Step one, check thermostat. If this checks out, move on. Step two means it’s time to check the circuit breaker near the unit. If that doesn’t help — step four is to call a professional.
  1. Air Conditioning Unit is Making Noise
    Air conditioners make noise. They make noise as all things do. But if you start hearing loud rattling noises something is not right. Tip: If your air conditioner sounds resemble everyone’s favorite Star Wars character Chewbacca, its time to call a professional.
  1. AC Runs, but Doesn’t Cool Your Home
    If you notice that air is still flowing through your vents — but without cool air — chances are something is wrong with the condenser coil. Since this part can be tricky for the average person out there — it’s best to contact a professional to diagnose and/or repair.