Air Conditioner Troubleshooting

An air conditioner being an electronic gadget is subject to wear and tear with age. The components will turn defective and start malfunctioning. Here we will discuss about four air conditioner problems and how to troubleshoot them:

The Humidifier does not work:

This is a very common complaint in colder months. It is very important that your indoor air should have the right humidity level round the year. In winter moths when the season is dry, the role of humidifier becomes very crucial. It makes the air comfortably moist to eliminate the damp and dry feeling indoors. This is very important for your heath as well as for the furnishing in your house.

Most of the times the root cause of the problem lies in the forgetfulness of the users. They turn off the humidifier after the end of winter months and forget to turn it on before the commencement of next winter. Some homes forget to open the bypass damper or water valve.

To keep the humidifier at the peak of its efficiency, it should be cleaned once every year. In case you have hard water running through your taps, you will require cleaning it twice a year. The humidifier will not work efficiently if the water panel or evaporator pad is clogged with sediment.

There could be an array of reasons for not working humidifier:

• Blocked water valve
• Bunged orifice
• Problem in the motor
• Closed water valve or bypass damper
• Clogged water panel or pad
• Faulty wiring
• Not working solenoid valve
• Defective humidity or set too low
• Not working float
• 115 volt unit not plugged in
• The humidifier pad installed in motor backwards
• Low water level

Noisy Heating and cooling units:

If you have a heat pump as a heating and cooling unit, then you should know that heat pumps are a little prone to making noises when on operation. There are varieties of reasons for heat pumps making sound. Heat pumps serves both as a heater and a cooler by reversing the flow of refrigerant through are verse valve.In winter when it goes in defrost mode the valve shifts as a result a whooshing sound is generated. Sometimes the compressor also becomes too loud. This sound is generated due to the compressor receiving refrigerant. When you shut down, you will hear noise which is due to equalization of refrigerant pressure. But this sound is quite normal.

Sometimes the compressor makes a squealing sound. These are quite normal for the compressor. If they start all of a sudden, the motor could be going bad. Sometimes you hear buzzing sound from the outdoor unit even when it is not running. This is caused by the reversing valve solenoid coil. It's usually a low voltage device (24 volts). This sound is normal.

Sometimes you hear scary metal hitting metal sound when you power on the heat pump. This could be due to something coming in the way of fan blades. It could be ice, or a wire, or tubing. This should be looked into immediately, as the blades and motor can be badly damaged. Also if a piece of copper tubing shifted and is being hit by the blades,then the tube can break causing the refrigerant to leak away.

Vibrating sounds from heat pumps are difficult to eliminate. You can put rubber isolation pad under the unit to mitigate it. If the refrigerant piping is strapped too tightly to the joists, it can result in vibration.

Here is a list of causes that can cause noisy heat pumps:

• Not working compressor valves or motor
• Broken or misaligned fan blades
• Low refrigerant level
• Faulty reversing valve
• Noisy solenoid coil or contractor
• Loud compressor or unit
• Ice build-up in the outdoor unit
• Something coming in the way of spinning fans
• Loose parts
• Refrigerant pipes secures too tightly to joists

Outdoor unit needs to shut down through the main circuit breaker:

This is genuine problem which can lead to freezing of the indoor unit. The ice will then travel to external unit. There are some common reasons that can cause this. One could be a stuck contractor.It is always wise to replace the contractor in such situation. Another cause would be a shorted thermostat cable. The short can be caused by a string trimmer hitting against the wire outside. It could also be due to a wire staple piercing on a wire. Rodent-chewed wire or a bad wire could also cause this. Lastly, the thermostat itself could be bad. It could be sending signals to the outdoor, when it does not need to.

Therefore this problem can be caused mainly due to:

• Stuck contractor
• Thermostat cable shorted
• Bad thermostat

Thermostat light stays lit:

The usual cause of this is that the outdoor unit is locked out. The indoor unit will keep running. But as it cannot meet the cooling demand, the thermostat will remain lit.

The best way to deal with such a situation is to reset the unit. Put it off and wait for 30 seconds before turning it on. If both units start working and thermostat light goes out then the machine is back to normal. Remember it can take 10 minutes for the outdoor unit to start after resetting.

If the light does not go out, or outdoor unit does not start, you will need to call technician. Sometime the outdoor unit is in snowdrift which can lead to this problem. Resetting should bring it in order.

Disclaimer: Although these are the typical methods used to troubleshoot the air conditioner problems discussed in the page, it can vary from house to house and please consult your professional electrician as the details are for information purposes.

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