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Can an Air Conditioner Overheat?

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Your air conditioner plays a huge role in home comfort. When outdoor temperatures rise, just one click on your thermostat can make a world of difference. Keeping cool this way is essential in Texas, but on Katy’s hottest days, can an air conditioner overheat?

Understandably, you may not think about your air conditioner’s maintenance needs until a problem arises. However, an overheating air conditioner is always a symptom of a bigger problem and hardly ever a hot weather issue.

Below, BVS, a reliable AC company in Katy, TX, explains how an air conditioner could exhibit overheating symptoms and what you can do to prevent them from shortening its lifespan.

Common Reasons Your Air Conditioner May Overheat

Your air conditioner has a lot of parts that work together to create a comfortable temperature inside your home, no matter how hot it gets outside. So, all it takes is damage to one part to prevent your air conditioner from cooling as it should. If you continue running it after that, your air conditioner may incur further damage, work harder than its design allows, and begin to run too hot.

For example, here are a few reasons your air conditioner may overheat:

Damaged Evaporator Coils

Air conditioners provide cool air by using coolant that flows through the evaporator coils. It absorbs heat from the air and transfers it outside. However, evaporator coils, usually made from copper, are not as durable as you may think. 

For example, the coils will easily develop pin-size holes that can grow larger over time, allowing coolant to leak out. Without enough coolant, the air conditioner can’t reach the set temperature. It will work harder and harder, eventually overheating.

Check the area around your air conditioner for puddles or liquid dripping from the unit. Excess moisture could mean coolant is leaking from your machine, and the problem will get worse until you schedule professional repair. A licensed HVAC technician like those at BVS will need to inspect the evaporator coils for holes or other signs of damage and make repairs.

Afterward, they will check the coolant levels and top up if too much has leaked out of the closed-loop system. Postponing professional repairs by adding coolant will only end up causing more damage, so don’t wait to contact a trusted professional to handle the coolant and repairs.

Dirty Air Filter

The air filter traps small particles of dust, pollen, and other pollutants, removing them from the air inside your home. However, you need a clean filter to help your air conditioner run optimally. If your air conditioner operates for a long time with a dirty air filter, the lack of proper airflow will affect its efficiency and also lead to overheating.

When you fix the air filter blockage by replacing the filter or cleaning a reusable filter, you will notice an immediate improvement in indoor air quality and AC unit efficiency. You will also enjoy a more consistent temperature throughout your home and avoid energy bill spikes as the system works more efficiently.

Check your air conditioner’s manual to see how often the manufacturer recommends replacing the unit’s air filter. Though it seems like a small thing to do, it goes a long way in terms of extending the lifespan of your air conditioner!

Dirt Buildup

Can an air conditioner overheat if it’s outside in the sun? The compressor sits outside your home, where dirt, leaves, and other outdoor contaminants build up, forming a thick layer of grime. If the condenser coils have years of dirt buildup on them, they can’t operate well, and your air conditioner may overheat.

Keep an eye on the condenser unit and brush away leaves, twigs, and other debris to increase the airflow and ease the strain on your air conditioner. If the unit has debris inside it, call a qualified HVAC technician like BVS to clean it so that you don’t damage the delicate components or touch any live wires.

Capacitor Problems

The capacitor provides power to the compressor, blower motor, and fans inside your air conditioner. It helps the air conditioner start its cycle, which takes an extra jolt of electricity. But if you have a damaged or old capacitor with electrical issues caused by a power surge, it won’t provide your air conditioner with the power it needs to kick into gear.

The capacitor problem can be especially serious if you live in an area with extreme summer temperatures, which could cause the unit to overheat.

Professional Maintenance To Keep Your Air Conditioner in Good Shape

No matter what type of air conditioner you have, you can prevent overheating and all sorts of other problems by scheduling regular HVAC maintenance. Why wait until your air conditioner completely breaks down? Schedule annual maintenance so that a technician can ensure your air conditioner remains in top-notch condition year-round!

A service will likely include the following:

  • Change the air filter (or clean a reusable filter)
  • Inspect the evaporator coils for small holes that lead to coolant leaks
  • Check all parts for excess dirt buildup or signs of damage and fix or lubricate them
  • Clean the condenser unit’s internal components to ensure optimal function

Replacing damaged parts early also prevents more expensive repairs and minimizes the chance of your air conditioner overheating. Plus, air conditioners that receive regular service tend to last longer.

Prevent an Overheating Air Conditioner With Professional HVAC Maintenance

Can an air conditioner overheat if left with a dirty filter, low coolant, or excess dirt on the condenser? Yes, but you can avoid breaking a sweat when your air conditioner malfunctions by scheduling preventative maintenance with a licensed HVAC technician like BVS.

The BVS home experts can answer all types of questions, including whether you should run your air conditioner when it’s blowing warm air or schedule a service in the springtime. Call the team at 281-391-1510 or fill out the online form for service in Katy, Texas, and the surrounding areas.

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