If you have a central air conditioner, you probably have a condenser outside and an air handler inside. It's important to keep both parts of the HVAC clean and functional so your house stays nice and cool in the summer. Here's a look at three parts of the condenser, some problems that might develop, and repairs that could be needed.
1. The Condenser Fan
The fan in the condenser has an important role. It blows heat out of the unit so the coils cool down and the refrigerant can cool down before beginning another cycle to the evaporator coils indoors. If something happens to the fan, the refrigerant won't be able to cool your home as well and your power bill might go up if the AC has to run longer.
A motor drives the fan, and if you have a newer unit, the motor is probably encased so you don't have problems with rain or debris getting inside it and causing malfunctions. However, sometimes things can go wrong with the fan or motor. If the fan blade gets out of balance or bent and starts scraping the condenser, the motor may struggle and overheat. When problems arise with the fan or motor, an air conditioning repair technician can replace the damaged pieces so the fan spins as it should and cools off the condenser coils.
2. The Condenser Coils
The coils in the condenser surround the sides of the unit. The outside of the coils is covered in small fins that protect the coils while allowing air circulation. The condenser fan can suck in dust, grass clippings, and other debris that coats the coils and blocks the fins. This causes your AC to work less efficiently, so cleaning the fins and coils may be necessary occasionally. However, the condenser also gets cleaned when it rains, and as long as the rain isn't so heavy that the unit floods, summer rains can cool the AC, wash it clean, and help your AC work more efficiently.
The fins can corrode under the right circumstances, such as when your dog develops the habit of urinating on the AC. The coils can also develop pinhole leaks that allow refrigerant to escape. Problems with the coils and fins can sometimes be repaired easily, especially when cleaning is all that's required. If the damage is bad enough, the fins and coils have to be replaced, and that can be an expensive air conditioning repair.
3. The Compressor
The compressor is the part in the condenser that applies pressure to the refrigerant so it turns from a gas to a liquid on the way to the evaporator coils indoors. Without a properly functioning compressor, your AC won't be able to cool your home. When the compressor goes bad, the AC repair technician might recommend buying an entirely new condenser unit since a compressor is such an expensive part. A compressor can fail on its own, but the cause can also be due to stress caused by another malfunctioning part or a loss of refrigerant. Getting prompt repairs when your AC shows signs of trouble could save you from having to replace the compressor or buy a new condenser unit.
For more information on air conditioning repair, reach out to a local HVAC technician.