Few states can compare to beautiful Arizona’s appealing attributes, but few can also compare when it comes to the brutality of an Tempe Arizona summer. It’s hot. It’s very hot. It can be a real challenge just to function properly when the heat takes its toll on your body, right? So, what happens if you can’t get any relief from the heat because your AC unit has a problem?
Most residents turn to their HVAC unit as their number one wingman to sweet talk an Arizona summer. The problem is your wingman may not be in the greatest shape either after enduring Arizona’s heat. After all, the heat is taking its toll on the components of the HVAC unit just as it is your body.
Children, elderly, animals, and those with certain medical conditions face disaster in sweltering heat without a properly functioning HVAC unit, leaving you to call an emergency AC repair company.
Six AC Unit Problems Caused By Arizona’s Heat
Being hot because of an inoperable or poorly performing HVAC is no fun. To help you proactively manage your summertime HVAC needs and know when to call a repairman, take a look at these six most common summertime AC unit problems our technicians encounter in Arizona.
1. The Fan Isn’t Spinning
You feel the temp rising in your home. The thermostat is set properly and you’re getting power to the unit. Yet, there’s still no cold air being blown from the vents. So, you head to the inside unit and discover that the air handler fan is sitting still.
This fan is what forces the cold air through the ducts and into your home. Without it spinning, there’s no cold air. The fan is spun via a pulley and a drive belt linked to the motor. The fan can’t turn and move the cold air from the evaporator if the belt breaks. While newer models use a drive motor, do keep in mind that older outside units may have a condenser that also uses a fan belt.
How do belts break? The high Arizona temperatures wreck havoc on synthetic rubber, such as belts are made of, and thus shorten their life. The hotter it is, the more the unit is running. Of course, this excessive use also shortens the life of the belt.
What should you do if your belt breaks? Call your local AC repair technician. This is actually a fairly easy fix for an HVAC professional. It’s also relatively inexpensive. But, when DIY amateurs attempt their own belt replacement, there’s a significant risk that the pulley wheel, fan, and other expensive parts could be damaged.
2. AC Capacitor Gone Bad
AC capacitors overcome the fan and blower motor inertia for the fan to spin immediately when the HVAC system calls for cooling. Once the fan motor is spinning at full speed, the capacitor shuts off. It’s much akin to a battery giving a complete charge/ immediate influx of power in a second or less.
Since Arizona heat basically never offers a break during summer days, your HVAC likely runs hours upon hours each day. That’s hundreds of times in a single day that the capacitor is used, and it can quickly suffer wear and tear from the extensive usage.
Since the capacitor is an electrical hazard, this is another repair that’s best left to the professionals. On the upside, it’s also a relatively quick and inexpensive repair.
3. Clogged Fins
Arizona residents know that dust storms are quite frequent and viscous, but have you ever wondered where all that dust settles after the storm? If you guessed the AC unit, you’re hot.
Without proper sealing against outside air infiltration, the invading dust can easily make its way to the evaporator coil and cause breakdowns or, at the very least, impact your home’s energy efficiency.
Quick Tip : An easy way to improve your home’s indoor air quality on your own is to use weatherstripping and caulk to solve air leaks. Replace or clean filters routinely and after any dust storm. Prevent your return air supply from picking up stray particulates by vacuuming well after dust storms.
Your system may operate poorly or shut down altogether if the fins become clogged. Fins are on the outside unit’s condenser coil. These are generally cleaned and straightened with fin combs. It’s a fairly straightforward DIY project, but many homeowners find it more assuring and convenient to call in one of our HVAC technicians to get the job done.
4. AC Freezing Up
It’s 100 degrees outside, and while your AC isn’t blowing cold air, the outside unit is frozen like it has its own secret hideout in Antarctica. It’s a visual oxymoron that would be laughable if you weren’t so miserably hot, right?
On the outside unit, the refrigerant may be low or the refrigerant line may be kinked. This causes the system to be unable to keep up with the compression and expansion cycle and the compressor to freeze.
The inside evaporator coils can also form a thick, icy crust when the air handler fan isn’t blowing air across them. A clogged filter preventing airflow over the coils or even a freon refrigerant leak can also be the culprit.
If the filter is clogged, you can DIY replace it to easily stop the AC from freezing. However, refrigerant and line problems should be left to one of our professional HVAC technician to prevent dangerous chemicals from being inadvertently released into the air.
5. Condensate Issues
Warm air is sent across the evaporator to be chilled. The process leaves moisture to drop from the air into the condensate drain pan. The accumulating moisture then drains through the condensate line.
Arizona’s excessive heat can cause a disruption in the condensate process. One of the most common issues is the condensate pan rusting and allowing the collected moisture to drip inside your unit and home.
Since drip pan size is contingent on the particular unit you have, it’s always wise to consult one of our professional HVAC technicians to ensure the proper size. Do keep in mind that the pan correlates with the condensate drain line, which also needs to be the appropriate size for your unit to handle the volume of accumulated moisture. A professional inspect can alert you if the drain line needs to be replaced.
6. Filter Issues
Arizona’s air quality issues often result in clogged filters. This filter is for the AC’s handler, and it’s what prevents grit and other particulates from entering the unit and ducts. Once particulates get in because of a filter problem, they can wreck havoc on expensive components like evaporator coils. It’s much cheaper to replace filters than to pay for costly repairs.
During peak AC season, it’s prudent to check replaceable filters at least every four weeks. Replacing your filters regularly helps prevents clogs that can lead to malfunction, and it’s a practice that helps raise your energy efficiency and lower your electric bill at a time your AC is running quite frequently.
Some units have permanent filters. These need to be removed for cleaning at least every four weeks during peak AC season.
If you really want to amp up your system’s filtering power from dust, dander, debris, and other particulates, then ask us about a deep media filter when you call. While these often require professional servicing, they can extend the life of your AC system by years.
What Other DIY HVAC Tasks Can Help Beat The Arizona Heat?
While most all repair and maintenance issues are best left to the pros, and you should always have your entire unit serviced at least once a year, there’s still plenty that you so you don’t have to buy a new one, the homeowner, can do on your own to ensure you have reliable and efficient cooling all summer.
• Increase equipment life by setting the thermostat to 76-78 degrees at night.
• Plant plenty of shade trees around your home and utilize shade areas when placing a new unit.
• Keep your outside unit free of overgrowth, weeds, and lawn debris.
• Maximize energy savings with a programmable thermostat.
Local Contractors Can be Found
Homeowners have unique demands in Arizona weather and how it impacts your HVAC system. Whether it’s a pre-summer tuneup, filter change, cleaning, or emergency-need part replacement, HVAC routine services offer the insured care and expertise to handle all your summer AC maintenance and repair needs.