With the winter chill giving way to warmer temperatures, chances are you're getting your air conditioner ready to tackle the spring and summer heat ahead. The last thing you want is for your A/C system to suddenly cut out due to an unexpected malfunction. While there are plenty of reasons why your air conditioner could break down suddenly, there's a good chance it'll involve one of these three all-too-common causes.

Refrigerant Leaks

Your air conditioner relies on its refrigerant to keep your home cool and comfortable. Without it, your A/C system wouldn't be able to function properly. The majority of air conditioner malfunctions can be traced back to a refrigerant leak somewhere within the system. It's not uncommon for refrigerant to leak due to the following:

  • A failed O-ring or gasket within the compressor or a nearby line fitting
  • A pinhole leak within the refrigerant line or coil
  • A puncture or break caused by accidental physical contact

If you think you're experiencing one of these issues, it's important to get your HVAC technician involved. Only your technician has the training and tools to recharge your air conditioner's refrigerant in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Blocked or Frozen Coil

The evaporator and condenser coils are designed to let air flow through in order to carry out the air conditioning process. If either coil becomes caked with large amounts of dust, dirt and debris, your air conditioner won't be able to function properly. Certain conditions, such as unseasonably low outdoor temperatures and a low refrigerant level, can also cause the coils to develop thick sheets of ice.

Careful periodic cleaning of the evaporator and condenser coil, either with a no-rinse foaming spray or mild detergent, water and a soft brush, can help prevent them from being blocked or frozen in ice. There are other ways you can prevent coil blockages from occurring:

  • Remove leaves, grass clippings, and other debris from around the bottom of the outdoor condenser cabinet.
  • Change your HVAC system's air filter on a regular basis to keep dust and debris from accumulating on the evaporator coil.

Electrical Shorts

It's not uncommon for air conditioning systems, especially older models, to suffer a variety of electrical maladies. Broken, loose, exposed or corroded wiring can lead to an electrical short within your air conditioning system. The unexpected surge in electricity to other, unwanted parts of your A/C system can also cause the unit's circuit breaker to trip. If this happens more than once, you should have your HVAC technician take a close look at the problem. Contact a company like Arnold Service Co to learn more.