How to Prevent Your A/C Unit From Overheating

clogged ac filter

Your air conditioning system works hard all summer to keep you and your family cool and comfortable. Using you air conditioner during the summer months can run the risk of overheating. To keep your air conditioner from overheating, follow these helpful tips below.

Change the filter
The air filter in your air conditioning unit prevents dust, hair and other particles from penetrating your clean air. However, if not changed regularly, it can cause some major problems.

A dirty filter obstructs airflow in the air ducts. This blocked airflow puts stress on your air conditioner, causing it to run longer in order to cool your home. As a result, your air conditioner will either break down, or overheat and trip the circuit breaker, leaving you with a big problem.

Cleaning your air conditioner at least once a month will keep your air ducts clean and prevent your AC unit from overheating.

Clean condenser coils
Condenser coils are filled with refrigerant tubes and run along your outside unit. Your inside AC unit uses refrigerant to absorb heat in your home, which cools it down. It then disposes of this heat outside via the condenser coils.

When dirt and mud cover your condenser coils, it makes it difficult and even prevents the heat from being able to be released outside. Since the heat has nowhere to go, your air conditioner continues to run because it is not able to reach the desired temperature on the thermostat. This constant running will eventually cause your air conditioner to overheat.

To prevent this from happening, have your condenser coils cleaned once a year as part of your annual AC maintenance.

Check refrigerant levels
When your air conditioner does not have enough refrigerant, it causes your unit to work inefficiently and longer. Often times, your AC unit will take longer than usual to reach the temperature set on the thermostat, the outside unit is coated in a layer of ice and AC unit doesn’t cool your home efficiently on very warm and humid days.

Should your AC unit demonstrate any of these signs, you should call an HVAC technician to refill your refrigerant.

To prevent low refrigerant levels, at the beginning of the AC season, schedule an air conditioning tune-up with an HVAC technician. This regular maintenance checkup will ensure your unit has sufficient refrigerant levels.

Create shade
If your outside unit is in the direct sunlight from noon to 4:00 p.m., this can cause your air conditioner to overheat.

By planting shrubs and bushes near your AC unit, you can create natural shade that will cast a shadow on your unit during the hottest times of the day during the summer. Make sure you leave at least two feet of space between the AC unit and what you are planting to prevent any leaves from directly covering the unit.

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Tom Gillece Sr. is the founder and president of Gillece Services in Pittsburgh, providing residential Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Waterproofing services throughout Western Pennsylvania. Established in 1980, Gillece has helped homeowners with all of their emergency, maintenance, repair and replacement needs for more than 30 years. For the latest news and offers, Gillece can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.