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AC Repair Guide 2024: What You Need to Know

Late spring and summer put HVAC technicians in high demand. As temperatures rise, homeowners in South Africa rely on their central air conditioning systems regularly. When cool air isn’t flowing from the vents, an air conditioner repair may be needed.

Most Common AC Repair Problems

Understanding some of the most common reasons your AC may not be working will help you feel more confident during the AC repair process. From simple solutions like recharging refrigerant to larger challenges like a failed AC capacitor, look for these symptoms to pinpoint the problem.

Refrigerant Leak

AC refrigerant is a chemical that absorbs heat from your home and rejects the heat to the outdoor unit, delivering cool air back into the occupied space. Without refrigerant, or if there is a leak in the system, the air conditioner will not be able to cool the air coming into your home.

Repairing HVAC

Signs of an AC Refrigerant Leak:

  • Unexpected Increase in Cooling Cost: Without the proper amount of refrigerant, the unit will work harder and longer to try to lower the temperature in your home.

  • Air Coming from Vents Isn’t Cool: Without refrigerant, the HVAC loses its cooling capacity. You may hear the unit running and feel the air being dispersed throughout the home, but it likely won’t be cool enough to make your space comfortable.

  • Increased Indoor Humidity: A low refrigerant level won’t allow the indoor coil to get cold enough to remove moisture in the air, causing the humidity level in the home to rise.

  • Outdoor Unit Makes a Hissing Sound: If your unit sounds like it’s releasing air or hissing, a leak within the system is likely.

The AC repair needed to address a refrigerant leak may include repairing or replacing the line where the leak has occurred and recharging the unit. Recharging your home’s AC is when a technician adds more refrigerant to the unit and, if needed, pressurizes the chemical to ensure it will cool and dehumidify your home properly.

The Environmental Protection Agency mandates that only a certified technician can recharge your home’s HVAC unit.

HVAC Drainage Issues

An air conditioner’s cooling process produces condensation, which normally flows away from the equipment, allowing the unit to operate smoothly. However, if a clog develops in the condensate drain lines or drip pan, or if outdoor humidity levels are high, moisture may back up into your air conditioner.

Drain Issues to Look For:

  • Water Leakage and Spilling: When algae, mould, or other debris blocks the trap or pipe, the condensate pan will fill with water and can eventually overflow. If left unaddressed, the water can damage your drywall, floors, or HVAC system.

  • Mould Growth: An odour of mildew or dampness may indicate mould is growing in the drain tube. Scheduling regular cleaning of the condensate drain will help avoid poor indoor air quality because of mould spores.

  • Drain Trap: A U-shape trap is connected to the condensate drain and allows water to flow out of the system. The trap can become clogged or dry out. Mold, mildew, and fungus can develop if water doesn’t flow properly, causing odours to back up into your home.

If your air conditioning system shuts down, it may be because the overflow components were triggered and the float switch signalled for the unit to turn off. A trained HVAC technician should make this AC repair.

Broken Compressor Fan

Your air conditioner’s outside unit is home to the compressor, fan, and condenser coils. These components work to release heat from the air, transferring heat out of your home to produce a cool indoor climate.

Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor:

  • Lack of Hot Air Being Released from the Outdoor Unit: If the fan in your outdoor unit is expelling lukewarm or cool air, the compressor may need to be repaired.

  • Unit Makes Strange Noises: Banging, screeching, or clicking noises coming from the outdoor unit when the AC is turned on may point to electrical problems with the compressor.

  • Indoor Temperature Isn’t Cooling Off: The fan inside your home may work properly even when the compressor has failed. If the outdoor unit doesn’t sound like the motor is running, call a technician.

  • Circuit Breaker Continually Trips: If the compressor begins to pull too much power to perform, it will overheat and trip the circuit breaker. This could be a warning sign that the compressor is about to fail.

Replacing or repairing the compressor is not a DIY job. Allow a qualified home AC repair specialist to diagnose and fix the issue.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

Poor airflow through your cooling system can cause ice to form on the evaporator coil. A number of problems can contribute to poor airflow, like a dirty air filter or blocked return air ducts.

Steps to Take if You Suspect a Frozen Coil:

  • Thaw the Coils: Turn the AC unit off or to “fan only” mode. It can take up to 24 hours for the coils to thaw completely.

  • Check the Filter: If airflow has deteriorated because of a dirty filter, change it and wait for the coils to thaw before turning the system on. If the coils refreeze, call a technician.

  • Schedule Preventative Maintenance: Whether you’re able to determine how to fix home air conditioner problems yourself or rely on a pro, schedule seasonal maintenance now to prevent further damage to your unit.

HVAC Aircon

Emergency AC Repairs

It’s never a convenient time to have to troubleshoot AC problems, but some moments are more problematic than others. If your central air conditioning goes out on a holiday weekend or in the middle of the night and there’s no emergency AC repair company available, use our central air troubleshooting steps.

Steps to Troubleshoot AC Problems:

  1. Check Filters and Replace Them if Needed: A dirty filter can create low airflow throughout your HVAC system. Replace your filters before calling a technician to see if that addresses your problem.

  2. Check All Air Vents: Ensure all vents are clear of blockades and are open.

  3. Remove Foliage and Debris from Around the Outdoor Unit: Clear the foliage from around and within the unit to support good airflow.

  4. Check Your Thermostat: Ensure the settings on your thermostat are correct.

  5. Check Your AC Circuit Breakers: Go to your home’s electrical panel and look for the breaker for the air conditioning unit. Flip it to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately flips back off, call an HVAC technician.

If the unit fails to run properly after you’ve tried these five steps, turn the system off and schedule immediate HVAC care. You don’t want to leave a broken unit running, possibly causing more damage to the components.


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