How to Diagnose Air Conditioner Problems

Air conditioners are relatively complex systems and are comprised of a number of important components. Any number of these components can contribute to a unit’s suboptimal performance under certain circumstances. This leads to the question – how to diagnose air conditioner problems. Having knowledge of some of these components and how they work can allow you to assess the severity of any issues you may experience and perhaps even take some measures to address them.

Air conditioner filters

The filters of an air conditioner are arguable the predominate cause for suboptimal performance. Air filters serve to remove particles of dust and debris from the air, before it enters the air conditioning system. Particles of this nature; small though they may be, have the capacity to damage the internal components of an air conditioner irreparably. When an air conditioner’s filter is full, it can clog and inhibit airflow through the system. The detriment of this is considerable and some of the issues that may arise as a consequence are listed below.

  • Efficiency

Efficiency is an important feature in modern appliances and air conditioners are not different. To achieve the highest possible degree of efficiency, the air filters within the unit ought to be clean. When a filter is filled with dust or debris, the air conditioner is forced to work harder to consume air and this invariably requires additional electricity. The increase in electrical consumption that results from a full air filter is sufficient to lessen the efficiency of the air conditioner significantly and increase your power bill in the process.

  • Functionality

Not only does a full air filter inhibit your air conditioner’s efficiency, but it can also have a direct bearing on its functionality. The sole purpose of an air filter is to restrict dust and debris from entering the air conditioner’s internal components. When the air filter is full, it is not capable of doing this to an adequate extent. In the more extreme of circumstances, these particles might bypass the filter altogether and inflict considerable damage on many of the appliance’s internal mechanisms; in particular evaporator and condenser coils.

Fortunately, addressing this issue is relatively straightforward and can quite conceivably be undertaken by an average homeowner. In fact, it is recommended that you clean or replace your air conditioner’s air filter twice in a season.


To actually cool the air sufficiently to lessen your home’s temperature, an air conditioner requires an intricate set of coils. These are referred to as condenser coils and evaporator coils. Listed below, are some of the functions of these coils.

  • Evaporator coil

In essence, the evaporator coils absorb heat from the surrounding air and transfer it outside through the unit. It might seem rather simple, but the evaporation of the coolant fluid allows it to subsequently absorb heat very effectively before being transferred outside in the form of a gas.

  • Condenser coil

Upon entering the condenser coils, the evaporated coolant and the heat is has absorbed is pressurised and condenses as a result. As it condenses, it returns to a liquid state and the heat is expelled as a consequence. Exhaust fans then dissipate this heat into the outside air.

Coils are quite difficult to maintain without a great deal of knowledge and experience, although simply keeping them free of dust and cobwebs can greatly improve their productivity and longevity.

It is important to remember however, that advanced air conditioning maintenance should only be undertaken by a professional. Diagnosing air conditioning problems on time is also critical for you and your family’s safety. Air conditioning systems often contain coolant fluids under pressure and these can be harmful to people. Additionally, evaporated coolants must not be released into the atmosphere – instead regulations demand that they are disposed of in a safe and environmentally conscious manner. If you have any apprehensions about the operation of your air conditioner, it is imperative that you consult a professional – this will ensure that your air conditioner receives the appropriate treatment and does not harm you or those around you in the process.

Contact Mercury Installations today and we can help you with all your air conditioner problems.

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