The runaway air conditioner is a common cooling problem homeowners may run into during the summer. Everyone knows why it’s bad news when an air conditioning system won’t turn on at all. But an air conditioner that just won’t power down and keeps its compressor running on and on is just as bad a problem. In most cases, the AC will need to have professional repairs to fix what’s wrong.
Why You May Have a Runaway AC
You can probably guess right away a few of the reasons that a non-stop air conditioner is trouble. For one thing, it’s an immense amount of energy waste. The compressor in an AC draws on a large amount of electrical power to run, and it becomes costly if it’s always running. The compressor will pick up large amounts of stress and may fail early. And your house will probably be too cold if the AC simply won’t stop sending around cooled air.
What could be behind this? There are several potential causes:
- The AC is the wrong size – If this is a new air conditioner that’s working its first summer, it may have been improperly sized when it was installed. This often occurs if unlicensed amateurs do the work. An undersized AC will never stop running because it won’t be able to reach the temperature requirement set for it. The only fix for this is to replace the air conditioner—and let a licensed HVAC expert do the job!
- Clogged air filter – On the other extreme, the trouble may be as simple as an HVAC filter that’s clogged up. The filter picks up debris over the year when either the AC or furnace is running. A heavily clogged filter will reduce airflow and drop how much cool air the system can put out—and end up trapping it in cooling mode. Put in a new filter (and do this every 1–3 months afterwards) to see if this fixes the issue.
- Dirty outdoor coils – Over the winter and spring, mulch and dirt and leaves may enter the outside AC cabinet and dirty up the condenser coils. These coils are where the AC system pumps out heat from inside the house to the outdoors. Any grime on the coils insulates them and makes it harder to release heat. Too much heat trapped in the system will cause the system to keep running. Only allow professionals to clean the coils, since the job requires special chemicals.
- Thermostat malfunctions – The thermostat can be behind the troubles. It only takes a lost connection—the wire that sends the signal to shut down the compressor—to leave the AC running nonstop. The thermostat may also have a miscalibration and sense incorrect temperatures, leading to a nonstop AC.
If you aren’t sure why you’ve got a runaway air conditioner, don’t attempt to diagnose the problem yourself. Call for central AC service in Katy, TX with our experts.
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