Russell's Heating & AC
Jul 16 2018

Why Your Air Conditioner Might Overheat

An air conditioning system is supposed to work when it’s hot outside. That’s what an air conditioner is for, after all! HVAC manufacturers design these systems to operate in scorching temperatures so they shoulder the work that homeowners need from them.

But no matter how well an AC is built, the summer temperatures we experience in the deserts of Southern California are the definition of “unforgiving.” When our temperatures fly up into the 90s and 100s, the stress on an individual air conditioner can become extreme enough for the system to overheat and stop working. Obviously, you don’t want this to happen, so when you need Palm Desert, CA air conditioning services to get your cooling system working once again, don’t hesitate to call our technicians. We are open 24 hours a day to assist you with keeping your home comfortable and safe.

The Reasons for Overheating

The simple answer for why an air conditioner overheats is “because it’s hot outside!” However, an air conditioner can overheat even during mild conditions if it isn’t well taken care of. Heat places more stress on the system because it must run longer. The actual source of the overheating can come from multiple places in the system.

  • Clogged air intake: If an AC is putting in a large amount of work, something as apparently basic as a clogged air filter or a few blocked vents can cause its motors to overheat. Choking off airflow makes the blower fan motors work even harder and eventually overload circuits and cause motor burnout. Make certain the air filter is changed routinely through the hot weather (monthly may be necessary) to avoid this, and walk around the house to see that no room vents are blocked or closed.
  • Dirt on the outdoor condenser: Dust, leaves, and general grime on the outside cabinet can lead to the coils inside becoming dirty. If this happens, the coil cannot effectively release heat from the refrigerant to the outdoors. The AC’s cooling power will drop and the system will soon stop working. We recommend keeping the area around the outside cabinet clear for about a foot. If the coils are dirty, have professionals chemically clean them.
  • Loss of lubrication on the motors: The motors for the compressor and the fan wear down under the intense stress of the summer workload. Unless the AC has spring maintenance, loss of lubrication will cause the motors to eventually overheat. If you have a burnt out motor, it must be replaced. If the compressor motor burns out, you may have to replace the entire condenser. (Just a friendly reminder to always schedule annual maintenance in spring!)
  • AC system age: No amount of maintenance, repair, and care can grant immortality to an air conditioning system! Eventually the motors, capacitors, fan, and other components will start to regularly fail. Rather than trying to soldier on through summers with an unreliable AC that’s more than 15 years old, take the advice of the professionals and have a new—and sturdier—air conditioning system installed.

Fix that AC when the heat is on! Call Russell’s Heating & Air Conditioning—Serving the Inland Empire and The Desert Communities.

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