3 Repairs Your Aging Air Conditioning System May Need

Keeping an old air conditioning system operational for as long as possible can be a great way to save some money. While the cost of repairs will eventually exceed the cost of replacing your unit, you can often squeeze a few more years out of even a very old system with routine maintenance and prompt repairs when problems appear.

However, not every issue with your air conditioning system will stop it from cooling your home. Occasionally, issues may go unnoticed for weeks, months, or longer. Unfortunately, these problems can often lead to more severe and potentially catastrophic failures. If your system is older, it may need one of these three essential repairs, even if it still seems to keep your home comfortable.

1. Slow Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are a common problem with older AC systems. Contamination in your refrigerant lines or even the surrounding environment can corrode the refrigerant plumbing, leading to tiny pinhole leaks that can allow small amounts of refrigerant to escape. Given enough time, these leaks will reduce system efficiency and cause excessive wear to your air conditioner's compressor.

Signs You Need This Repair: A slow refrigerant leak will reduce the pressure in the system, ultimately resulting in colder temperatures at the evaporator coil. The longer the system runs, the more likely your evaporator coil will freeze. If your system shuts down or freezes on hot days or after running for long periods, you may have a slow refrigerant leak that requires repair.

2. Failing Condenser Fan Motors

The large fan on top of your condenser unit is essential to your air conditioning system. This fan helps to release heat from the condenser coils and keeps your compressor from overheating. Since your condenser fan is a mechanical part exposed to the elements year-round, this essential component can begin to wear out as your system ages.

Signs You Need This Repair: Your condenser fan should run whenever your compressor turns on. If the fan doesn't run alongside your air conditioner, you'll need this repair sooner rather than later. However, you may also hear grinding, screeching, or rattling from the fan as it runs. These sounds are warnings that the fan motor or bearings may be failing and that you'll need a replacement shortly.

3. Damaged Condenser Coil Fins

The air conditioner moves heat from the indoor evaporator coils to the outdoor condenser coils, where the fins release the heat energy back into the environment. Your condenser coils contain numerous fragile fins to provide the maximum surface area. Years of exposure to the elements, physical damage, and even coil cleaning can eventually bend or damage these fins.

Signs You Need This Repair: Damaged fins typically don't produce too many overt symptoms. A few damaged fins won't affect your system, but significant damage will eventually reduce system efficiency and may even cause your system to short cycle or shut down. An HVAC technician can examine your condenser coils, clean them, and, if necessary, repair the fins by using a coil comb.

Contact a professional for more information about air conditioning repair