If your air conditioner is no longer cooling, you are probably going to need a service call. When we visit your home, we'll look at a number of factors that could contribute to poor performance.
A common problem is small leaks in the system that result in the loss of refrigerant. Refrigerant levels only need to be off by a little bit to reduce the efficiency and capacity of the air conditioner. When the system charge is low the AC will run longer in an effort to maintain the demands on it and on warm days it may not be able to maintain the set temperature.
In the past it was common practice to simply "top up" the refrigerant charge but present environmental regulations require us to find the leak and repair it before adding refrigerant to the system.
Damaged or loose wiring can also be an issue. Often over the winter months, mice and other small rodents will build nests within the AC unit that's outside. Some older AC models have little heaters in the compressors that run during the winter. The warm environment inside the unit is very attractive to small rodents. They can disturb the wiring, or chew on the wires, causing a short.
As the unit gets older there is a greater probability that there will be a failure of the contactor, capacitor, condensing fan motor or even the compressor.
A dirty condenser coil (the outside unit) can negatively affect your air conditioner's performance. Dirt, dust, weed and tree pollen, and leaves can all build up on the coil reducing the transfer of heat from the refrigerant to the outside air. Since the unit is outside in the elements it is necessary to clean it periodically. Don't allow nearby bushes to grow around your air conditioner. The unit needs space for good air flow to operate correctly.
Don't forget to change your furnace filter before the cooling season and check it regularly. The blower in your furnace is required to circulate the cool air produced by your air conditioner throughout your home and maintain a sufficient flow of air over the coil installed in the ductwork (evaporator coil). A plugged furnace filter can result in reduced performance of your AC and lead to coil icing.
There are other causes and remedies for icing that you can read about on our blog about icing.
If your unit is older than 15 years, depending on its' condition and the cost of repair, purchasing a new unit may make more sense, although our first priority is to repair your equipment, if this is your best option. Like any piece of equipment, it's not going to last forever.
Today's air conditioners are quite a bit more efficient than an older unit, so the savings in energy costs will help take the sting out of the cost of a new unit. The government also has attractive rebates on air conditioners. Rebates on new units currently vary from $250 to $400, depending on how efficient the new equipment is.
Warranties on new equipment are also very attractive. Daikin offers a limited full replacement warranty for up to six years and a limited parts warranty up to twelve years. You can learn more about new equipment on our website.