The 7 Main Reasons your AC or Heat Pump Broke

(and the three categories they all fall into)

In most homes almost all breakdowns occur due to two distinct reasons, almost every issue falls into one of these three categories.

  1. Dirty Filter – This is the most common cause of HVAC systems break down. If you can not see through your filter when holding it up to the light, its time to change it! Category: Airflow
  2. Tripped Breaker – A tripped breaker could be caused by a few issues such as a compressor that is overdrawing electricity or bad power from the power utility or a power surge, however breakers can not stop all power surges and surge protection is recommended on all HVAC components as power surges are not covered by any manufacturer warranty. Category: Electrical
  3. Frozen Coil – A coil can freeze from poor airflow or a low refrigerant charge. Category: Airflow or Refrigerant
  4. Dirty Blower Wheel – A blower wheel with only 1/20th of an inch of dust can reduce airflow by up to 20%. Ever wonder why you used to have airflow to those back bedrooms and now you don’t? Its probably time to clean your blower wheel and over time a dirty blower wheel will move less air over the indoor AC coil causing the compressor to work harder and eventually fail. Category: Airflow
  5. Refrigerant Leak – Over time joints in a system can go bad and start leaking. Leaks can occur at the indoor coil, outdoor coil or the lineset that connects the two. Most leaks are the size of a pinhole and slowly let refrigerant out. Refrigerant systems can operate as high as 400 PSI so they need to be properly pressure tested when installed and require certification to braze the joints. Category: Refrigerant
  6. Failed Component – Over time components age, air conditioners are a lot like dogs, not many of them last past 15 years, so if your AC is older then 11 years(that’s 77 in AC years) its going to have some breakdowns as worn out components start to fail. When they do you can decide when its best to repair vs replace your existing system and we can help with that during a routine maintenance with a no breakdown guarantee(call for details). Category: Electrical
  7. Lack of maintenance – Just like cars AC systems require yearly maintenance. Your HVAC system can operate over 2,000 hours per year, if it was a car and averaging 30 miles per hour that’s the equivalent of 60,000 miles between tune ups, pretty good if you ask us! Category: All of the below.

  8. Category A: Airflow

    Airflow is the key to the health of any HVAC system, without proper airflow not only will your home not be as comfortable as it can but it will degrade the life of your heating and especially air conditioning system. The reason behind this is that when there is less airflow your air conditioner has to work harder to cool your home. The temperature on your indoor coil drops which can cause the coil to freeze, this will completely block the airflow in your home if this were to occur and your blower motor will be trying to push air through a solid block of ice! Do this for two long and the fan motor will burn out. While the coil is getting to freezing temperature and below it creates a high head pressure in the refrigerant system which can lead the compressor to overheat, trying to extract the last bits of heat from the already cold refrigerant and while the compressor overworks itself(although most modern units have safety devices to limit how hard it will work) it can destroy the compressor or cause permanent and irreversible damage. With a Sky Signature Series AC and Heating system you are covered against most of these issues as it will monitor the temperature rise and determine if a breakdown is coming so that we can fix your system before it even breaks.

    Category B: Refrigerant

    Your AC or Heat Pumps refrigerant system is a complex working of compression, pressures and temperature to extract heat from your home and reject for air conditioning or extract heat from the outside air and reject it into your home(heating mode of a heat pump). If the refrigeration circuit has a leak, this will allow the refrigerant to slowly(and sometimes quickly) escape into the air. This reduces the efficiency of your AC and causes excess wear and tear and your compressor and electrical components. Overtime the system will eventually shut down. Thankfully with the Sky Signature series we monitor this and can send real time alerts if the refrigerant system is having an issue and we can fix it before you are left without AC.

    Category C: Electrical

    Electrical issues can be everything from power surges to components failing and burning out… or as we joke, they let the smoke out or give up the ghost. These are terms we use for when an electrical component fails. Improper airflow and refrigerant systems can cause electrical issues but they can also fail due to normal wear and tear and when an electrical component fails its usually on the hottest day of the year or coldest day of the year when its working hardest and just can’t keep up anymore. With the Sky Heating Signature Series we monitor the electrical currents on the furnace/air handler and the AC/heat pump to ensure that if components are no longer working within specification we know BEFORE they cause a breakdown. Exclusively available through Sky Heating and Air Conditioning.

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