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Air conditioning 101 | 3 common condenser problems

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The air conditioner condenser is one of the most important parts of an AC. It's the unit that's located outside the home, and its main purpose is to convert the refrigerant gas into liquid. This condensation is what releases heat to the outside, and the liquid moves back to the house to cool it. A malfunction on the condenser will have severe effects on the AC's ability to properly cool down the house. Knowing the issues that may lead to a failing condenser will not only help you guard yours, but it'll also assist you in diagnosing it when it fails.


One huge problem that affects these condensers is refrigerant leaks. You can identify this problem by the low refrigerant quantities even after adding more refrigerant. Leaking tubes and faulty seals can be as a result of impact with the condenser. Avoid placing your condenser in areas where it can easily get hit by cars or attacked by rodents. However, the leakage may also be caused by wear and tear. Call in a professional immediately to repair the faulty tubes.

A motor that doesn't start

Another major problem that affects many condensers is a failing motor. Condensers normally have fan motors that assist in cooling down the house. Capacitors are used to give these fan motors the amperage needed to start and run.

There are normally two capacitors that are involved. The Start capacitor, which is starts the motor and the Run capacitor, which runs it. A motor that doesn't start has got a bad Start capacitor. However, if the Run capacitor is damaged, the motor can run, but the amperage will be too high for it. The motor therefore runs hot and wears out even faster.

Capacitors go bad due to various reasons. In some cases, the variation in voltage can damage them. Very high voltage boils the internal chemicals in the capacitors. The age of the capacitor may also cause them to fail. Simply call a professional to replace them. Capacitors are connected to high voltage inputs, and you may get electrocuted if not careful.

Drop in cooling efficiency

Since the condenser unit is placed outside, debris and other materials find their way inside the coils. This is the most probable cause of decreased cooling efficiency. In fact, as little as 0.10668 cm of dirt can drop the cooling efficiency by 21%. Even the energy consumption will rise dramatically. If you experience such issues, the check the external surrounding of the condenser. You can clean the coils by using a water hose and spraying on the coil cleaner. However, remember to power off the AC first. 

If you've checked all these issues and your AC still isn't working, contact a company that specialises in air conditioning repair for a professional inspection.