One thing that can be really confusing is having seemingly simultaneous problems with your home’s electrical system and with its air conditioner. It can be difficult to pinpoint which is affecting the other, or, if by some strange occurrence, each is happening, contributing to the interruptions. It’s no secret that poking around with an electrical system isn’t a good idea, and, when it comes to HVAC units, the same principle applies.
That might leave you wondering, if you’re experiencing such problems, whether to call an electrician or an HVAC tech? In most cases, it’s best to start with the air conditioner. Power related problems can spell trouble for your system. An experienced technician is able to work with electrical units and can help to pinpoint the cause.
5 Common AC Failure Power Issues
Because we have such powerful systems in our homes, there are a number of safety measures in-place to protect us. What’s more, these systems do interact, like the electrical wiring and water heater, or, gas and water heater. Since these are connected to one another, it’s not uncommon for a problem with one to cause another to react. This is why there are different types of safety devices in your home — to provide you with a level of protection and/or warning.
Your air conditioner’s job is to carry hot air out of the home and blow cool air in. This is done by drawing outside air in and blowing it over an evaporator coil, where it is cooled before it enters your home. While it sounds simple, air conditioners use a complex system to perform their job, so a number of factors can affect how well it’s done. —San Francisco Chronicle
So, just what can power issues do to your air conditioner? In most cases, nothing that is harmful to the unit. There are a number of ways air conditioner failure can be linked to power issues, and here are some of the most common:
- A power outage causes the unit to shut down. Storms sometimes cause electrical systems to temporarily shut down due to sudden spikes or surges. If the power returns but the air conditioner doesn’t turn on, check the breaker to see if it’s tripped. Should you reset the breaker and the unit doesn’t power on, you might have a more serious problem.
- The system doesn’t power off, even when the controls are adjusted. This can be caused by bad external or other control components. Try to turn the unit on at the thermostat, if it doesn’t respond, check the batteries and replace if necessary. If that doesn’t work, have a technician look at it.
- Repeated tripping of the circuit breaker tied to the air conditioner. When this happens, you should not try and reset the breaker because it’s doing its only job. If the breaker trips after being reset, immediately call a technician.
- You experience higher and higher electricity bills. This might happen during the hottest summer days, but, if your unit is spiking your bill when it shouldn’t be running much, it’s probably because the system is too small to cool the space — only an experienced AC installer will be able to tell.
Another sign the electrical wiring might be bad is if the unit runs anemically or won’t turn on. A poor electrical connection could be sending too little power to the unit, or, no power at all. If you see a cracked or exposed wire, it’s best to shut the system off and call an experienced air conditioning technician.