Have you ever wondered what goes into a heating or air conditioning system for a large office building or another large building like a mall or a school? My name is Evelyn, and I am an HVAC architect. I design heating and air conditioning systems for large, corporate buildings. Making sure that a large building with many rooms or offices is efficiently heated and cooled is a very large job and is much more complicated than simply heating or cooling a home. This blog will educate the reader on how heating and cooling jobs this large are designed and completed.
When your air conditioner starts to malfunction and the cause isn't immediately obvious, you can often help narrow down the problem by examining specific symptoms. By looking at everything from odors, airflow, air temperature, sounds, and dips in efficiency, you can better establish what's wrong and help ensure it gets fixed more quickly.
When your air conditioner runs, you shouldn't be able to detect any odors from the air coming from your vents. If you are, there could be something wrong somewhere in your system. The type of smell you detect could give you an idea as to what the problem could be.
For example, if you smell a strong musty odor, this could indicate mold growth inside your ducts, which could be caused by a leak in your ducts or an issue with your air conditioner's condensate drain. If the smell is more like burning plastic, this is usually a sign that an electrical cable or cord is melting, which is a serious problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.
If you aren't sure exactly what kind of odor you're getting, ask an HVAC technician to help identify it for you. The causes for foul odors can be varied, but being able to accurately identify them can help you get much closer to the cause of the problem.
Narrow Down Electrical Issues
Electrical issues are common causes for air conditioning problems, and there are a variety of symptoms to look out for to help you narrow them down. For example, if your vents are blowing air, but that air is not cold, check your outdoor unit; if you hear a humming sound but the fan isn't moving, this could point to a problem with either your capacitors or your fuses. A humming noise usually means that your air conditioner is receiving power, but something is stopping the unit from starting the way it should.
Another example is a circuit breaker that keeps tripping. If the breaker for your air conditioner's circuit has suddenly started tripping more often, this could mean that the issue is with the circuit and not the air conditioner itself. However, because of the potential for serious damage caused by circuit failures—such as electrical fires—avoid using your air conditioner if at all possible until this problem can be fixed.
Sudden Efficiency Issues
A gradual loss in efficiency is normal for air conditioners, but if you've noticed that your bills are suddenly much higher than usual, there could be a specific cause for it. If the airflow feels weak, the problem could be a failing blower motor. If airflow only feels weak in a particular area, this could mean that a section of your ducts has been damaged, causing plenty of air to leak out before it reaches your house. If airflow feels normal but doesn't feel as cool as it should, this could mean there's a problem with your refrigerant.
All of these problems can lead to efficiency issues, but you can help narrow it down by taking note of specific symptoms and differences from how your air conditioner normally operates.
For more information on air conditioning repair, contact a professional near you.