Four Parts That Can Cause Your Air Conditioner To Keep Shutting Down Too Early

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Air conditioners that consistently shut off too early are usually experiencing a problem that causes some strain on the system, whether it's overheating from dirty filters or faulty capacitors or clogged condensate drains. When basic troubleshooting doesn't do the trick, an HVAC technician can help you with an AC repair and get it running smoothly again.

Clogged Air Filter

When you use your air conditioner more often, your filter will get dirty more quickly and need to be replaced more often. When your air conditioner tries to pull in air through a dirty filter, this causes strain on your system and can cause the evaporator coils to freeze, which shuts your air conditioner down until the coils thaw. Depending on your unit, you may be able to see signs of frozen coils from outside the compressor unit. Replace your filters at least every three months during summer to prevent this.

Clogged Condensate Drain

The condensate drain catches all moisture that's pulled out of the air during the cooling process and carries it outside of your home. If this is clogged, water can back up into the drain pan and cause your air conditioner to shut off early to prevent water damage. When it slowly drains, your air conditioner will turn on again until the drain clogs again. Most condensate drain systems have a backup drain, so if it's backing up anyway, then either both drains are clogged or there may be a problem with the drain pan itself. An HVAC technician can inspect this for you and clear out the drain if necessary.

Failing Run Capacitor

HVAC systems use two types of capacitors: start capacitors and run capacitors. The first type gives your motor the power it needs to start moving, and the run capacitor provides additional power to keep it running for long periods of time. When this fails, your motor can still run, it just won't have all the power it needs, which can lead to overheating or extra strain. This in turn will often cause it to shut off early, or to start vibrating or rattling. If you hear any unusual sounds from your compressor unit, especially if they precede the motor turning off, contact a technician to have your capacitors inspected and replaced as necessary.

Failing Compressor

The compressor itself is responsible for circulating and compressing the refrigerant in your system, which is fundamental to the cooling process. Along with the condenser, it works to facilitate the transfer of heat from the refrigerant in the outdoor unit before it moves back inside. When this part fails, it can cause the refrigerant to retain its heat, which in turn can cause your system to start overheating. One sign of this problem is if the air coming from the condenser unit outside isn't only mildly warm. The air coming from the condenser unit should be pretty hot, as it's transferring heat away from the refrigerant. While the issue often lies with the compressor, it could also come from the condenser as well. Either way, a technician will need to look at your system and make repairs before your air conditioner is reliably usable again.