Ways a Malfunctioning Thermostat Can Affect Your AC

Because the thermostat is a small object designed to look unobtrusive on the wall of a home, it's easy to think of it as not having a huge effect on the operation of an air conditioner. Of course, it's the place where the homeowner sends instructions to the air conditioner and the blower fanthat makes it important. But people may not realize that a thermostat with even a small malfunction can create multiple problems for an AC, leading to a drop in company, a rise in electrical bills, and even a broken down cooling system.

The Vital Role of a Thermostat

When something is wrong with the thermostat, it often isn't immediately obvious. That's why we stress that people call on HVAC professionals for AC issues because only a skilled technician can track down the root source of odd behavior.

Your home's thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system and many problems are often traced back to it. The thermostat controls temperature and makes sure heating and cooling equipment turns on when needed. Understanding the critical role of your thermostat highlights how important it is to schedule AC repair service promptly.

Here are some common thermostat issues that may disrupt the comfort of your space:

  • Unresponsive Thermostat - Few things are more annoying on a hot or cold day than trying to adjust the temperature and realizing the thermostat is not responding. The longer your thermostat is down, the more uncomfortable your home becomes. You can start by replacing the thermostat batteries and checking if the breaker has tripped on the electrical panel. If the issue isn't resolved, it's best to call an HVAC professional to inspect the unit.
  • Incorrect Temperature Reading - If the temperature in your home doesn't match what the thermostat is set to, there is an error in communication with the HVAC system. This can lead to energy waste and higher utility bills the more you adjust the temperature. The best spot to install a thermostat is on an interior wall in a highly-trafficked area, away from direct sunlight and five feet from the floor. This will provide the most accurate temperature reading.
  • Short Cycling - Short cycling occurs when the AC turns on and off rapidly, usually in cycles less than 10 minutes. When the compressor turns on and off frequently, your energy bills skyrocket, equipment starts to wear out and the likelihood of a breakdown increases. Short-cycling could be due to half a dozen possible problems, like a malfunctioning motor, loss of refrigerant, dirty thermostat or an oversized HVAC unit.

Common AC Problems

The air conditioning system plays a vital role in maintaining indoor comfort, especially during scorching summers. Unfortunately, over time, AC's can encounter many problems from wear, tear and frequent use.

Some common AC issues and solutions include:

Insufficient Cooling

When it's hot outside, you need your home to be a cool refuge. Not having enough cool air to stay comfortable is a frustrating but common problem. Start by checking the air filters and clean or replace them if they're dirty and clogged. Remove any debris and excess dust around the outside unit and vents. If you're comfortable inspecting the unit, check the refrigerant levels and compressor for any damage. A professional will also be able to help you replace filters, unblock vents, refill refrigerant levels and replace any damaged parts.

Strange Noises

You may hear a noise when your air conditioner starts up, but you shouldn't hear any rattling, banging, grinding or squealing noises while it runs. If any parts or connections are loose, they will make a racket while the AC is on and cause damage to the interior of the unit. The safest course of action is to schedule a professional AC inspection to locate the source of the noise and make any repairs.

Water Leaks

If you notice water dripping from the AC and pooling at the bottom, it's important to locate the source and stop the leak as soon as possible. Even small leaks can cause water damage to your home and facilitate mold and mildew growth. Clogged condensate drain lines are a common cause of AC leaks. Regular maintenance will help keep the lines clear and prevent future clogs and leaks.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

It may be surprising to see ice on your outdoor unit in the middle of summer. Blocked air ducts, dirty coils and low refrigerant levels can block airflow to the evaporator coil and prevent condensation from draining, leading to a block of ice. When the coil freezes, start by turning off the air conditioner so it can begin to thaw. Then call a professional HVAC service provider to locate the cause of the frozen coil and implement a repair. Never let an AC run with a frozen evap coil, as this can impact efficiency and lead to a total breakdown.

Prevention & Maintenance Tips

Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance

Staying on top of small problems is key to extending your HVAC equipment's lifespan and lowering energy costs. Annual AC tune-ups should be scheduled in the early spring to inspect the unit and make sure it's ready for the summer. This gives plenty of time to make any necessary repairs and avoid downtime waiting for parts during the busy season.

Change Filters Regularly

Dirty and clogged filters are the culprit of many AC issues like restricted airflow, but they are easy to prevent. HVAC air filters should be changed about every 90 days, but you can check them in between maintenance visits and replacements to make sure they are clean. Check you filter's manufacturer guidelines for details on how to clean the filters and how to replace them. If you have pets or use your AC frequently, you may need to change them more frequently than every three months.

Keep the Area Around the Thermostat Clean

If your thermostat is dirty or dusty, it may not provide an accurate temperature reading. The thermostat and the area around it should be regularly cleaned to prevent buildup and ensure it's able to operate at peak efficiency to communicate with your HVAC system. Use a cloth or towel to dust around the unit and in between any buttons.

Check and Clean the Condensate Drain Line

Condensate drains give moisture from the air a place to go, rather than collecting inside your AC. The line drains the water into a drain pan, away from the unit. If the condensate drain is clogged, you may notice water leaking from the unit and pooling. Comfort Central's HVAC experts will be able to check and clean the condensate drains to prevent and clear clogs, ensuring your AC is able to drain properly.

Avoid Setting the Thermostat Too Low During the Summer

It may be tempting to lower the temperature as much as possible during the summer, especially when you want your home to cool down quickly. When it's hot outside and you lower the thermostat temperature too low, too quickly, the compressor will keep trying to run without actually cooling down your home. This wastes energy, increases utility costs and puts strain on your AC. A programmable thermostat can help manage indoor temperatures to avoid extreme fluctuations and provide consistent comfort.

Install a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats help you save money and improve your indoor comfort without having to lift a finger. Many thermostats with smart technology can be operated from your smartphone through an app. You can set a temperature schedule to account for changing weather throughout the day, and even tell your thermostat when to turn off if you plan on being away from home. Your smart thermostat will automatically adjust the indoor temperature so you don't have to bother with constant adjustments, and your HVAC equipment won't have to work as hard.

Why Choose Comfort Central for AC Services

At Comfort Central, we pride ourselves on expertise and experience. We have years of know-how and advanced equipment to tackle any HVAC job, big or small.

We offer a wide range of AC services to ensure you have year-round comfort and a reliable system ready for any weather. From new installations and replacements to emergency repairs and preventative maintenance, we do it all.

From the moment you contact our team, you get first-class service. We offer fast responses to make sure your service is scheduled as soon as possible. We always arrive on time, keep you informed throughout the service and clean up after ourselves. We are dedicated to professionalism and courtesy so you can trust your home and business are always treated with respect.

When you need service for your air conditioning in Arden, NC, make a call to the licensed HVAC professionals who serve Western North Carolina. We'll find the cause of your air conditioning trouble and have it fixed.

Comfort Central, Inc. serves the Heating, Cooling, and Environmental Needs of Western North Carolina. We offer a 100% Guarantee!