Major storms are just another fact of life in central Florida, and so is the cleanup afterward. Even if your property was spared major damage, your air conditioner may have sustained enough injuries to affect its performance. Here is how you can easily tell if your system was damaged during one of the season’s many storms.

It Won’t Cycle On

The most obvious sign of a problem with your air conditioner is when it simply won’t cycle on. If your system was working before the storm, it may have sustained damage that requires it to be repaired.

Before calling for a service technician, there are a few things to assess. First, check to make sure that your home has power. Next, check to see if the breaker got tripped during the storm, which may happen during a surge if the power went out. If it did, check for other signs of damage, and if there are none, flip it back on.

There Is Physical Damage

It may seem pretty obvious, but check for signs of physical damage to the condensing unit outside. The most significant signs of damage will be major dents or cracks in the condensing unit’s housing. If it had a large branch or tree fall on it, assume there was damage and call a technician to inspect and test the unit.

In addition to the obvious, minor damage may occur too, such as the condensing coil fins being bent. When flying debris hits these, it will sometimes bend them, causing an airflow restriction at the coil itself. Minor fin damage may be repairable by simply bending the fins back out to allow air to flow again.

New Smells or Sounds From the AC

Pay attention to any new sounds or smells your unit is producing, especially if you notice a burning scent. Anything that reminds you of burning plastic or sulfur indicates some kind of electrical problem that needs immediate attention.

If your condensing unit presents any new rattling, clanking or banging, the damage may be to your compressor or condensing fan. New buzzing, humming or chattering indicates a potential problem with the capacitor or contactor. Any of these problems left unattended may cause more substantial damage and repairs.

There Are Signs of Water Damage

Also, look for any indications that water may have pooled or flooded around the bottom of your condensing unit. This will most likely look like a line of debris around your unit at some level.

Your condensing unit was not designed to be submerged, and any amount of flooding may damage the electrical components. If you notice water pooling around the bottom of your unit, kill the power at the breaker box inside. This will protect the components from shorting out and causing a shock hazard in the water.

If you did not observe the pooling water but you see signs of flooding, go ahead and kill the power. Call your technician to come test the system to ensure none of the components sustained water damage.

Warm and Muggy Air

When you start the system, pay attention to how the air feels coming from the vents. If it seems warmer than usual or the air in your house is muggier than normal, your system may have been damaged.

The most likely culprit is some kind of damage causing a refrigerant leak. The leak could be in the lines, at the condensing coil or even at the compressor.

Running your system with too little refrigerant risks further damaging the equipment, especially the compressor. Call your AC service company to schedule a diagnostic inspection to find the root cause of the problem.

It’s Tripping the Breaker

Your breaker may trip for several reasons, including power surges during storms. However, once power is restored and stabilized, your breaker shouldn’t continue tripping.

If it does, it indicates your system is drawing more power than the circuit is designed to handle. One of the more common causes of this extra draw is a malfunctioning compressor. The malfunction may be related to mechanical issues or be caused by low refrigerant due to a leak.

Residents and businesses in Clermont have turned to Cool Air Air Conditioning & Refrigeration for reliable AC service since 2003. Our expertly trained professionals provide the area’s best heating and air conditioner installation, maintenance and repairs. Call today to schedule your AC service with one of our professional and friendly technicians.

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