An air conditioner condenser is an integral part of the system. It changes the refrigerant from gas to liquid-vapor to flow and absorb heat. This article explains the condenser, possible problems, and common solutions.
Table of Contents
What Is an Air Conditioner Condenser?
An air conditioner condenser is the part of the system that absorbs or dissipates, depending on what operation mode you are using. When it is winter, and you are using the heat pump, the condenser absorbs heat and releases cold air into the atmosphere.
And when the weather is hot, the condenser dissipates heat absorbed by the refrigerant into the atmosphere. The condenser looks like coils; these are called fins, and through them, the refrigerant moves through the system.
How an Air Conditioner Condenser Works
A condenser in an air conditioner condenses the refrigerant after the compressor presses it flat to reduce pressure. There are coils in which the gas changes to liquid through a heat transfer process in the condenser. The principle is that heat always moves from warmer substances to cooler ones. In the condenser, the heat absorbed from the air by the refrigerant transfers out of the air conditioner into the atmosphere.
As the refrigerant flows through the condenser as high-pressure gas, the condenser fan draws cooler air from the outside over the coils. This process causes the gas to condense into a liquid form. In that liquid form, it has a high temperature and pressure, and it flows to the expansion valve to begin its journey to the evaporator coil.
After the process of absorbing heat from the home while it is in the evaporator coil in the indoor unit, the liquid refrigerant flows out to the condenser coil, where the heat in the refrigerant dissipates into the atmosphere, leaving it cool. Then, the refrigerant heads back to the compressor, where the cycle starts again.
Can an Air Conditioner Condenser Be Repaired?
The condenser of an air conditioner cannot be repaired. Once it is damaged, the refrigerant will leak out of the sealed system into the atmosphere and cause problems with the air conditioner. The only repair for a damaged condenser in an air conditioner is to replace the unit. Sometimes, that may mean replacing the entire air conditioning unit.
Air Conditioner Condenser Buzzing – What to Do
If you hear a buzzing noise coming from the outside condensing unit of your air conditioner, the first thing to do is disconnect the unit from electric power. The air conditioner may still be cooling your house as it should, but that does not mean you should leave it running with the buzzing noise. After you disconnect the unit, contact the manufacturer or hire an independent technician to diagnose and fix the issue.
The usual causes of a buzzing condenser are the relay, condenser fan, compressor, or electrical connections. The circuit breaker beside the unit may also generate noise if there is a problem. Therefore, you may want to test the relay switch with a multimeter and replace it if there is no continuity.
Also, check the condenser fan; the blades may be stuck, or the motor may be malfunctioning. Clean the baldes and ensure they are tight on the motor shaft. If the noise continues, the motor may have a hard time running. Inspect the capacitor for any damage and replace it if necessary. But if the capacitor is not the source of the problem, test the continuity of the motor with a multimeter or check the bearings. Replace it if the bearings are worn or there is no continuity.
You will need an electrician to check the circuit breaker and other electrical connections in the outside unit if you suspect the noise originates from there. They are in the best position to troubleshoot and find the source of the problem. Alternatively, use the services of an HVAC technician.
Air Conditioner Condenser Blocked – Quick Fix
If your air conditioner condenser is blocked, you should check the condensate drain line. It may be clogged with debris or algae, and you can contact a professional HVAC technician to unblock it. Alternatively, try clearing it yourself by doing the following:
Disconnect electric power to the air conditioner by turning off the thermostat and circuit breaker. You will find the breaker outside the house or beside the condensing unit. Find the condenser drain pipe for the exit point. If you find the exit point outside the house and is easily accessible, get a wet/dry vac.
Connect the vac to the exit point to suction the dirt out of the drain line. If the hose of the wet/dry vacuum does not precisely fit to create an airtight connection, consider taping it shut or getting an attachment that will tightly hook to the exit point.
Set a container under the vacuum and turn it on to run for about two minutes. You may see the dirt and debris flowing out of the drain line to free up the condenser. Try adjusting the vacuum a couple of times to ensure you correctly suction the drain line.
If you cannot freely access the exit point or the drain line is not cleared, locate the access point of the drain line inside the house. It should be near the indoor unit, looking like a curved pipe. Take the cover off the access point and fix the vacuum there; you may be able to clear the drain line from that point.
To do a more thorough job, use an agent such as bleach or vinegar mixed with water to wash the line. It may help to catch the fluid in a container as it flows out if it is going outside the house. If there are plants or pets under the exit point when the liquid flows out, it may kill them. These two steps should fix the air conditioner condenser and unblock it. Otherwise, employ the services of a service technician to do a more professional and thorough job.
Air Conditioner Condenser Dripping Water – Solved
An air conditioner dripping a little water from the condenser is not a big deal. Your air conditioner should leak water as it runs and cools the house; it is part of the air conditioning process. If the weather is hot, you may notice a little more water pooled around the condenser than usual. But you still do not have to worry because the condensate comes from the excess moisture in the air.
However, if the water constantly drips from the condenser and there is always a large pool of water around it, check the air filter, drain line, drain pan, and temperature setting. In addition to this list, the air conditioner may be leaking refrigerant.
The air filter needs to be cleaned every month. In some cases, it helps to clean them every two weeks. If the filter is dirty, the dirt will clog the evaporator coil, trap cold air, and cause freezing. The ice will melt over time and drip into the drain pan. The frequency of the freezing and melting process may cause water to overflow the drain pan and drop onto the condenser. But the water does not originate from the condenser because it has nothing to do with water.
Also, check the drain line; it may be obstructed with dirt. If that is the case, clear the line using a shop vac or bleach mixed in water. Pour it down the drain until it flushes out the debris. While doing this, inspect the drain pan. It may be cracked or perforated, and you need a replacement pan if it is.
Furthermore, always set the air conditioner temperature and mode of operation following the weather. If the weather is too low and you set the air conditioner to cool with low temperature, the coil will freeze, the ice will melt, and the condenser will drip water. You can use the Cool operation mode but set the temperature at a point that is not too low. That way, the coil does not freeze, melt, and drip water from outside the house.
In addition, incorrect installation can cause water to leak from the air conditioner. Check with the technician that installed your air conditioning unit, especially if it is new. Improper sizing or a wrongly installed drain pan leaves water all over the condenser and other parts of the unit.
Check out these other articles…
Air Conditioner Condenser Booster – What It Means
An air conditioner condenser booster is the same as the capacitor. The booster or capacitor stores energy to help the condenser function. There are usually two types in any air conditioner: the start capacitor, which provides the power boost for the air conditioner to start, and the run capacitor, which provides the power for the unit to keep running and provides cool air.
A condenser booster or capacitor does not have the job of increasing the voltage supply. Typically, a condenser does not store the power it needs to begin operating. This is where a capacitor comes in; it provides electric power to start the unit and keep it running.
Bear in mind that not all air conditioners have a booster. Older units may not have a condenser capacitor, affecting how well a unit functions. Installing a booster will boost the performance of the air conditioner, both for the condenser and air handler.
Over time, the booster or capacitor can become faulty and stop providing electric power for the condenser. You will know the condenser booster is not working anymore if the condenser runs intermittently. It will start and stop within short periods.
Also, if you hear a clicking or grinding noise from the condenser, it may indicate the capacitor needs a replacement. In addition, an air conditioner that does not provide cold air may have a faulty capacitor or booster.
Air Conditioner Condenser Does Not Turn On – How to Fix
Wondering how to fix an air conditioner condenser that does not turn on? Check the following:
1. Drain Line
During regular operation, the water from the air conditioner flows out through the drain. But if the drain line is dirty due to poor maintenance, the water will not flow out. Consequently, it will get to a level and trip a switch, which turns off the air conditioner. That is why you may find the condenser off. Clean the drain line with a shop vacuum and see if it gets the condenser running again.
If the drain line is the causative factor, check the refrigerant level in the system. Typically, the closed system of an air conditioning unit does not permit for loss of refrigerant. So, if your air conditioner does not have enough refrigerant, it means there is a leak in the sealed system. Hire an HVAC technician to check the unit and fix possible issues with the refrigerant.
You may hear buzzing from the condensing unit if the capacitor is malfunctioning. The component provides the electric power the condenser needs to start and run smoothly. The condenser fan may be trying to run without the necessary electric power, leading to noise. And the bad capacitor will keep the condenser from turning on and running.
Check to see if the capacitor is bulging or corroding. It may also be leaking fluid or rusting, which affects its functionality. Replace the capacitor if you notice any of these damages, or there is no continuity from the capacitor if you test it with a multimeter.
4. Shut-off Switch
There is usually a shut-off switch beside the condensing unit. Check if it is off; someone may have accidentally turned it off. Turn it on and ensure the air conditioner is connected to electric power. Check the unit, and if it is running, you have solved the problem. Otherwise, something else may be causing the problem.
The condensing unit may also have a reset button depending on the brand and model. Check the user manual for possible reset buttons and if you find one, press it. Then, wait to see if the outdoor unit kicks into action, and the air conditioner begins cooling.
5. Circuit Breaker
You may also want to check the circuit breaker that controls the outdoor condensing unit. If it blows a fuse, it may cause the circuit to become overloaded and trip it off. The unit may blow a fuse if the wires are weak or the air conditioner works too hard.
Contact the manufacturer to report the issue and request service if the condenser remains inoperative. You also have the option of employing the services of an HVAC technician for further assistance.
Air Conditioner Condenser Fan Runs Constantly – Solutions
Ensure the compressor and condenser coils are not overheating. Typically, the fan should keep the compressor and coils from overheating, and different factors cause overheating. However, the fan will keep running if there is an overheating problem.
However, take the following steps if an air conditioner condenser fan keeps running without the compressor and coils overheating:
1. Check the Thermostat
The thermostat may have disconnected wiring or faulty batteries, which will keep it from providing correct temperature readings. A faulty thermostat can cause the condenser fan and other parts of the cooling system to run longer than they should. Replace the batteries and see if the thermostat changes the fan’s operation. If not, check the wiring and fix them.
2. Check the Setting
Typically, you should switch the fan to Auto to allow the thermostat to regulate its operation. If the fan is set to On, it will constantly run, even when other components cycle off. Therefore, check the thermostat setting and adjust it accordingly if necessary; it may stop the fan from continually running.
3. Check the Air Conditioner’s Size
When an air conditioner is smaller than the space it is meant to cool, it will not run as it should. You will find it running all the time as it tries to keep the room cool. That may be why the fan is always running, but the compressor will also run constantly.
Another possible reason is the temperature outside. When the weather is scorching, the air conditioner will have a harder time cooling the room. As a result, the cooling system will always run, causing the components to wear out prematurely. Check the unit’s capacity by BTU rating compared to the size of the room. If necessary, replace the air conditioner or find a supplementary cooling system.
4. Check the Relay Switch
The most probable cause of a constantly running fan is a bad relay switch. It keeps the thermostat’s setting from taking effect, so test the switch if the fan alone is running when other parts are not. Replace it if necessary; you may need the services of a technician for the job.
Air Conditioner Condenser Distance from House
It is crucial to place the outdoor condensing unit of an air conditioner a little away from the house. Most manufacturers will have specific instructions on how far you should place the condenser from the house, but it is usually between twelve and thirty inches.
That means putting it between one and two-and-a-feet from the house. For the space above it, try to keep it at four to five feet; there should not be many trees or other objects hanging too close to the condenser from the top.
Creating enough clearance around the condenser plays a vital role in how well it functions. It helps to expel heat from the condenser into the atmosphere if there is enough space around it. If there is poor air circulation, the heat becomes trapped within the air conditioner and restricts its cooling capacity. Over time, the air conditioner stops working.
Air Conditioner Condenser Dirty – What to Do
It is best to contact the manufacturer for a cleaning service or hire an independent technician to check the condenser. This is because cleaning the condenser of an air conditioner is pretty tricky and may damage some or all the fins if not correctly done.
If you must clean it yourself, carefully remove the condenser cover and inspect the fins. Use a small brush to remove loose dirt and debris. If necessary, run some water over the fins until it loosens and removes dirt that clings. Ensure the water runs clear before you stop.
Allow the fins and other parts of the condenser to dry before reconnecting the air conditioner to electric power. That means the fan and compressor; they are part of the condensing unit. In addition, clean the area around the condenser up to two feet to clear it of grass, leaves, and other debris. It helps to keep the condenser clean for a long time.
Possible Problems Resulting from a Dirty Condenser
When the condenser is dirty, it is less able to dissipate heat from the refrigerant to the atmosphere. Consequently, the air conditioner will have reduced efficiency in providing cool air. Sometimes, the fault is not anything complex; cleaning the condenser solves a lot of minor errors.
A dirty condenser means the air conditioner has to run longer and harder to maintain a cool internal temperature. And if the unit is always running, it means higher electricity bills. Apart from low refrigerant levels, a dirty condenser is another cause of increased energy bills.
Furthermore, an air conditioner that runs more than necessary wears out too quickly. If you tend to use the unit frequently without servicing it, you will notice signs of deterioration. It may begin with loss of cooling and migrate to other issues like loud noises and inoperative parts.
Air Conditioner Condenser Life Expectancy
The condensing unit of an air conditioner has the same life span as the entire unit, which is usually between ten and twenty years. However, this lofe expectancy depends on maintenance and usage.
Regularly maintaining your air conditioner keeps it working for a longer time than usual. You will not have issues that tend to crop up with such appliances. Also, using the air conditioner too frequently will cause it to wear out pretty early, even if you run maintenance checks on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, usage should not damage an air conditioner until it is old. Clean the filter, check the drain line, clean the condenser, and have a technician service other electrical parts every month or two. That way, the condenser, and other parts will last a long time.
Air Conditioner Condenser Fan Running Slow – Solved
If you find that the fan in the condensing unit of an air conditioner is running slow, check the following:
1. Run Capacitor
The capacitor provides the power that the fan’s motor needs to keep running. Without the run capacitor, the fan will have a hard time running. So if it is faulty, the fan will run slowly. In some cases, a defective run capacitor can lead to an overheating fan motor. Run a continuity test on the capacitor using a multimeter, and if it shows no continuity, replace it.
2. Motor Bearings
The bearings of the fan motor, which help it stay in motion like a gear, may be worn. And if the bearings are worn, the motor may stop running or run only slowly. It is easy to see whether or not the bearings are worn; if they are, replace the fan’s motor.
3. Fan Belt
Check the fan belt to see if it is weak. A weak or cracked belt will keep the motor from moving or moving too slow. It is part of the normal wear of everyday operations. You cannot fix a damaged fan belt; the best solution is to replace it.
4. Fan Motor
Over time, the motor of the fan wears out. It may be that the bearings become worn or there are internal wiring problems. Whatever is the case, you may not immediately see it. So, check to see if it is getting power using a multimeter. If the motor is getting power but not running or shows no continuity, replace the motor.
Dirt or debris can affect the fan speed. If there is debris such as a candy wrapper or a tightly-wound ball of hair on the fan, it will slow its speed by making it difficult to turn. You can remove such debris by opening the condenser cover and pulling it out. But you must carefully do it to avoid damaging any part of the fan.
If the fan keeps running slowly after fixing all the above, it is time to schedule an appointment with the manufacturing brand or an independent HVAC technician.
Air Conditioner Condenser Frozen – Quick Fix
The following are ways to fix a frozen air conditioner condenser:
1. Adjust the Thermostat
You may have set the thermostat to the wrong point. When the outside temperature is low, you must set the thermostat to a point lower than the temperature. Otherwise, the condenser will freeze even if the air conditioner is running.
Find out the correct temperature and adjust the thermostat accordingly. Then, give the unit some time to run and reduce the internal temperature. The heat from the air conditioner may keep the condenser from freezing, even if the outside temperature is cold.
2. Replace the Thermostat
If adjusting the thermostat does not fix the temperature issue and the condenser keeps freezing, it may be a fault with the thermostat. It may have loose internal wiring or some other fault. If the batteries are not the problem, it may be necessary to replace the thermostat.
3. Check the Condensate Drain
When the condensate drain line is clogged, it will drip water out of the system onto the condenser. It will also leak water into the house. With low outside temperature, the condensate will freeze around the condenser.
Clear the drain line if it is clogged or replace the drain pan if it is cracked; it may fix the freezing issue. Otherwise, the problem may continue. You can also contact an HVAC technician to find the source of the problem.
Is Placing an Air Conditioner Condenser on a Flat Roof Good?
There are a few advantages of placing an air conditioner’s condenser on a flat roof. But there are also disadvantages of doing same.
One, putting the condenser on a flat roof removes the sound of the unit from hearing. The only type of roof a condenser can sit on is a flat one if you must get the best out of it and not risk damage. However, the usual noise a condensing unit makes during regular operation disappears when it is away on the roof.
Two, condensate from the unit does not drip onto the floor or out in the open. Draining condensate out on the floor or the surroundings can look untidy and messy. If you care about avoiding such sights, you may find that collecting the water on a flat rooftop that cannot flow downwards is less messy.
Three, you can run maintenance checks on the condensing unit up on the roof and out of sight. It can get obstructive and a little messy, especially if you have a penchant for neatness. Plus, it may get somewhat noisy, depending on who is doing the job. On the roof, however, the situation is different unless you do not mind having the crew around and tinkering for a short time.
On the other side, having an air conditioner condensing unit on a flat roof may damage it. You may be sacrificing the roof membrane for a few conveniences. It is even truer when there is increased foot traffic on the roof for times of maintenance or cleaning.
Another disadvantage of having the condensing unit on a flat roof, no matter how strong, is the deterioration from condensate. Over time, the water that drains from the air conditioner will begin to ruin the roofing material. It helps to have proper roof maintenance from time to time, especially if you have the unit there.
A third advantage you may experience with having the condensing unit on the roof is the appearance of low spots. That means your ceiling will have leaking areas. When your flat roof has disruptions in the positive slope, it will cause water pooling on different parts of the roof and not just from the air conditioner.
Sometimes, keeping the unit on the roof creates space around your home and makes everything neater. But it is not always worth the risk to ruin your roof. However, checking your roof as often as you check the air conditioning unit may help prevent irreparable damage to the roof.
Air Conditioner Condenser Humming – Solution
Humming noise from the condenser of an air conditioner does not necessarily mean a bad noise. The compressor typically hums when it is operating. You should only worry about humming from the condenser if the noise is loud or continuous.
The condenser may have some loose parts, or the refrigerant piping may be the source of the noise. Electrical problems can also lead to humming. Hire a technician to check the condenser and determine whether or not the condenser needs servicing or replacing. If a condenser keeps humming, whether or not it is running, call for professional help.
Air Conditioner Condenser Hot – Fixed
When the refrigerant level in an air conditioner drops, the compressor, fan, and other components in the condenser run non-stop. And if the condenser runs continuously, it will become hot.
The air conditioner needs the refrigerant to run optimally, and without it, the system will malfunction and stop working overtime. Contact a certified HVAC technician to check the air conditioner and fix the refrigerant issue if necessary.
Apart from the refrigerant, the condenser coils may be dirty, making it almost impossible for heat transfer out of the unit. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the room air when it is in the evaporator coils, and it flows to the condenser coils, where the heat transfers out of the unit.
But if the coils are significantly dirty, the heat cannot dissipate out of the unit. Trapped heat makes the condenser overheat, affecting other parts, including the compressor and fan. Thoroughly clean the condenser coils and components within the condenser.
Additionally, dirty air filters can cause overheating in the condenser. Check the air filter in your air conditioner and wash it if necessary. Do this every two weeks. You may also want to replace it if it has been long in use. That way, the filter keeps functioning as it should.
Air Conditioner Condenser Hissing – Quick Fix
Hissing sound from an air conditioner’s condenser may indicate that the compressor has a problem. Before deciding that, note that a small and brief hissing sound from the condenser may not be anything to worry about, but if it lasts too long or is continuous, it is crucial to test the compressor.
It may be a refrigerant leak, and if that is the case, the hissing sound will grow louder. Checking the refrigerant and possible leaks is a top priority; the lines should be tested for bubbles that indicate a leak.
The sound may also mean that the compressor has high internal pressure. Whether it is a refrigerant leak or a pressure problem, the first step is to turn off the air conditioner. Then, contact the manufacturer for service or hire an HVAC technician for further assistance.
Air Conditioner Condenser Tripping Breaker – How to Fix
There are several reasons your air conditioner condenser is tripping the breaker. Let us look at each one and how to fix them:
1. Dirty Condenser Coil
Inspect the coil and other parts around it to see if it is dirt. If you have never cleaned the condenser coil since using the air conditioner, it may be time to run a maintenance check. Dirt on the coil will prevent the efficient heat dissipation from the system to the outside air.
You may need the services of a professional to clean the condenser coil because it can be a tricky business. But if you are confident in your skills, remove the condenser cover; it may require unmounting some screws. Use a small brush to dust the dirt off the coil, fan, and compressor. If necessary, use a garden hose to run water over the fins to remove sticky dirt.
Allow the components to dry before turning on the air conditioner. Also, clean the area around the condenser up to three feet. Doing this will prevent dirt from quickly sticking to the condenser after the cleaning process.
When the condenser coil is dirty, it needs more electric current to transfer heat out of the system. Dirt acts as an insulator or blanket that traps heat inside the system, making it difficult to perform its duty. And when it pulls too much current, it will overheat and trip the breaker.
2. Defective Condenser Fan
The compressor and condenser coil need the fan to run to cool them while they run. Otherwise, they will overheat and cause errors in the cooling system. So, check the condenser fan; its blades may be broken, or the motor may not be running. The condenser coil will overheat and trip the breaker if the motor is not running.
The problem may stem from the motor not getting enough power from the breaker. If that is the case, you will need the help of an electrician to fix the issue. But if not, it is crucial to replace the fan motor when it is no longer running. Ensure it is clean and the blades are tightly connected to the motor shaft.
3. Dusty Air Filter
Typically, you should check and clean the air filter in your air conditioner every month. In some cases, you will need to clean it every two weeks. Note that air filters in air conditioners do not last the entire lifetime of the units; it is crucial to replace the filter from time to time.
So, if you have never cleaned or replaced the filter, it may be clogging the system with dirt and tripping the breaker. It restricts airflow and causes the system to malfunction, which overloads the breaker and trips it. It is pretty straightforward to remove and clean the filter, but follow the instructions in the user manual to clean the filter in your specific model.
4. Disconnected Wires
If you frequently use the air conditioner, it will wear out over time, sometimes too quickly. While this may be the normal sequence of things, wires may come loose in the system’s internal parts, leading to the breaker tripping.
It may also stem from aging parts of the air conditioner; the older the parts become, the more voltage they need to run. The excessive use of electric power will overload the circuit breaker and trip it. If your air conditioner is old or you suspect loose wiring, replace the unit or have a technician check for loose wires.
5. Malfunctioning Compressor
If a compressor is faulty, it may show it by needing more current than usual to run. The same is true if the compressor is old. As a result, the breaker will buckle under the load and trip off. You will need the services of a professional HVAC technician to check the compressor, especially if it has a hard time starting. The solution may be as simple as replacing the capacitor, relay, fan motor, turning the unit off for a short period.
Air Conditioner Condenser Keeps Running – Quick Fix
When you hear the condenser running non-stop, it means the compressor does not cycle off when it should. The following are the possible causes of this problem and quick fixes:
1. Faulty Thermostat
The thermostat controls when the air conditioner turns on and off depending on the setting. The component detects the air temperature, turns on the cooling system, and turns it off when the room is cool. It helps conserve energy and keep the unit working optimally.
But if it malfunctions, it will keep the condenser running because it will not know when to stop running. Check the thermostat’s batteries and wires; replace the batteries if they are weak or the thermostat if there are faulty wires.
2. Dirty Air Filter
Cleaning the air filter in an air conditioner is one of the most straightforward jobs. Yet, as small as the filter can be, it can ground the air conditioner’s operation to a halt if it is dirty. Open the front panel of the air conditioner and pull out the filter. Place it under running water and wash it with mild soap. Never use harsh cleaning agents to clean the filter; otherwise, it will be damaged.
Dry the filter with a clean and lint-free towel and allow it to air-dry before putting back into the air handler. Never place a wet air filter in the air conditioner if you want the unit to retain its functionality.
3. Restrictive Filters
Reduced airflow can keep the condenser running all the time as the compressor attempts to provide increased cold air. The air filter may be new but restrictive, cutting off most of the airflow.
A restrictive air filter may have a design that filters allergens and other pollutants from the air, but it is not ideal for proper airflow. Get a filter that has a low MERV value if you suspect the current one is not fully functional.
4. Frozen Coil
A dirty air filter can lead to the evaporator coil freezing. The evaporator coil is usually cold but never frozen, but dirt can trap the cold air and lead to freezing. Turn off the air conditioner for a period until the evaporator coil thaws.
Ensure you clear the drain pan because the melting ice may overflow it and leak out. You may need the services of a technician to determine whether or not the filter is the only cause of the frozen coil or if there are other causes.
5. Insufficient Refrigerant
If the closed system has insufficient refrigerant, there is insufficient gas to cool the room. Consequently, the condenser or compressor will continue running as it tries to help the air conditioner produce cool air.
One of the primary reasons refrigerant reduces in the closed system is a leak. Refrigerant does not deplete, nor does it need to be replaced otherwise because it runs through a sealed system. Therefore, it is crucial to get professional assistance to stop the possible leak and recharge the system.
6. Dusty Coil
The condenser coil must be cleaned every month to keep the system up and running. Use the services of a professional to clean the condensing unit, or you can clean it yourself. Keep in mind that the fins are pretty fragile so cleaning them has to be a careful job if you do not want to break them.
If a significant amount of dirt coats the condenser coil, it will trap heat within the air conditioner and lower its capacity to produce cool air. As a result, the unit will keep running to try and deliver cool air. It is not ideal for the air conditioner to run that way. Otherwise, the unit will prematurely break down.
7. Defective Fan Motor
If the blower is not functioning as it should, maybe due to its bad motor, the air conditioner will not produce enough cool air for the room. The condenser senses this and keeps running to support cool air production from the unit. Not only will you find the compressor in the condenser running non-stop, but the air conditioner will wear out too quickly.
There is also the possibility that you have set the fan speed too low, and adjusting it may stop the condenser. When you set the air conditioner to cool, adjusting the fan speed to meet the setting is essential. If the fan speed is too low, the cooling function will not be optimal, and the condenser will run non-stop. Additionally, dirt on the fan can make it slow, so clean the fan blades and motor for better results.
8. Poorly-sealed Ducts
The ductwork may be poorly done or come undone if you have a central air conditioning system. If that is the case, cool air will be leaking out of the duct lines, reducing the cool airflow. Over time, the room never attains to the set temperature, and the condenser keeps running to make up for the loss. Contact the installation technician or hire a new one to fix the duct issue.
9. Small AC Unit
A smaller or incorrectly-sized air conditioning unit will affect how often the condenser or compressor runs. Air conditioners are sized based on their British Thermal Units per Hour (BTUs), which describes the cooling or heating capacity of the unit.
The air conditioner cannot cool a room too large for it. If the capacity is too small or you moved to a different and larger apartment with the same unit, it may not be enough to cool it. Contact an HVAC technician to check the air conditioner size, considering the size and design of the room. Also, they must consider the building’s insulation, exposure to the sun, and the windows.
Air Conditioner Condenser Keeps Turning On and Off – How to Fix
Take a look at the following to determine why your air conditioner condenser keeps turning on and off:
1. Air Conditioner Size
If the air conditioner is too big, it will quickly cool the room and turn off. Once the temperature rises again, it turns on and starts running. The process will continue as the air conditioner will cool the room too fast and turn off.
While this is not the most likely cause of the problem, you may want to check the unit’s capacity compared to the room size. And if necessary, exchange the air conditioner for a more suitably-sized unit.
A low refrigerant level will keep the air conditioner condenser or compressor running. The reason is that there will not be enough to absorb the heat in the room and, if that is the case, the room temperature will not drop to the set temperature. As a result, the condenser will continuously run to cover the loss.
Fixing refrigerant issues is for trained HVAC technicians only. So, hire one to check the system for possible leaks. They should fix them before recharging with refrigerant to prevent the problem from continuing.
The location of the thermostat is crucial in the operation of the air conditioner. If you have it in an area that is too warm, it will always turn the unit on, even when it is not necessary. After a short while, the unit will go off, but the thermostat will turn it on again because it is at a warm spot. Relocate the thermostat to see if it fixes the problem.
On the other hand, the thermostat may not be working well. Check the batteries, especially if you have never replaced them. Also, loose wiring or electrical problems can cause the thermostat to malfunction and produce incorrect temperature data. That way, it sends the wrong message to the control board and keeps the cooling system turning on and off. Consider replacing the thermostat if the batteries are not the problem.
4. Condenser Coil
Dirt on the condenser fins leads to the system’s inability to transfer heat out. And if the heat remains, the air conditioning system will overheat and shut down as a protective measure. It will turn back on when it cools, but it will shut off again because the condenser fins are still dirty.
Therefore, clean the coils as thoroughly as possible. Remove debris and dust; carefully wash the fins if necessary. It is always recommended to use the services of a professional to clean the coil because of the fragility of the fins. If they bend, you may straighten them, but you will need a new condensing unit if they break.
Low airflow keeps the room from cooling as quickly or adequately as it should. The loss of cool air triggers the condenser to turn on and off too often as it tries to cool the room. Dirt air filters and a frozen evaporator coil are some factors that reduce airflow.
Check the filter first and clean it if necessary. Also, consider replacing it if the filter has been too long in use. After that, turn off the air conditioner or use the fan to melt the ice from the evaporator coil. Fixing the filter problem may likely prevent the evaporator from freezing again.
6. Run Capacitor
A faulty run capacitor cannot provide the voltage that the condenser needs to stay up and running. Consequently, the condenser will frequently turn off and on as the capacitor tries to provide a power boost. Test the capacitor using a multimeter to check for continuity and replace it if there is none. Also, replace it if the capacitor looks corroded, rusted, or is leaking or bulging.
7. Electrical Issues
Issues with electrical connections can cause the condenser to turn on and off. But checking these connections is only for HVAC technicians. They can be complex and dangerous if you do not have the required training. Therefore, hire a professional technician to determine whether or not the problem stems from electrical faults.
Air Conditioner Condenser Loud – What to Do
An air conditioning system can become loud over time as it runs. Different parts of the unit can make noises, especially if they come loose. But if you hear loud noises from the condenser, check the compressor and fan. They are the most likely to generate loud noises within the condensing unit.
If internal parts of a compressor come loose, they will knock around and hit the sides of the compressor. Also, if the compressor is loose on its holding springs, it will vibrate and hit the sides of its housing whenever you run the air conditioner. The only fix to a loud compressor is to replace it or the entire air conditioner.
A damaged fan motor can also create noise, or the fan blades may be loose. While checking the compressor, ensure the fan blades are secure on the motor shaft and are not bent. Clean them to remove debris that may be preventing their full operation. The debris can also make the fan noisy. If the noise is from the motor, you may need a replacement.
If you hear the condenser clicking, check the relay. It may be trying to run the compressor when it is faulty; replace the relay if it is not working. A clicking noise may also be expected if you hear it when the cooling cycle starts or ends.
Rattling from the condenser may come from a damaged compressor contactor. But first, ensure there is no trapped debris around the fan and compressor that may be creating noise while they run. If they are clean and the noise persists, you may want to check and replace the contactor.
Hissing may be a sign of a leak, most likely refrigerant. If you hear hissing coming from the condenser, turn the air conditioner off and call an HVAC technician for assistance. Whatever loud noise you hear from the condenser must be checked as quickly as possible by a professional to prevent further damage to the air conditioner.
Air Conditioner Condenser Leaking Oil – Solved
If you find that your air conditioner condenser is leaking oil, the first thing to do is check the amount of oil leaking. Typically, the condenser may leak a little oil from time to time, which is entirely normal. But if there is a significant amount of oil pooled under the condenser, you need to check the connections through which oil can leak out of the system.
The problem is likely from the compressor having a loose seal. The oil stays in the compressor and helps to lubricate it. So, if the condenser is leaking oil, the best place to start is the compressor. You will need professional help to determine the exact origin of the leak and fix it. But turn the air conditioner off while you wait for assistance; refrigerant may be leaking along with the oil. Because it is an odorless gas, you will not see or smell it.
Air Conditioner Condenser Noise Reduction – Steps
Newer air conditioners may create less noise because of innovations from years of trials. But your air conditioner condenser may still be noisy and disturbing your home. Fortunately, there are quick and easy ways to muffle the noise without affecting the unit.
1. Sound Blanket
Use a sound blanket. You will find these blankets in shops around you. They are easy to install and significantly reduce the sound from the condenser. Moreover, they are pretty affordable. Using the blanket does not trap heat within the condenser. On the contrary, it improves the circulation of air around the condenser and makes it more efficient.
Another method of silencing the condenser is to wall it off. It does not mean erecting a brick fence, but you can use wood to create a small enclosure around it. The fence will muffle the noise from the condenser without looking messy around your home.
However, ensure you erect the fence so that it leaves some space around the condenser for proper air circulation. In other words, do not put it too close to the condenser; otherwise, it will overheat and cause problems with the unit. It must be at least a foot away from the condenser.
The material for erecting the enclosure must not be the type that amplifies sound or traps heat. You can use Mass Loaded Vinyl to wrap the material because MLV absorbs sound. Leave the top of the enclosure open for air.
Consider planting a small bush around the condenser to muffle the noise. This method is a long-term plan and only works if the house is yours and you have a yard. Otherwise, it may not be wise to start planting a shrub when you have no plans of staying there a long time.
However, it is excellent not only for masking the sound but also for beautifying your yard. It does not have to be elaborate; something small and simple will do. It is crucial to plant it in such a manner as to leave space for air circulation. Also, it must not be too thick to build heat on the condenser.
4. Level the Condenser
Placing the condenser on uneven ground will make it vibrate. Apart from the damages it will cause to the unit, the noise it generates may be unbearable. Typically, you should set the condenser on a flat concrete slab with pads to cushion the unit from the hard slab. But the slab must sit on even ground to keep the condenser from wobbling. You may find that it becomes less noisy when you correctly balance it.
5. Soundproof Your Home
One option you have to muffle the noise from the condenser is to soundproof your home. It is not a popular method because of the work and expenses involved, but it is worth a try. The downside is that it does not reduce the noise for your neighbors. So, it may not be an option for you if you want to muffle the condenser noise for your neighbors.
Air Conditioner Condenser Reset Button
Not all air conditioners have reset buttons for the condensing units. Some have a dedicated button that you can press to reset the condenser. Turn off the air conditioner at the wall outlet and flip the circuit breaker’s switch.
Check the user manual for the button’s exact location; it is usually a small red button. When you find it, press and hold it for about five seconds, let it go, and turn on the air conditioner at the circuit breaker and wall outlet.
Check the thermostat and ensure it is on and set to cool when you turn it on. The set temperature must be a few degrees lower than the room temperature. Otherwise, there will be a problem with the cooling functionality of the air conditioner.
Most air conditioner condensers or compressors can be reset by turning the air conditioner off and disconnecting it from the wall outlet. Allow the unit to sit unplugged for a minute before turning on the breaker.
Then, allow the unit to sit unplugged for another thirty minutes before reconnecting it to electric power. The process typically resets the compressor and gets the air conditioner up and running again. Adjust the thermostat to cool and give the compressor time to kick into action. Ensure the set temperature is lower than the room temperature.
How to Clean an Air Conditioner Condenser
Turn off the air conditioning system from the wall outlet and flip the breaker. The breaker is usually beside the condenser, so it is easy to locate. Next, check how accessible the condenser is; if there are grasses or a bush around it, clear it to have better access.
Remove the screws holding the condenser cover in place and put them in a safe place. You may have to remove the condenser fan to be able to clean the condenser properly, depending on the air conditioner model. If it applies, it may be an ideal time to lubricate the fan motor.
Using a small brush, broom, or rag, clean the dirt away from the condenser. If dirt is trapped in the coils, spray it with a garden hose using gentle force. But if there is a significant amount of dirt, you may need a biodegradable cleaner. Whether or not you are using water or a foaming cleanser, you must cover motors and wires with a plastic material before cleaning.
Spray the biodegradable cleaning agent from outside the condenser, leave it to soak for fifteen minutes, and repeat the process if it applies. Do not scrub with a cleaning agent or brush as it may damage the coils. Then, rinse the coils with clean water until the runoff water is clear.
Next, check the fins to see if they are bent. Use a fin comb to straighten them. You can buy the comb from any hardware or air conditioning supply store. Finally, put the cover in place and secure the screws. Turn the air conditioner on and wait for it to run to ensure everything is in order.
How to Protect an Air Conditioner Condenser
There are several factors that you can protect an air conditioner condenser from, such as debris, heat, and even animals. The following are ways to protect the condenser:
1. Protection from Debris
Consider using a condenser cover to protect the unit from leaves, lint, and other types of debris. It is usually made of a thin breathable material that keeps things out without suffocating the condenser.
You can also an exterior filter, which is basically a thin metal mesh that keeps bigger debris from covering the condenser. You will find it online or in stores.
2. Protection from Animals
Regularly clean the condensing unit to keep animals away. You are more likely to find rodents and pests in the unit if you often check it. It will also keep the air conditioning unit from malfunctioning due to dirt or heat. While cleaning the condenser, clean the area around it to improve cleanliness.
Using a pest repellent is also an option. Get a commercial pest repellent and spray it around the condensing unit. Keep it away from the condenser but spray it on the floor; the smell will keep the rodents and pests away.
3. Protection from Heat
Ensure the ducts are correctly insulated and the air is not leaking out. Otherwise, the air conditioner will overheat due to air loss and affect it in the long run. Let a professional check the sealing and repair it if necessary.
You can try using a water mister as a means of cooling the condenser. Place it close to the unit and allow it to spray mist over the unit from time to time. However, ensure you use it only when the weather is scorching. The mist will deteriorate the condenser’s components if it is continuous.
In times of flooding, which is not common, turn the air conditioner and electric power off. That is the first step to protecting the condenser. Next, find a way to remove the standing water around the unit and clear debris that may be clinging to it. Keep it off until you have an HVAC technician test its functionality.
What Happens When an Air Conditioner Condenser Goes Bad?
When an air conditioner condenser goes bad, the unit cannot produce enough cold air anymore. Even though the condenser is running, it is not working enough to make cool air. That means the air conditioner needs to run more than usual to keep producing cool air, which may not work but still stresses the condenser. The extra work will also increase the electricity bills.
A bad condenser can cause the air conditioner to turn on and off frequently, which is called short cycling. The air conditioner cannot optimally function if it cycles off and on in quick succession, and it puts a lot of stress on the unit. Eventually, it may prematurely break down.
The condenser of an air conditioner is a central part of its functionality. It is the part that houses the compressor, condenser fins, and condenser fan. There are also other smaller parts that keep the bigger ones moving and efficient. Without the condensing unit being fully functional and efficient, the air conditioner cannot work as it should.
Hole in Air Conditioner Condenser – Fixed
If there is a hole in an air conditioner condenser, it is crucial to turn off the unit and call for professional help. Next, switch the air conditioner off to prevent the leakage of refrigerant. Refrigerant can be odorless and dangerous to health in large amounts. So, even if a significant amount of the gas leaks out, you will not know it.
Open windows, doors, and other openings through which fresh air can enter the house. It will improve cross ventilation and clear the gas from the air. Keep things that way for a couple of hours. You may need a new condensing unit if the HVAC technician cannot fix the hole in the old one.
If you are looking to fix a hole in a car air conditioner condenser, you can solder the hole shut. You can also use a stop leak to seal the hole. This method works and is more economical if the hole is only a pinprick. A larger hole will mean that you need to replace the entire condenser.
Difference Between an Air Conditioner Condenser and Compressor
A condenser and compressor in an air conditioner perform different duties and that is the main difference between them. You will find a detailed explanation in this article about the unique duties of each vital component.
What Size of Air Conditioner Do I Need?
A look at this article will explain all the factors to consider when investing in an air conditioner condensing unit. But bear in mind that the maximum size to get must be fifteen percent above British Thermal Units (BTUs) for cooling your room. And it must be forty percent of the BTUs required for heating the room.
Removing Rust from an Air Conditioner Condenser
You will need to turn the air conditioning off and open the condenser. Spray the inside part with water first to remove any clinging dirt. Next, get a rust dissolving agent and dip a sponge in it. Now, rub the sponge over the rust spots and give it a couple of minutes to absorb.
Then, get a wire brush and move it over the spots to remove them. If necessary, apply the rust dissolving agent again and repeat the cleaning process until all the rust is gone. Afterward, rinse the treated areas with plenty of water to finish the process.
How to Install an Air Conditioner Condenser – Steps
The following are steps to install an air conditioner condenser:
Ensure you get the right size and capacity of a condenser that you need. A 12,000 BTU condenser is sufficient to cool a room of 500 square feet. Get a recovery tank for recovering the refrigerant in the old condenser. This is because it is not legal to release the remnant refrigerant into the air. And since you may need to remove the old condenser to fix the new one, you will need to remove the refrigerant.
Next, get the new refrigerant and keep it nearby. You do not want to cu the refrigerant lines from the old condenser without filling the new condenser and soldering the lines in place. Overexposure of the lines may cause moisture to enter, which is not ideal for the gas or system.
Now, ensure you get a flat concrete slab and soft pads to carry the condenser. While the ground may be even, it is better to use the concrete slab and pads for better balance. You will find these slabs and cushiony pads in stores close to you.
The next step is to install the new condenser. Connect and solder the refrigerant lines to it if you are replacing the old condenser. Ensure there are no leaks and the system is closed before charging it with refrigerant.
Before that, you must vent nitrogen gas from the closed system. Also, connect a vacuum pump to the refrigerant lines to remove any moisture that may have infiltrated the system. Then, you can charge it with the refrigerant.
Following the instructions in the manual, make the electrical connections. But note that you do not have to do it on your own, consider hiring a qualified HVAC technician to do the job. Run a test on the unit after making all the connections and charging with refrigerant to be sure you did the correct job.
Adjust the thermostat to a point low enough that the system engages the solenoid. Change the temperature and check the low and high pressures to be sure they are within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Otherwise, contact the manufacturer or use the services of a certified HVAC technician.
Should I Cover Air Conditioner Condenser in Winter?
It is ideal to cover the condensing unit of an air conditioner in winter if you will not use the unit as a heater. Apart from protecting it from dirt and debris, it will also protect it from moisture. Use a plastic sheet or tarp over the condenser but do not wrap it too tight so that trapped moisture can escape. That way, the unit does not rust. Remove the protective cover whenever you want to use the unit.
Can I Drive Without an Air Conditioner Condenser?
You can drive your car without the air conditioner condenser as long as you do not run the unit. The car’s engine does not need the condenser to work because it is not an integral part of its operation. The only reason it is there is to power the air conditioner.
However, it will be uncomfortable to drive without the condenser if the weather is warm. You cannot run the AC without the condenser. Moreover, it is crucial to fix the condenser so that it does not damage any part of the car in the long run.
Do You Need an Air Conditioner Condenser?
Every air conditioner needs a functioning condenser to run. Without the condenser, the air conditioner will not power on at all. The condenser houses the compressor, condenser coils, and fan. These are critical parts of the entire unit.
An air conditioner condenser is a vital part of the air conditioning process. It is crucial to maintain the condenser because of all the parts it carries. This article covers a number of condenser issues and how to fix or replace faulty parts.
Keep in mind that regular maintenance helps the air conditioner work for a long time. Therefore, have an HVAC technician or the manufacturer run regular checks on the system to prevent issues with the condenser. And other parts.