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How to Check if Your Air Handler Needs Repair

How to Check if Your Air Handler Needs Repair

When your air conditioner shows signs of malfunctioning, the most likely source of the problem is the air handler. This component encases important subcomponents such as the blower motors, heating and cooling units, air circulation fans, sound attenuators, filters and dampers. Its main function is to pump the condensed cool air through the ductwork.

What does this actually mean?

It means the air handler is responsible for supplying your AC system with clean and fresh air. Therefore, you should hire a reliable air handler repair San Diego service the minute you notice any sign of trouble. Otherwise, you risk compromising the quality of the air you breathe.

Here is where to look and check if your air handler is functioning properly.

The Greatest Threat

In case of air handlers, the main cause of trouble is dirt. Since an air handler (a.k.a. air handling unit – AHU) has to enable the proper circulation of fresh air through the air conditioner, it means that its components have to be dirt-, dust- and debris-free at all cost and at all times.

Check for Dirt or Clogs in the Air Filter

It all starts with the air filter. Like its name suggests, the air filter allows clean air to enter the air handling unit by trapping dirt and debris. If the filter itself gets clogged, it will obstruct the regular air flow. This will in turn cause the AC to stop cooling and cause water leakage from the overwhelmed condensate drain.

Moreover, the reduced air flow leads to the freezing of the evaporator coil, responsible for transferring the heat. Once the evaporator coil starts freezing, the condenser has to work harder to make up for the frozen coil. What’s more, the blower motor tries to pull the required amount of air by working even harder. The result of this domino effect is a gradual failure of all subcomponents located in the air handling unit.

Check for Dirt in the Evaporator Coil

In theory, a clean air filter ensures the evaporator coil will also be clean. You can resolve the low air flow problem by changing the air filter and leaving the frozen coil to thaw, but that doesn’t do much for the built-up debris in the evaporator coil. To make sure the evaporator coil is free of debris, it needs to be removed from the air handler and cleaned with the coil cleaner. Only then can you be sure you removed the dirt from the AHU. Proper re-installation should be left to air handler repair professionals.

Check the Refrigerant Charge

The refrigerant is directly responsible for absorbing the heat from the evaporator coil and carrying it outside the system. Low refrigerant charge causes the same type of problems like the low air flow. In order to check if the refrigerant is the cause of your AC’s poor operation, you need to make sure you eliminated all other causes. More specifically, the air filter and evaporator coil have to be clean. If the two are clean but your AC is still not running properly, you need to call in an experienced technician to check the refrigerant charge.

Check the Blower Motor

If you rule out the two main causes of air handler malfunction (low air flow and low refrigerant charge), but there is still no cooling, chances are the blower motor is to blame. The problem may lie in the blower wheel, relay, run capacitor or the control board. You shouldn’t try and check this yourself, especially while the system is running, since blowers have high voltage and are very dangerous. A careful motor repair technician will tell you whether your blower motor simply needs oiling or the belts driving the motor need replacing, or the cause is structural.

Check for Leaks and Cracks

Any sign of cracks, leaks or dents on any subcomponents means that you need to call an air handler repairman.

In summary, if you notice ice on your AC or if your AC unit is making strange noises or simply isn’t cooling the air properly, have your air filter and evaporator coil checked first. Before calling your local San Diego air handler repair service, make sure your AC is turned off so the ice can melt before any troubleshooting is attempted.

Perhaps most importantly, arrange for regular air handler maintenance – proper maintenance will help you prevent sudden outages and water damage and save you money on costly repair work.



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