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In the sweltering heat of summer, your air conditioning turning itself off is just as infuriating — if not more — than your furnace not kicking on during the dead of winter. What could be causing this irritating issue? Air conditioning systems are complicated, and when yours stops cooling your home, you start pondering millions of different possibilities. You need answers, and you need them now!

While we can assure you that your AC switching itself off isn’t due to a mischievous poltergeist messing with your air conditioning, we also can’t claim to know exactly what’s happening in your particular situation until we come out and take a look. However, we can help you by explaining a few factors that might cause this household hindrance. Here’s what might be going on behind the scenes when your air conditioning switches itself off.

Troublesome Thermostat

Your thermostat operates as the “brains” of your AC unit (and heating system, too, if you use a heat pump). When a mosquito lands on you, you immediately reach out and slap it because your brain signals your hand to move. But without a signal from your brain, your hand would stay where it was, and you’d get bitten by the tiny bloodsucker. Similarly, your air conditioner turning itself off might be happening because your thermostat is not sending a signal correctly. Without the “brain” telling the system to continue operating, it’ll settle back into inaction. There are a few things you can try before you call a professional about your thermostat:

  • Ensure that your system is on, set to “cool,” and set at your ideal temperature. 
  • Check your programming settings or system schedule. It’s an easy mistake to accidentally mis-program your AC system — or for someone else to make changes you didn’t notice until now.
  • Check the weather forecast. If the weather outdoors is mild, your system may continue switching off because it’s set to only kick on above a certain temperature. Adjust as needed to maintain home comfort.

Filthy Filters

No matter what kinds of HVAC systems are in your home, all air conditioners and heaters need their filters removed and replaced regularly to ensure optimal efficiency and performance. If it’s been a long time since you changed your filters, your system might be overheating due to poor ventilation. When some systems overheat past a certain threshold, they will automatically shut down to prevent electrical damage. Replacing your filters is a task that takes 15 minutes at most, but it can save you hours of trouble later down the line. For best results, replace your filters at least once every two months during the summer. In addition, always remember to schedule yearly tune-ups for your heating and cooling systems to prevent problems and keep things running smoothly.

Reduced Refrigerant Levels

If your AC shutting itself off isn’t happening due to your thermostat or your filters, the next thing technicians are likely to check is your system’s refrigerant levels. If your AC unit doesn’t have enough refrigerant, it becomes less and less capable of cooling your home properly. While sometimes wear and tear can naturally reduce refrigerant levels over time, there may also be a loose tube or a crack or hole that’s causing a refrigerant leak. If you suspect that there might be a leak happening, get in touch with HVAC experts right away since leaking refrigerant can pose a threat to the health of humans, animals, and the planet.

Erratic Evaporator Coils

Frozen or faulty evaporator coils may be a culprit if your air conditioning turns off by itself. When airflow to evaporator coils is inadequate, they can freeze due to the low temperature inside the unit. In response, your system works harder, causing unnecessary stress on inner components — and not to mention higher electric bills.

Clogged Condensers

Your air conditioning condensers are located outside your house. They are the “grill-like” structures you may see when you look carefully just beneath the exterior grates of your unit. Due to daily exposure to the great outdoors, dirt and debris collect inside the condensers over time. If this grime isn’t cleaned out regularly, it can cause your system to switch off. Clogged condensers are also a reason your AC might end up blowing warm air instead of cool air, so watch out for this red flag as well.

Inadequate Installation

The larger the AC unit, the more comfortable your home gets, right? Wrong! Air conditioning units are far from “one size fits all,” and an oversized air conditioner can actually end up making you hotter. Your unit should be sized to fit your home. A unit that is too big will work harder than it needs to in a smaller space, which can cause everything from frequent shutdowns to increased humidity to higher energy bills.

Capacitor Catastrophe

As you might guess from its name, the run capacitor is a very important part of your air conditioner. Simply put, it controls the motor of the fans in your system. When the run capacitor fails, your fans cannot spin, meaning your system ends up not turning on or shutting down after only a few minutes.

Electrical Errors

Occasionally, AC units fall victim to a typical large-appliance problem: electrical failure. Sometimes, electrical problems are a “chicken or the egg” issue. A clogged filter or faulty capacitor can cause your unit to overwork itself, leading to electrical problems, but other times, it’s the electrical problems that cause the unit to overwork itself until it fails. Whichever came first, this is a dangerous repair job to try to do yourself. Don’t risk electrical shock; call HVAC repair professionals instead to make the necessary repairs.

Restore Your Comfort — Call Northern Services Now!

Don’t spend another day worrying that your AC will fail again and cause sweaty, miserable discomfort. Call Northern Services and leave your problems behind! Our friendly experts can tackle any cooling or heating troubles you might have. Make the call today because your comfort is worth our time!