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Air Conditioners

Welcome to AP Wagner. You have come to the source for keeping your Air Conditioner and other appliances running like new! Below is some very beneficial information about how air conditioners work, as well as what can go wrong with them. You will find answers to many common questions, and learn how to properly maintain your air conditioner. We provide many repair and service tips about air conditioners. A handy do-it-yourselfer can use this valuable information to determine what's wrong with their air conditioner, and can also use this knowledge to repair their air conditioner using the appropriate appliance parts. We provide a model lookup feature and an easy to use appliance parts finder to make your repair jobs easier. We also have appliance cleaning products, and an easy to use shopping cart.

The following information should help you repair your Air Conditioner. The information applies to most makes and models including: Admiral, Amana,
Crosley, General Electric, Gibson, Haier, JC Penney, Kelvinator, Kenmore, Maytag, Montgomery Ward, RCA, Sears, Sunbeam, Westinghouse, Whirlpool, White-Westinghouse, and more.

Warning! Reduce your risk of personal injury or death. Disconnect your appliance from its power source before you start any troubleshooting or repairs. Danger of electric shock when working on electric appliances. Appliances have many razor-like machined edges; use caution when working inside any appliance.

How do Air Conditioners work?

An air conditioner takes warm air and makes it cooler by transferring the heat using evaporation principles. When you turn on your air conditioner, the thermostat control measures the air temperature. If the air temperature is warmer than the setting on the thermostat, it sends power to the compressor.

After the compressor gets power from the thermostat, it starts pumping and compresses a refrigerant gas, causing it to become a hot, high-pressure gas. Next, this hot gas flows through a set of condenser coils where it dissipates its heat to the surrounding air which is pushed past the coils by a fan, and then condenses into a liquid. Following that, the liquid flows through what’s called a capillary tube. During this process, the liquid refrigerant evaporates to become a cold, low-pressure gas. This cold gas flows through a set of evaporator coils which allows the gas to absorb heat, and by absorbing that heat; it cools down the air which passes over the coils, and then this cold air gets pushed into the room or building by the air conditioner's fan. When warm, moist air goes over these coils, they collect condensation, which drips off and flows through a drain tube into a drip tray. This water usually flows to the back of the unit where it is sometimes thrown by the condenser coil fan onto the condenser coils to help cool the hot coils down. You may even hear the sound of the water getting splashed around. This part of the process also reduces the humidity levels in the room or house.

A fan blows the air from the room over the cold evaporator coils and back into the room at a cooler temperature to cool the room. It also blows warm outside air over the condensor coils so they don't get too hot. The selector switch controls how fast the fan motor goes and therefore how much air is moved.

Once the thermostat measures the temperature of the room to be slightly lower than the control setting, it sends an electrical current which turns off the compressor. The fan may continue to blow the air between cooling cycles. Once the thermostat measures that the temperature is again above the desired temperature, the compressor shuts off until it gets the start signal, and the process begins again.
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Common Questions about Air Conditioners (FAQs)

Here are some common questions about Air Conditioners

Why won't my Air Conditioner turn on? First, you want to make sure that you have power at the plug that you are using for your air conditioner. You can test it with a voltage meter or simply plug something else into the same outlet (if the receptacle is 220V, you will need to measure it with a voltage meter). If it works, you know you have power to the air conditioner. If it doesn’t work, you’ll need to check your fuse panel for any blown fuses or your circuit breaker box for any tripped circuit breakers.

If you have power, it could be one of several problems that are keeping it from running. Many times an air conditioner can't start the compressor if the amperage or voltage is too low. This can happen, especially if you run the unit from an extension cord or have something else that draws a lot of power on the same line. The compressor initially takes a lot of power to start.

If you hear any odd noises coming from the unit, it could be the compressor trying to start, but unable to do so. Another part that causes odd noises is the overload/relay. This causes a click-buzz-click sound near the compressor. This is the overload/relay working, and it protects the compressor from damage by cutting power to it if there’s a problem. If you hear this, the compressor has power, and it means something is wrong with the compressor. If the compressor is the cause of the problem, you'll need to contact a professional appliance repair person.

Also, any of the control components could be the cause of your problem. These include the control board, the selector switch, and thermostat. The control board controls the overall operation of an air conditioner, and if it is bad, it may prevent the unit from operating. The selector switch is used to adjust the settings that you want on your air conditioner. The thermostat controls the temperature. In addition, the wiring between any of these components could be to blame.

Sometimes the plug for the unit gets burned on the end that goes into the outlet, or the outlet itself gets scorched. This will reduce the contact points and may not allow any or enough power through to operate the unit. If this is the case, you need to replace the plug and outlet as it is also a fire hazard. You may want to call a professional electrician for this job.
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Why does the Air Conditioner run constantly? If your air conditioner is running constantly, it may be that it’s too small for the room you’re trying to cool. Another reason may be that it is not cooling properly. Check the filter, coils for dirt buildup, and the air temperature leaving the unit. The cool air coming from the unit should be at least 15F cooler than the air going into it.

Make sure that you don't have windows open, allowing warm air back into the area that you're trying to cool. There may also be a control for a vent or louvre that allows outside air in. This vent being open will let warmer outside air in, and make the unit work harder to maintain a cool temperature. An open vent is also bad for allergy sufferers as it lets more pollens into the room. You also do not want to cover the front of the unit with any drapes or curtains as this will inhibit the airflow from the unit into the room.

Make sure there isn't any outside air leaking into the room by using sash sealer strips between the window and the unit. These strips work by filling in any gaps between the unit and the window frame and prevent cold air from leaking out of the room, and prevent warm air from entering the room.
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What size Air Conditioner do I need for my room? You will have to measure the size of the room first. Then multiply the length by the width and that total is your square footage. You can use a chart or calculation provided by a manufacturer (usually available on their website) to determine how many BTUs you need your air conditioner to handle. You will also want to take into account how shady or sunny the room will be. Add ten percent more for a sunny room, and take ten percent away for shaded rooms.

Other factors that can influence the size of air conditioner that you need include: the number of windows letting light in, the insulation of the room, roof, and ceiling, how many people, and how many appliances or electronic devices are usually in the room.
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Why does the air smell bad? Keep the unit clean of any buildups. The constant warming and cooling on these machines can build up moisture quickly. If it doesn't evaporate properly, the stagnant water can lead to fungi, molds, and mildews, as well as diseases like Legionnaire's disease growing in your unit. Don't forget to change the filter periodically.
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Why does the Air Conditioner hum but not blow any cool air out? If the unit is humming it may be that the fan motor or the compressor is seized, although a seized compressor will usually click or buzz. You will need to replace the faulty part.
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Why isn't there any cold air even though the fan is running? Check the thermostat settings. Listen for compressor noise. Your fan can still work even if the compressor won’t start. Make sure the coils are clean and dust-free. If everything seems ok, perhaps the refrigerant level is low. As it is a sealed system, you can void the warranty by attempting repairs on it. You ought to call a professional appliance repair person.
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Why isn't the whole room cool, even though the Air Conditioner is blowing cool air? Check the condenser coils and air filter to see if they’re dirty. A buildup of dirt or lint will cause the air conditioner to not cool properly.

It is possible that the unit is not of a large enough capacity to cool down the size room that it is in. Did you just turn the A/C unit on it the room? If the room was very warm before turning the unit on, there is latent heat in the walls, floor, furniture, and ceiling. It may take some time to cool everything down.

Check to see if the air damper is open or closed. An open air damper lets outside air in. Make sure that the directional outlet from the unit is pointing up. Warm air rises, and cold air sinks.

Check the cool air temperature. Cool air should be 15 degrees cooler than the incoming air temperature. If not, your unit is not working properly.

Sometimes you can develop a leak in the refrigerant system. If you think this is the problem, call a professional appliance repair person.
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Why is the Air Conditioner leaking water? Condensation of water on the evaporator coils in the front of an air conditioner is normal. This water collects in a pan where it is evaporated. On a really humid day, you may notice some is dripping off the unit. A properly installed unit will be tipped slightly back to allow any excess water to drip out the back.
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How often should I clean the air filter? It is recommended that you clean the air filter on your air conditioner at least twice a month during cooling season. We sell replacement air filters if yours is torn or beyond cleaning.
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Why does my Air Conditioner fan squeak so loudly? Sometimes a fan can lose or use the oil for lubricating its bearings. Many, but not all fans, have an oil plug to top off the oil periodically. You can remove the plug and put a few drops of SAE 20 weight oil, or equivalent lubricating oil in the plug hole. You can check your owner's manual for specifics for your model.
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Maintenance Tips for Air Conditioners

Household appliances have average lifetime expectancies. Maintaining your appliances properly can extend their lifetime indefinitely.

If you have to do any kind of repair or maintenance on this unit, make sure to unplug it from the power supply.

Use a properly grounded outlet.

Have the heating and cooling systems serviced annually.

Clean and replace any filters as recommended by the manufacturer. Clean or replace the filter on your air conditioner unit twice a month during cooling season.

Keep your appliance clean and dust-free.

Never run your appliances off of an extension cord. Some appliances require a lot of power. Trying to run yours off an extension cord can cause overheating or fire.

Compressors require a lot of energy to run. Running your air conditioner with too little power can seriously damage your compressor.

Store your air conditioner in a clean, dry place when you’re not using it. It’s better to use your basement than your garage for storage.

If you turn the air conditioner off while the compressor is running, do not turn your air conditioner on right away. Wait at least ten minutes before restarting the unit. It is important to let the pressure in the compressor equalize in the unit before restarting it.

Clean the coils once a season or more. Remove the cover and use a soft brush, vacuum, or compressed air to clean them. If you can let the unit sit for a few days to dry, you may want to consider hosing it down. However, it is imperative to let the unit dry completely before plugging it back in. Sometimes a thorough cleaning can get a unit that was running warm to run cool again. The coils need to be clean for proper heat transfer.

Check the coils for frost or ice build-up, especially if the outside temperature falls below about 60 F.

At the end of cooling season, make sure you clean the filter and coils, and disconnect the power, even if you leave the unit in the window. You may also want to purchase an air conditioner cover for the unit. We carry several covers and they fit different size units
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