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Do You Have a Strange, Surprising Air Conditioner Problem?


When you work on air conditioners every day, like we do, you see a lot of the same issues over and over. Problems with airflow cause overheating in the blower fan motor. Refrigerant leaks make ice develop on the evaporator coils and force the compressor to start short cycling. None of this is surprising to us at all, even if it’s the first time a homeowner has experienced it.

But there are also air conditioner problems that don’t occur very often. Still, we’re prepared to handle them, because it’s what we do. Even the oddest AC issue is something we’re ready to tackle. How strange and surprising can an air conditioner problem get? Here are some weird ones. If they happen to you, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can help!

Overheating Outdoor Unit

The outdoor unit, where heat is released, needs to be kept clean and free of debris like lawn clippings or leaf litter. If it’s covered in dirt, or overgrown plants are crowding it, the heat won’t dissipate properly. That’s all perfectly common. 

Here’s the strange bit: sometimes, what’s causing the outdoor unit to overheat isn’t dirt, dead plants, or overgrown shrubs. Sometimes, it’s a beehive or a wasp nest. Sometimes, it’s debris piled up for rodents to live in. On rare occasions, it can even be snakes, who love the heat that radiates off the condenser coils! If you have an outdoor unit pest problem, you need qualified AC repair.

Sinking Slab

There’s almost always a concrete slab underneath the outdoor unit. This serves a variety of purposes. It holds the unit level, keeps it out of the mud, and absorbs some of the vibration the unit creates. But sometimes a weird problem can occur: the slab begins to sink into the ground!

If it sinks more to one side than another, oil can leak out, and the lack of oil will damage the compressor. Even if it sinks evenly, the refrigerant coils and electrical lines can be damaged or disconnected as the sinking pulls them apart. The slab needs to be shored up or possibly replaced. This is a job for an HVAC professional.

Peeling Air Handler

Moisture in the air handlers of a ductless AC system can be a serious problem. Each handler has its own condensate pan and drainage line to address that concern. But if the drain gets blocked, moisture can leak out into the wall. This can cause the air handler itself to peel away from the wall where it is attached! 

Any sign of moisture around an air handler means you need AC repair. Don’t let this happen to your air conditioner. Routine maintenance, every single year, can keep your condensate pan and drain—whether in a ducted or ductless system—in tip-top shape.

Pet-Related Corrosion

Did you know that in some major cities in California and Japan, metal light poles have collapsed due to corrosion because they were too popular with local dogs? That’s right, dog urine can cause severe rusting of metal. If your dog has access to your outdoor unit, chances are, it’s getting “marked” as part of your dog’s territory.

Don’t let your dog destroy your air conditioner! If necessary, put up a fence—open construction, to allow plenty of airflow—at least three feet from the unit on all sides. If you’ve already got corrosion to the outdoor unit, consult a professional about whether you need AC service in Birmingham, AL.

“Your experience is what matters most!” Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating today for help with all your heat pump needs.

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