Can Air Conditioners Overheat

As the hot season comes, the temperature is rising up. More and more people seek the comfort of an air conditioner within their own homes. When it’s hot outside, it takes more energy for the AC to keep the house cool. The question is, can your air conditioner take the heat and keep on its cooling job? Can air conditioners overheat? 

Yes, air conditioners can overheat. AC will work longer and harder to keep your living space cool, especially when it’s hot outside. Plus, the poor maintenance of the aircon units may pose fire hazards as well. It’s important to keep the AC in tip top condition before using them for prolonged periods of time to keep them from overheating.

What happens when an air conditioner overheats?


Overheating is never a desired condition that you would want your air conditioner to have. When an AC overheats, the aircon may run as short as a few minutes before tripping the circuit breaker. This will possibly happen in a repetitive manner until the issue with overheating is resolved. 

In some cases, overheating could lead to electrical problems. The old or damaged wiring and loose electrical connections also could lead to sparks that could set your AC to catch fire. 

The slowly degrading parts of the AC may accumulate large heat. The high temperatures put stress on AC units and turn them into fire hazards. 

Always have all of your aircon units to be regularly serviced by aircond professionals.

Why does my air conditioner overheat?

There are a few reasons why the air conditioner will overheat. 

1. Dirty fan blades


The fan constantly moves to circulate the air into the air conditioner. Dirt can build up over time. 

This build up of dust and grimes adds weight to the blades of the fan. As a result, your motor needs more energy to work and keep the fan spinning. 

As more dust builds up, it reaches the interior of the motor. This will cause more friction for your fan to spin. Eventually, this results in overheating of the motor.

2. Low refrigerant level

Refrigerant is the coolant in your air conditioner that cools down the air. An AC needs a sufficient level of it to be able to cool the air effectively. 

If the refrigerant level is low, the AC will run constantly until it reaches the temperature. If the level of coolant is way too low, it might not even reach the set temperature at all. 

This will basically cause your aircon to run non-stop and heading to overheat point. 

3. Aging system


It’s inevitable that the air conditioner will become more worn through the passage of time. If your AC is over 10 years of age, it is certain to have a lower level of performance. 

Air conditioner system that is too old will not be able to provide the cooling that you will need for your home. There are too many parts inside the AC unit that may be problematic. 

These damaged and worn parts will be more problematic when the weather is hot. More stress is put onto your air conditioning system. 

Hence, the AC under performs and can overheat easily.

4. Dirty or frozen condenser coils

The condenser coils need to be clean to be able to absorb heat efficiently and cool the house. Dirty or frozen coils hamper its ability to do that. 

Since the AC is unable to cool the home’s air temperature in a normal manner, it goes through repetitive cooling cycles. This lengthened cycle causes all the different AC parts prone to overheat.

5. Clogged air filter

Your air conditioner needs to vent the air out from the indoor unit. A clogged aircon filter makes it very difficult for your air handler to push the air out from where it is supposed to be. 

Just like having a blocked nose, your aircond work harder and longer to ventilate. More energy is consumed to keep the air flowing through the air conditioner. 

More stress is put on your AC. This leads to overheat and eventually unexpected system shut down.

How do I stop my air conditioner from overheating?

As hot weather prolongs, the same goes with the operating time of the air conditioner at your home. This is just inevitable when the hot season comes. 

Sun is blazing and you can almost cook an egg on your car hood. At one end you need the cooling, on the other you fear that your AC might overheat.

Don’t worry!

Here’s some great tips that will help you to stop your air conditioner from overheating:

1. Check the refrigerant level


Your aircon needs to be able to achieve the peak cooling performance. Having sufficient refrigerant helps your AC to do just that and reach the set temperature at a shorter pace.

Some common symptoms of low refrigerant include your room taking longer to cool than usual, the outdoor AC unit is covered in ice and your aircon vents are blowing warm air.

Going for aircon gas refills is not necessarily the best solution every time. Coolant is important at the right amount so it can operate efficiently. Low coolant level could very well indicate that there is a leak somewhere. 

In order to do refrigerant checking in your aircon, you should only engage with trained air conditioner experts. They will be able to inspect if there is any leak of your refrigerant and take proper measures to fix it before it becomes a problem.

Do not attempt to fix the refrigerant leak all by yourself.

2. Create microclimate for your home surrounding

If there is any window that is exposed to direct sunlight, the air conditioner will take a longer time to cool it. This extended working time of your AC will potentially wear it more as time goes. 

Planting trees around the garden to give your house some shade will create microclimate that reduces energy consumption. Having pools or water features too help to increase the cooling of the air around your house. 

When planting any bushes or shrubs, be sure to keep the condenser unit clear. All greens or grasses need to be clear at least 2 to 3 feet away from it. 

This is crucial to avoid any blockage to the air flow. Having greens too near to the AC also makes it vulnerable for insects and critters to explore your cooling unit. 

They’re not exactly the guests we would want. If any of these creatures makes its way into the system, it might be trapped and die inside. It’s ugly, we know. 

If you notice any rotten odor, it’s best to give it a check. Call your aircond service guy to inspect and clean the internal part of the aircon if necessary.

3. Clean the AC filter

Air conditioner constantly pumps the air through its filter. The filter will always certainly be dusty over time. There’s also other particles in the air such as allergens, pollen and pet hair that could accumulate at the filter as well. 

Be sure to take it out and give it some cleaning from time to time. It’s one simple cleaning chore that should be incorporated into your periodical cleaning list. 

A clean filter will allow your air conditioner to work at a normal pace to reach the desired temperature. On the other hand, a dirty filter will force your AC to work harder for a longer time to achieve the same level of cooling. 

At worst, it may even cause your aircon to overheat. Most aircon filters are washable. So, make sure to clean it every couple of months. 

4. Give your condenser coils some cleaning

The heat exchange constantly happens around the coils. This is the important part of the AC where hot air becomes cold. 

Having any dirt and mud coating the coils will reduce its efficiency drastically. The airflow might also get restricted, reducing the capacity of air going through your AC. 

The condenser of the outside unit also can be dirty with clogged twigs, grass cuttings, leaves and more. These debris can get in the way of ventilation of your AC unit and cause the system to overheat.

Depending on the model of your aircon, you may attempt to clean the coils yourself with some DIY solution. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar together. Fill it into a spray bottle.

The vinegar and water mix has natural disinfecting properties. This will help to disrupt the mold and bacteria growth on the coils. 

Spray onto your coils generously and let it sit for a few minutes. Spray the solution off with your water hose thoroughly. 

It is advised to consult with your aircond technician before trying to clean your condenser coils. They will be able to tell you how to approach it if that is a feasible option for your AC model. 

However, to save all that hassle, you can always reach out to your trusted aircond guy and let them do it instead. Their expertise and experience will guarantee a perfect job in the shortest time frame.

5. Schedule annual aircond service for all your cooling units


Get reliable aircond technicians to service your air conditioner once a year. It is a recommended practice for all that wants to keep their aircon functioning well. 

The aircond service will inspect every important part of it so that the technician can fix any discovered problems. This helps to prevent unexpected breakdowns in the future. 

By doing all of these, you are reducing the risk of your AC system from overheating a great deal. Improving its efficiency is important to keep it from breaking down and also gives you both better comfort and savings. 

Take care of your air conditioner and it will take care of you in return!

We hope this informative post answers your question on “can air conditioners overheat?”. Let us know in the comments if you know any extra tips that we didn’t mention here!

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