If your air conditioner stops blowing cool air, your first thought may be that it has given up the ghost and needs to be replaced. You might be right, but there is another possibility to consider. Sometimes, when an AC unit stops blowing cool air, it is just because the contactor has broken. This is a minor problem and one that an HVAC contractor can easily address. Here's what you need to know about this common problem and the needed repairs.
What is a contactor?
A contactor is basically part of your air conditioner's electric system. It is a small part that receives the electrical signal from the thermostat and tells your unit to turn on in response to that signal.
What happens if the contactor breaks?
If the contactor breaks, your air conditioner won't receive the message to "cool" from your thermostat. Depending on how your system is set up, your central fan may still turn on and blow air. However, that air will not be cold.
Sometimes, the AC failing will be the first sign that your contactor is broken. Other times, you may notice some chattering as the system turns on. Or, you may notice that the air conditioner runs for a while before getting cold.
How does an AC contractor address a broken contactor?
Your AC contractor should be able to tell, fairly quickly, whether a broken contactor is to blame for your cooling troubles. They'll do so by measuring the electrical current flowing through the system.
If your AC contractor does find that your contactor is broken, they will recommend replacing this part. A contactor does not cost that much, and an HVAC contractor can install it within a couple of hours.
Since this is an inexpensive and easy repair to make, it is usually worth making. If your AC unit is newer, the repair will likely be covered under warranty.
How can you prevent your contactor from breaking again?
To prevent your AC unit from developing this issue again, make sure you have it maintained regularly. At a maintenance appointment, an HVAC contractor will lubricate moving parts, tighten loose screws, and clean everything. This will help prevent the contactor from overheating and failing again.
When your AC unit starts blowing warm air, there is a good chance your contactor is to blame. For more information about air conditioning repair, contact a company in your area.