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The 4 Most Common HVAC Emergencies & Their Causes

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Last Updated on: January 9, 2024

Here we explain the four most common emergency calls we receive at SSI. Learn the main causes of these four emergencies here.

1. Clogged Condensate Line

Did you know that almost 90% of HVAC service calls are about A/C leaks? (Popular Mechanics) Leaks are generally small, but if not taken care of in time, they can cause huge amounts of water damage. The most common cause of A/C leaks is a clogged condensate line. The condensate line is what collects excess moisture and takes it outside so that it can’t damage the system. However, this line often gets clogged with dirt, algae, and rust. Then excess water can’t leave the system properly, often resulting in leaks, dampness (beware of mold!) and sometimes even pools of water. Make regular check-ups on the pipe to ensure that it is clean. This is one of the best ways to keep your A/C system running efficiently and to keep you worry-free!

2. Frozen Outdoor Unit In Winter

It’s normal for there to be a little bit of white frost during snowy or freezing conditions, but it is not normal for the entire unit to be covered in ice for a long time. Whether inside or outside the unit, if ice is left long, it can seriously damage the machine. When there is an ice build-up, this normally means that your machines defrost cycle is not operating correctly. There are several other probable causes, like a bad fan motor or low refrigerant charge, so it is best to call a professional to solve the problem before any lasting damage occurs to your machine.

3. Frozen Coils In Summer

First off: Don’t use the HVAC while it’s frozen. This can cause serious damage. This happens when the refrigerant temperature is below freezing. It causes the air around it to condense and freeze. This can build up into large blocks if you’re not careful. There are several reasons for the refrigerant temperature to become so low. You may be running the A/C when it’s below 60 degrees outside, or you may be running the A/C too low. We recommend that you never set the A/C below 70. If neither of these issues are in play, it is likely that you have either a lack of airflow or a very low refrigerant charge. Make sure that your intake filter is clean. If it is clean and you still have this issue, call a professional immediately. Do not risk damaging your machine further.

4. Outdoor Unit Won’t Turn On

This is another common issue with many different causes. If your outdoor unit is not running, check if your shut-off box switch is turned on, that there are no blown fuses in your panel box, and that your thermostat is set correctly. If there are no problems here, there is a chance that you have faulty cables or burnt wires, or there is a problem with a safety device. There are many more causes for the outdoor unit not turning on, which is makes it difficult to self-diagnose. If you are not sure of the cause, please call a service professional.

These are some of the most common service calls we receive at Service Specialties. Remember that regular maintenance inspections can help your system run efficiently and also find small issues before they become expensive repairs. Also, remember that self-diagnosing your faulty HVAC unit is not a good idea if you do not have experience with HVAC machines. We do not want you to hurt yourself or the machine. It is always best to call a professional who can take care of the situation!

SSI is here to help in any HVAC or plumbing emergency. Call us at (703) 968-0606 or fill out our quick contact form here!

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