No one wants to have a malfunctioning air conditioner (AC) in their house. Apart from the inevitable clammy and hot atmosphere, you may also have to deal with increased utility charges and high repair bill for the AC. Knowing why your AC might break down is the first step to preventing the breakdowns. Below are some of the typical causes of AC malfunctions.


A dirty AC is an AC headed for failure. Dirt accumulation affects almost every part of the AC. However, the following parts are some of the most vulnerable:

The Air Filter

Debris can block the openings of the air filter, thereby reducing the airflow. Restricted airflow forces the AC to overwork in a bid to keep your home cool. The more the AC is overworked, the more it is likely to fail. For example, an overworked AC motor is likely to overheat and fail.

The Coils

Both the condenser and evaporator coils can be affected by debris accumulation. If the coils are too dirty, they block heat transfer between the coil and the air. This reduces the effectiveness of the AC, which pushes the AC into longer operations and increases the risk of AC failure.

The Fan Motor

The AC fan motor drives the fan that moves the air to facilitate your AC's main job of cooling your house. Too much dirt on the motor interferes with lubrication and increases the rate of wear and tear. Dirt on the fan motor also interferes with its cooling, which can cause the motor to overheat and damage.

Weather Accidents

A typical AC can withstand moderate onslaughts from the weather. However, extreme weather events can damage the outside unit of the AC. For example, debris (such as mud) in floodwater can clog the condenser fins, windblown debris can damage the condenser fins, and wind can dislodge the condenser unit from its usual base. Damaged condenser fins mean poor cooling, since it is the fins that release heat from the refrigerant into the atmosphere.  

Electrical Malfunctions

Electrical failure or malfunction can affect various parts of the AC, such as the fan motor, fan, thermostat, and the mainboard. Common causes of electrical problems include cable disconnections, breaker trips, blackouts, and power surge, among others. For example, if the thermostat wires are loose, the thermostat might not read the right room temperature, and the AC might fail to provide the required cooling.

Hopefully, your AC is well-maintained and is not about to break down any time soon. Consult an air conditioning repair technician if the AC does break down; the sooner you fix the malfunction, the sooner you will be back to a comfortable house.