The Overheating Window Or Central Air Conditioning Unit – How Much Heat is Too Much?

Is your Central Air Conditioner Condenser or Window Air Conditioner overheating? Maybe they are and there is a problem or maybe not. The First thing to remember is that the main purpose of the air conditioning unit is to remove heat from the space they are cooling. This means that heat will be coming from the discharge of the unit. How much is normal and how do you tell what is normal?

Heat is a normal by-product of cooling. The process of cooling any space will require that the refrigerant is cooled and the excess heat discharged to the outdoors. In the case of central air conditioning this is done through the condenser fan and is usually discharged straight up. If the condenser coil is hot and the fan is not running then there is a good chance that the fan motor has gone bad. Check for power to the wires going to the motor. If there is power going to the motor (110V) then the motor probably needs to be replaced. The most common problem with the condenser fan motors is the failure of the bearings in the motor. This will cause the fan to turn hard and then it will not run.

If the condenser fan motor is running and there seems to be very little air coming out of the fan, then the coil may be plugged with dirt. I have written an article on cleaning the condenser coil for information on how to fix that problem. A dirty condenser coil will kill the efficiency of the unit and also make the compressor work much harder which will kill that more quickly also.

On window air conditioners the coil can also over heat. If the fan fails on them you will not have any discharge air on the inside either. This is because the same motor through a double shaft runs both the inside fan and the condenser fan. Most of the time the problem with overheating on window air conditioners, is because of a dirty outside coil.

This outside coil can be cleaned, but the air conditioner should be removed from the window to do it. You also have to be careful when you clean window units so you do not get anything wet that will fail because of water. If you can pull the unit out of the outside chassis, do that before trying to clean it. Make sure that it is totally dry before reinstalling it and applying power to the unit.

As you can see the most common cause of overheating with any air conditioning unit is a lack of maintenance to the unit. Always make sure to keep you air conditioning unit cleaned thoroughly for the best performance. Make regular cleanings a practice that you do faithfully every year. In very dirty places you may have to clean the unit more often than that. Lastly remember that heat will be given off of the unit when it is running. Do not confuse that heat with a problem heat. When an air conditioner is running it will seem to be very hot in some places. This discharge of heat is normal operation of the unit.