Maintainability of the air conditioner: what can be repaired and when it is worth changing

Just imagine summer, heat, and the air conditioner suddenly have gone out of order – it’s hard to imagine greater discomfort. But, unfortunately, this happens, and then the consumer has a question: what to do – repair the old air conditioner or buy a new one? In this article, we will tell you when you should buy a new air conditioner and in which situations it’s possible to contact the specialists of HVAC systems maintenance services in Sacramento to fix problems.

Why does an air conditioner fail?

Air conditioning is a reliable system designed for long-term operation, but subject to high-quality installation, proper operation, and timely maintenance of the system.

Most often, breakdowns occur due to:

  • careless installation of equipment;
  • non-compliance with operating standards;
  • work at high capacities;
  • power problems;
  • lack of maintenance.

The air conditioner must be cleaned regularly, if necessary, change filters, check the correct operation of automation, test for leaks, refuel with freon, and lubricate individual components. If this is not done, the device will wear out and its service life will be significantly reduced.

The frequency of maintenance depends on the operating conditions of the air conditioner. But seasonal inspection is considered optimal: before the start of active use (in the spring) and after its completion (with the onset of cold weather).

To repair or to change – that is the question

It all depends on the cost of the air conditioner and the type of breakdown. If you use a budget model in most cases it is unprofitable to repair a serious breakdown: buying a new system will cost about the same amount. Repair is appropriate only if it is a warranty case.

If the air conditioner is expensive, a repair option should be considered, even if the breakdown is serious.

What breakdowns are not amenable to fix? There is a list:

  1. Compressor

There are not many components in an air conditioner that can fail. One of them is a compressor. Its replacement in household air conditioners is almost always unprofitable, as it costs 70–80% of the cost of the device.

The fact is that compressor repair is a very laborious, complex, and painstaking process that requires high qualifications and great skill. Compressors in air conditioners of any type are always non-removable, so all manipulations are carried out in a service center. It will be necessary to completely dismantle the outdoor unit, cut out the compressor along with copper pipes, install new ones, evacuate the system, and then re-solder the pipes to the repaired compressor. Soldering must always be carried out in an inert protective gas environment. Upon completion of the repair, the unit is mounted in place.

  1. Broken heat-exchange unit

The heat exchanger of both the outdoor and indoor unit of the air conditioner can fail. For example, by negligence, a hole is punched. In expensive industrial and semi-industrial air conditioners, the heat exchanger is removed, soldered, and repaired. Cheap ones are easier to throw away.

The heat exchanger is a large part. To extract it, at least depressurization of the circuits is required, as a maximum, disassembly of the entire air conditioner to zero. The master must be highly qualified and have special equipment. Due to the complexity of the work, their cost is often close to the price of a new air conditioner. Therefore, such repairs are also considered unprofitable.

Common faults that can be repaired:

  1. Failures of a fan

A fan malfunction can be reported by an error code on the indicator panel of the air conditioner or by turning on the device for a few seconds, and then spontaneously turning off.

The failure may be due to a malfunction of the fan blade, motor, or fan capacitor. In each case, there is only one solution – to replace the failed part. Usually repairs last no more than an hour and are inexpensive.

  1. Control board

Boards most often fail due to poor-quality power supply: power surges, out of acceptable ranges, emergency power outages.

The control board can be repaired or replaced. If we are talking about factory air conditioners of serious brands, boards for them are produced as spare parts and are on sale. For cheap air conditioners, spare parts are usually not supplied – repairs are impossible unless you can find a similar board from those available on the market. But no one can guarantee that it will last a long time. Another option is the selection of a “donor”. The master is looking for the same air conditioner, but out of order, and takes the control board from it.

Air conditioner diagnostics

To prevent serious breakdowns of climate equipment, it is recommended to carry out preventive diagnostics in time. This will help at the initial stage to identify problems, and malfunctions. It is carried out independently and with the call of specialists.

Independently carried out a surface inspection of the external, and internal blocks for mechanical damage, it’s required to clean the air filter, inspect copper pipes, and thermal insulation of the external unit, monitor the noise level during operation, and the quality of cooling/heating air.

Professional diagnostics of air conditioners by a service engineer includes checking:

  • split system blocks, electrical, and hydraulic elements for the presence/absence of external damage;
  • fixing mechanisms of the device;
  • the quality of the connections of the freon line, the contact connections of the electrical system;
  • device testing (in the absence of customer complaints about a malfunction);
  • air filters;
  • humidity level at the inlet/outlet of the device;
  • serviceability of equipment indicators;
  • tightness of the pipeline with refrigerant;
  • supply voltage;
  • tightness of the drainage system;
  • pressure indicators.

If problems are identified, specialists repair air conditioners.


Climate equipment is designed to create a favorable, comfortable microenvironment for humans. But it happens that it fails, causing a lot of inconveniences. Repairing residential air conditioners can be an expensive undertaking that can be easily prevented by timely device diagnostics. Preventive diagnostics carried out by a good company is an integral part of the complex of actions included in the repair and maintenance of residential air conditioners. Alpha Mechanical provides installation and repair services for individuals and legal entities.

Huynh Nguyen

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