Smoking Hot: What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Is So Old It Has Hot Flashes

Old air conditioners that do not and have not received regular maintenance are way overdue for a breakdown. The biggest sign that your a/c is really old and needs more than just a/c repair is that it overheats and smokes curling gray puffs through the fan to the air outside. There are three reasons this is happening to your air conditioner and a couple of solutions.

The Compressor Is Completely Shot

Air compressors actually have a fairly long lifetime of about 10 to 15 years. However, if you somehow have managed to keep a central air unit running for twenty years or more, that is quite a feat. An air conditioner's compressor does not usually last that long. Once it begins to expel hot air that smells like something burning and sends out smoke signals, it cannot be repaired. The only solution is to replace the condense with the help of a professional, like Atlantic Heating and Cooling

There Is a Ton of Dirt in the Coils

The condenser has coils, which can be blocked up with dirt and debris from wind storms and tornadoes or hurricanes. The smoke you see is the result of the dirt heating up, dehumidifying, and finally burning. Unless an HVAC contractor removes all of this dirt from the insides of the coils, the coils and the condenser will fail. In fact, if your coils are just a little dirty, they can still reduce efficiency by up to 40%!

The Heating Element Is Displaced

The heating element in air conditioners is responsible for a chemical reaction that creates your cooled air. If and when your old air conditioner shakes its heating element loose or out of position, you will see a lot of smoke and possibly some flames as well. An example of this type of problem occurred in dozens of a/c units made by one famous manufacturer. Every last affected model for that year had to be recalled to protect consumers. Although an HVAC contractor could repair and/or replace the heating element, recalled a/c units must be replaced completely.

Cold Showers Do Not Help

When you see your antiquated a/c unit smoking or in flames, do not attempt to pour cold water on it. Not only will this not help the unit, but it puts you in danger of being electrocuted. Instead, call an HVAC contractor right away to fix the problem and/or swap the elderly air conditioner out for a younger model.