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An Introduction To AC Sensor Problems

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Your central air conditioner is a complex system of discrete components. Mechanical failure or efficiency loss in any one component can bring down the entire system. Faulty sensors are a lesser-known AC issue, but they can have a big impact on your home's comfort. Here's an introduction to AC sensor problems and repairs.

What Is an AC Sensor?

Most central air conditioners have a sensor near the evaporator coils. This sensor measures the temperature of the air from the return duct. Your AC relies on this sensor to determine when your home has reached the temperature dictated by the thermostat.

What Causes AC Sensor Problems?

The two biggest threats to your AC condenser are vibration and condensation. Your sensor is subjected to vibration constantly while your HVAC system is running. Over time, this can cause a loose connection in the sensor that prevents it from reading properly. Condensation in the air and on the evaporator coils may also cause the AC sensor to corrode.

What Are the Signs of a Faulty AC Sensor?

When your AC sensor is failing, you may begin to notice comfort problems in your home. A faulty sensor can cause your AC to run for longer cycles because it doesn't receive the signal to shut off at appropriate times. This may lead to higher energy bills and uncomfortably cool temperatures when you use your air conditioner.

In some instances of sensor defects, the air conditioner may cycle on and off erratically before the desired temperature is reached. This problem is sometimes referred to as short cycling. Short cycling wastes significant amounts of energy as your air conditioner starts and stops repeatedly. Worse yet, it's more difficult for your home to reach an even temperature in every room when your AC is short cycling.

How Do You Repair an AC Sensor?

Calling an HVAC contractor is always the best solution when it comes to a faulty sensor. That's not to say that sensor problems always require major repairs.

Sometimes, the air conditioner sensor is simply displaced and can be quickly repositioned by your technician. In other cases, the sensor must be replaced completely. A professional technician's training and experience are needed to determine the right fix for your sensor.

If your air conditioner is wasting energy, cycling frequently, and failing to keep your home comfortable, a faulty sensor may be to blame. Keep these tips in mind and call an HVAC professional for help with AC sensor problems. 

For more information about AC system repair, contact a local company.