Air conditioners are a part and parcel of our everyday lives. However, very few of us are aware of how these machines genuinely function, and even fewer of us know what a condenser is and how to know whether or not it’s defective. So, what’s an A/C condenser? Is it normal for it to blow cold air?
When the AC blows cold air, the condenser emits warm air, and when the A/C blows warm air, the condenser blows cold air. If your condenser is blowing cold air, it is not a matter of concern. However, if your A/C is blowing cold air and you can sense cold air from your condenser, it could be due to a leak.
It is normal not to understand the cogs and mechanics that make the machines we use work. So, I’ll address some of the most commonly asked questions regarding condensers, and hope it will answer any queries and clear any confusions you may have.
Should A/C Condensers Blow Cold Air?
The general function of condensers is to condense the coolant from the compressor. If your A/C is in heat mode, it is natural for your condenser to blow cold air. What’s happening here is that the condenser is taking cold air from your room and imputing hot air. The cold air is then transferred outside, resulting in cold air being blown from your condenser. To put it simply, it is certainly possible for A/C condensers to blow cold air. However, there is also a chance that your A/C is defective. However, old air emitting from your condenser is not enough to conclude whether your air conditioner is faulty or not as there are multiple reasons why your condenser could be blowing cold air. I’ll be discussing some of them below.
Reasons Why Your A/C Condenser Could Be Blowing Cold Air
Here are some of the more common reasons why your A/C condenser could be blowing cold air:
Leakage: If your compressor is still running, it may have leaked the coolant, which could result in cold air coming out from your condenser.
Weak Joint Connections: Your joints and pipes might not be connected tightly enough, thus resulting in a leakage of gas, which could be the cause.
Weak/Burnt Capacitor: Your main capacitor might have gotten weak or been burnt, causing the compressor to stop working, resulting in irregulated temperatures.
Voltage Fluctuations: Fluctuations in voltage may result in compressor malfunction, which could lead to cold air coming out of your condenser.
Heat Mode: Lastly, the most common reason for condensers blowing cold air is having your A/C in heat mode, which takes away cold air from your room and emits it outside.
These are some of the reasons which may lead to the aforementioned situation. None of these are all that concerning, in my opinion, and you can fix these issues at home with very little guidance.
Why Your A/C Condenser Blows Cold Air When the Heat Is On
If your A/C condenser blows cold air outside while the heat is on, you have nothing to worry about. It just means that your A/C has an in-built heat pump system. A heat pump is designed to take away heat from one side and push it out from the other.
Now, usually, when you run your A/C on cool temperatures, you’ll notice that the condenser emits warm air. This is just your A/C taking away heat from your room and releasing it outside in the form of warm air. In the case of heat pumps, this process is just reversed. The A/C takes away heat from the air outside and channels it to your room, resulting in cold air coming out of the condenser. This whole process is a very common phenomenon. Your A/C is meant to function this way, and there is no need for you to be concerned if you see this happening for the first time.
Most minor problems with your A/C condensers are easy to fix. Let us look at some of them.
How to Fix Your A/C Condenser If It Blows Cold Air
There could be several reasons why your condenser could be blowing cold air. Below are some remedies to some of the most common and easy to solve problems that may result in your A/C condenser blowing cold air.
Dusty Air Conditioner
This problem could arise when there is dust inside your air conditioner. Try opening up your unit and cleaning the insides and filters. The majority of the problems in air conditioners can be traced back to dust build-up. Thus, it is essential to make sure your A/C is always clean. This will result in far fewer problems and far less need for professional help. A/C mechanics absolutely love dirty air conditioners as they are a cash cow for them.
Look for leaks and loose bolts in and around your air conditioner. There is a good chance that the refrigerant inside may have leaked from the compressor and is coming out of your A/C in the form of cold air. The pipe connecting your compressor to the condenser must always be cold to the touch and sweating. If not, then there may be a lack of refrigerant or a leak in the pipes. This is easily fixable, considering not too much refrigerant has leaked. In case of an excessive leak, you need to contact a professional for help since refrigerants are not accessible to the public.
If the capacitor is spoiled, you need to contact professionals to look into the issue. To spot a soiled capacitor, simply look at the top. If it is bubbled up, your capacitor has most likely gone bad and requires repairs or a replacement. If you do not know what to do, it’s best to consult professionals and get your air conditioner fixed.
You Have a Heat Pump
If your unit is not an air conditioner but a heat pump and is blowing cold air outside, even when you don’t have the heat on, it could be because your reversing valve is not working. A reversing valve controls and switches the direction of the refrigerant, helping your A/C switch between heating and cooling modes. It is another piece one cannot fix by themselves, and it is essential to call a professional if such a problem arises.
What Are Other Signs of a Bad A/C Condenser?
Cold air blowing from your condenser is not the only way one can tell whether something is wrong with their condenser or not. There are some common signs that show your condenser has gone bad. Knowing them will help you understand when your condenser goes bad. Some of the ways to tell your condenser is not functioning including the following.
Burning smell: If you can smell a burning scent coming from your air conditioner, turn it off immediately and get it checked by a professional. There are high chances that your condenser has gone bad.
Abnormal noises: If you can hear loud and irregular noises from your A/C, it could be because of a defect in your condenser as well.
A large number of coolant leaks: If you observe too much dripping of cold liquids or a large amount of cold air leak, it could be a defect in your condenser as the coolant usually travels between your compressor and condenser.
Lower cooling capacity: Problems relating to condensers will typically result in a reduced capacity of the A/C to both cool and heat any partial room. The air coming out of it will be lukewarm at best. Therefore, if your A/C is under-performing temperature-wise, it is most likely because you have a defective condenser.
If you spot any of the signs mentioned above, you most likely have a defective condenser. If you have little to no mechanical skills or have never worked on air conditioners before, you should leave it to the professionals to look into the issue for you. Air conditioners are expensive, and it is not worth it for you to try and fix it on your own to save a few bucks. Besides, serious accidents may occur if you do not know what you are doing.
Therefore, unless the issues are minor, like the ones mentioned above, it is best not to tinker too much with your A/C condenser or air conditioner any more than you can safely handle.