The durability of your AC unit allows it to function in all weather conditions, but it is not indestructible. When the unit becomes unlevel during installation or from the ground settling after it is in place, it can cause many serious issues. Nearly all units have some leveling discrepancies because of settling or the natural slopes in the terrain beneath the equipment. A minor difference will not cause a problem. Generally, tilts of less than 10% should be okay, but excessive tilts can worsen and develop into expensive concerns.
Annual maintenance checks ensure the difference remains minor and allows the technician to correct the issue before it causes problems for the homeowner. Homeowners must address a severely tipped AC unit immediately to avoid experiencing the following concerns.
Increase in Noise
Increased noise during operation is the first and most obvious problem when an AC unit is not level. The equipment imbalance causes vibrations within the unit that are often noticeable even when inside the home. These sounds are usually louder in the rooms nearest the AC unit but may become loud enough to hear throughout the house. The increased noise level can become disruptive and interfere with sleep or conversations inside the home. The outdoor noise level will also increase when these vibrations occur and may become a problem for nearby neighbors.
Damage From Vibrations
Noise is not the only concern when vibration begins. Excessive movement of the unit can cause parts to loosen or operate incorrectly. Loose parts can rub against the unit exterior or other components and become damaged. The equipment will wear out faster when these events occur and cause the need for repairs and replacement sooner than expected.
The constant movement caused by vibration can also cause the system to sink further into the ground. An increase in the tilt can speed up how quickly damage occurs. If one side of the unit drops too much, it can even detach the system from the lines connecting it to the home.
Refrigerant leaks can begin when the parts become loose. These leaks can ruin the system and cause damage to the soil surrounding the AC if the spills remain undiscovered before absorbing into the ground. These severe issues can prevent people from having any interior climate control available as they wait for a technician to remove the broken unit, clean up the mess, and reinstall a new system.
Damage to the Compressor
When an AC unit is unlevel, it could prevent the oil in the compressor from circulating through the system. When the oil cannot move through the unit as required, it will not provide the necessary lubrication needed for the parts to operate smoothly and without damage-causing friction. The compressor is a vital component in the system because it allows the refrigerant to flow through the AC. The refrigerant helps remove heat from the system so the unit can produce cold air. Damage to the compressor will disable the system.
Other parts within the AC system may also experience problems due to a lack of lubrication. The damage can cause the need for constant repairs and part replacement. Even if the compressor maintains the ability to circulate adequately, an unlevel surface can allow too much fluid to remain in one section of the tubing in the AC unit. The fluid may eventually flood and destroy the compressor.
Water Damage Concerns
AC units experience condensation as they cool warmer air. The condensation becomes runoff that drips into a drain pain. The pan collects the water and funnels it to a drain line so it can exit the system. If your system is unlevel, the water may accumulate within the drain pan and not reach the drain line. The standing water in the pan can encourage mold growth in the unit. The mold could damage the equipment and eventually affect the interior air if the system spreads mold spores into the home.
Water overflowing from the drain pan or elsewhere in the system may not flow through the drain line, so it flows away from the home. The water may leak into or under the house. AC units that were level when installed but now have a severe tilt may experience this problem because of drainage issues. If the original installation did not include the correct placement of the drain line so it does not divert water away from the house, the soil around the system could experience erosion. As the water runoff erodes the soil, the system may become visibly tilted. Inspecting the system and the ground surrounding and beneath the AC unit can determine if this is the cause. Correcting the problem can prevent or reduce damage to landscaping and the AC unit.
Rust may also develop throughout the system as the accumulated water increases the humidity level inside the AC unit. Rusted coils will not work efficiently and cannot exhaust heat as needed. The trapped heat forces the AC unit to work harder to produce the same cooling effect. Rusted components become weaker and can break unexpectedly, causing the need for emergency service repairs.
Lack of Comfort
Homeowners rely on air conditioning to stay comfortable and improve the air quality in the home. A damaged AC unit may not keep the house as cool as desired. An increase in humidity can also reduce comfort.
Inadequate climate control can cause too much moisture to collect in the interior air. Excessive dampness can harm furnishings, wall coverings, and electronics. Homes with excessively humid air also have an increased risk of developing mold and mildew. When the air quality declines in a home, it can make the house less safe for people with respiratory issues like asthma and allergies.
Reduced Visual Appeal
How an AC system looks may seem like a minor concern compared to the damage the problem can cause, but appearances are important. Most homeowners spend a lot of time and effort on the curb appeal of their homes. An AC unit with a visible tilt can appear to be poorly installed and cause the house to look unmaintained.
All homeowners can find this concerning, but it is an issue that should worry those who plan to list their homes for sale even more. A potential homebuyer may choose not to make an offer on a home they feel has not received proper maintenance, or it may lower the maximum amount they feel comfortable offering for the home.
If you have noticed your cooling system struggling to keep your home at a comfortable temperature or think your AC unit may not be level, we can help. In addition to inspections for this concern, we also offer repairs, installations, and annual maintenance services for HVAC systems. We provide ductwork installation, repair, and cleaning and perform interior air quality checks. It is important to avoid unnecessary service calls and repair bills by correcting problems early on. Ignoring a tilted AC can lead to serious problems. Contact Titan Air Solutions in Fort Worth today to schedule an inspection of your unit.