Common Issues with Your Evaporative Air Conditioner

You get home from a hard summer day’s work, ready to sit back and relax on a nice, cool airconditioned couch. Grab the controller, turn it on full blast and…. nothing. You turn on fan mode and it’s just blowing hot air all over you. You go outside and notice water gushing out of the outflow pipe. Great!

While airconditioners are absolutely essential during the scorching Perth summer, they can be the most frustrating thing on Earth when they don’t work as they should. In this article, we’ll go over a few of the main issues that tend to arise with your evaporative air conditioner and what the likely cause is.

#1 The Unit Is Blowing Hot Air

Most scenarios involving a stream of hot air coming from your evaporative air conditioner, arise from a water related issue. There are several likely culprits:

  • Lack of water flowing up through the water pipe
  • A faulty solenoid, not letting water into the unit
  • A faulty water valve
  • A faulty pump

The first is an issue that may be as simply fixed as turning on the water to the unit (sometimes it’s turned off and forgotten about). The other issues will require parts to be replaced, though generally speaking, they’re not an overly complicated or expensive problem.

evaporative air conditioner pump
An evaporative unit that's filled with sediment will often have parts, such as the pump, break down sooner than they should.
#2 The Unit is Leaking Water Onto the Roof

There will likely be 4 main culprits for this:

  • A loose fitting from the water pipe to your unit or solenoid
  • A broken/damaged water pipe that’s leaking water
  • Unit overflowing, likely due to a faulty float valve
  • Damaged or disintegrated pads that are not containing the water within the unit.
#3 Funny Smell Coming From the Unit

This is an all too common issue and one that almost always results from lack of regular servicing. Your evaporative air conditioner accumulates a range of sediment, coming in from outside the unit (e.g dust), from minerals left behind by water and from breakdown of pads that drop bits through the bottom of your sump.

Evaporative units are also notorious for mold buildup, particularly on the top of the unit and through the pads. This is generally going to be the main factor behind terrible smells. A thorough cleanout such as we provide in our comprehensive service will generally take care of the issue. Try and get one done at least once a year, maybe every 2 at the minimum.

#4 Fan not working

Assuming your unit is filling up with water, then the issue will either be related to the motor or to the capacitor.

If it’s a motor issue, you’ll often hear a loud grind or hum in the preceding weeks and the motor will just go one day. If it’s a capacitor, a sure way to test is to spin the fan and see if it starts running. If it does, that’s certainly a capacitor issue and it’s an inexpensive and simple fix. If not, then it might be a far more costly exercise, replacing your motor and often fan as well.

evaporative air conditioner motor
Motors, though very durable, will generally start to deteriorate after 12-15 years. When that happens, the fan will generally need to be replaced too.

If you are running into any of these problems, or have something else that’s causing your evaporative air conditioner to not function correctly, give us a call and we’ll come out and diagnose it.

Otherwise, be sure to service regularly so you avoid a 39 degree day breakdown!