Last July, the central cooling system in my home abruptly quit.
There were no warning signs.
It simply shut down and refused to start back up. At first, I suspected a power outage. When I realized that we still had lights, I checked the batteries in the thermostat. I then replaced the air filter and tried the reset button on the control panel. Absolutely nothing worked. Since the outside temperature was 88 degrees, with high humidity, my family was unwilling to go without air conditioning all weekend. I ended up paying extra for after-hours service from a local HVAC contractor. The technician started by taking the air conditioner apart and inspecting the inner workings. He showed me the alarming build up debris within the system. The fan blades were thickly coated in dust. There was a significant amount of mold and mildew growth on the equipment and algae thriving in the condensate drain. The HVAC technician explained that the accumulation was blocking airflow through the system. It was also causing friction for the moving parts and forcing the air conditioner to work much harder and consume more energy. Eventually the cooling coil froze up. He said that the contaminants within the air conditioner were most likely getting spread throughout the home whenever it ran. My family was breathing in harmful spores, dust and bacteria. A dirty air conditioner is a health risk as well as a drain on the budget. The technician performed a thorough cleaning, tightened electrical connections and lubricated the moving mechanisms. When he was finished, the air conditioner started right up and ran perfectly.