Your evaporator and condenser units may be the stars of the show, but they aren't the only components that matter in your home's air conditioning system. Your line set forms the plumbing that allows these disparate parts to work together. Issues with your line set can cause various problems, ultimately reducing your system's efficiency, damaging other components, or stopping your AC entirely.
Understanding Your Line Set Components
Your line set's critical components are two copper tubes that carry refrigerant to and from the condenser. The insulated line, usually referred to as the suction line, moves warm refrigerant back outside. On the other side of the system, the discharge line carries cold liquid refrigerant into the evaporator unit.
In addition to the plumbing, your line set also includes various fittings, driers, and a sight tube to allow a technician to inspect the refrigerant condition. These components should usually last the life of the system, but they are not immune to failures.
Recognizing the Signs of Trouble
Your AC system cannot function if the refrigerant cycle is interrupted, and your line set carries the refrigerant that makes this cycle possible. The two most common problems you are likely to experience with an AC line set are leaks and restrictions. Both situations impact the system's pressure levels, which can cause your AC to behave erratically, inefficiently, or not at all.
Pay special attention to AC air that seems warmer or more humid than usual. Short cycling – a condition where your AC runs only for brief periods – may also be a symptom of low refrigerant levels or pressure issues. Inadequate refrigerant pressure can stress your compressor, so it's essential to investigate these problems as soon as possible.
Repairing Faulty Line Sets
Your AC line set is just a type of plumbing, so a trained technician should be able to locate and resolve most problems. The line set metal may wear down over time, leading to minor leaks. A technician can usually fix these leaks once they've evacuated refrigerant from the system. Never attempt to repair these problems on your own since improperly recharging your system can damage critical components.
Other issues may develop at the filter-driers in the liquid line. Although these components typically do not require maintenance, they may become clogged. Once the refrigerant flow becomes restricted, your air conditioning system may develop various problems, including freezing at the evaporator. If this occurs, you'll notice your AC shutting off too soon and often producing humid air.
While it's tough to tell the difference between an issue with the line set and other problems, AC repair technicians can diagnose a leak or clog for you. Repairing these issues sooner rather than later will protect the other components in your system from increased wear and help you avoid premature (and costly) failures.