Summer temperatures mean you're more reliant on your air conditioner working perfectly. A faulty temperature sensor can make your unit work erratically or not at all. This small, simple component can make it seem like your air conditioner has a major problem. Here is more information about what your home air conditioner's temperature sensor does and signs that yours is failing.
What Does the Temperature Sensor Do?
The sensor reads the air temperature and makes adjustments based on your thermostat settings. Once the sensor reads that it has reached the pre-programmed temperature, it shuts the unit off. Likewise, the unit will turn on when the air temperature begins to get warm again.
Where Is the Temperature Sensor Located?
In traditional units, the temperature sensors are usually found inside the unit near the evaporator coils. As air is drawn in over the coils, the sensor reads the room temperature. The sensor is connected to the thermostat through a wire. The sensor itself is simple and consists of a probe with wire connections.
Modern whole-home systems may have other temperature sensors located inside the room or the actual thermostat. In some cases, these sensors can make their own adjustments to the thermostat to help even out the temperature in your home.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Temperature Sensor?
When your sensor starts to go bad, your room or home will feel too cold or too warm. The sensor may not be able to read the thermostat and the unit will keep running. You could also have the opposite problem and the unit won't run at all, resulting in little to no cooling. The air conditioner may constantly cycle, or turn on and off frequently. This can cause strain on an otherwise well-running unit.
What Causes Temperature Sensor Failure?
Sensors age and break down like any other type of electrical component. However, the sensor can act up if it's been bent or knocked around. It may be touching the coil and misreading the temperature. The sensor's connections can also become loose, and this can cut off its connection to the thermostat. In some cases, you can reconnect or straighten out your sensor and it will continue to work for a little while longer.
A broken or misaligned temperature sensor is usually an easy fix. However, have your unit checked out by an air conditioner repair service technician to rule out more serious issues. Also, have your unit checked out before you begin using it for each season. That way, problems can be fixed early and you can keep your home temperature controlled during hot weather.