A central air conditioner or window air conditioner has one primary goal and that is to cool down the room or home where it is located. If your condenser is overheating it may not be able to accomplish its cooling task.
In order to effectively cool, the condenser must produce heat. It can be considered a natural by product of the cooling process. The question is, how much heat is normal and how much is too much? Too much heat will wear out your air conditioner.The first step is to check and see if the condenser coil is hot. If the fan has stopped running, then the fan motor is bad. Next, make sure that there is power going to the motor. Another commons issue is the failure of bearings in the motor. If the bearings fail then the motor will have to work harder and it may eventually stop. So, check the power first and then the bearings if the fan has stopped.
If the condenser fan appears to be running properly then the issue may be with air ventilation. If hot air can't escape due to dirt and dust it will cause the condenser to heat up. Clean out all of the dust and debris to allow the air conditioner to run smoother.
The condenser coil can also overheat on window air conditioners. On window units there won't be any discharge of air either inside or out if the fan fails. Often times overheating on these units will occur because of a dirty outer coil.
Remove the air conditioner from the window in order to clean the outside coil. Be careful not to get anything wet that shouldn't be while cleaning. Replace it in the window when it is completely dry before turning on the power.
Although parts do go bad over time, most air conditioners overheat because of poor upkeep. Keeping the unit clean will help it operate at peak efficiency when you need it most. Add cleaning the air conditioner to your spring cleaning checklist in order to insure that it will operate properly all summer long.