Contact/Relay -- Relays are electronically controlled switches that activate the various components of your HVAC system. They manage everything from the power going to the motor to automatic dampers, humidifiers, etc. Most of them are controlled by the thermostat. The most common failure for a relay is being stuck in the "open" position. Separated from its assigned contact point, it fails to complete the connection and send the message to whatever it was supposed to operate. This failure usually occurs from use over time. Each time a relay connects and sends its signal, the electrical arcing from point to point eventually causes wear and tear.
An air conditioner cools and dehumidifies the air as is passes over a cold coil surface. The indoor coil is an air-to-liquid heat exchanger with rows of tubes that pass the liquid through the coil. Finned surfaces connected to these tubes increase the overall surface area of the cold surface thereby increasing the heat transfer characteristics between the air passing over the coil and liquid passing through the coil. The type of liquid used depends on the system selected. Direct-expansion (DX) equipment uses refrigerant as the liquid medium. Chilled-water (CW) can also be used as a liquid medium. When the required temperature of a chilled water system is near the freezing point of water, freeze protection is added in the form of glycols or salts. Regardless of the liquid medium used, the liquid is delivered to the cooling coil at a cold temperature.
Air-source heat pumps are more popular in milder winter climates where the temperature is frequently in the range of 4–13 °C (40–55 °F), because heat pumps become inefficient in more extreme cold. This is because ice forms on the outdoor unit's heat exchanger coil, which blocks air flow over the coil. To compensate for this, the heat pump system must temporarily switch back into the regular air conditioning mode to switch the outdoor evaporator coil back to being the condenser coil, so that it can heat up and defrost. A heat pump system will therefore have a form of electric resistance heating in the indoor air path that is activated only in this mode in order to compensate for the temporary indoor air cooling, which would otherwise be uncomfortable in the winter.
Dichlorodifluoromethane (R-12) was the most common blend used in automobiles in the U.S. until 1994, when most designs changed to R-134A due to the ozone-depleting potential of R-12. R-11 and R-12 are no longer manufactured in the U.S. for this type of application, so the only source for air-conditioning repair purposes is the cleaned and purified gas recovered from other air conditioner systems. Several non-ozone-depleting refrigerants have been developed as alternatives, including R-410A. It was first commercially used by Carrier Corp. under the brand name Puron.