Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s cooling goes on the fritz, you deserve to get the problem resolved right away. Unfortunately, there may be hundreds of reasons why your AC unit isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is affecting you? There are a number of problems that are more widespread, and determining what they are is handy when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is discussing available choices for resolving the problem with air conditioning repair in North America. 

Here are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your air conditioning to break down. 

1. Thermostat Problems 

Your thermostat directs your cooling when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are inaccurate, your cooling might not work like it should. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, you’ll have to charge the batteries before you can use it. Try this quick checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly: 

  • Swap out batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models) 
  • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models) 
  • Confirm that it’s in cooling mode 
  • Ensure your desired temperature is below the current room temperature 

2. Dirty Air Filter 

Old or inefficient air filters are infamous for turning a perfectly functional and effective air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In fact, dirty filters can cause lots of problems, including weaker airflow, poorer indoor air quality and excessive power consumption. They can also make the air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil freezes up. 

You can easily avoid AC problems by consistently cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know when you should change your filters? If you can’t think back to the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a basic recommendation, make sure you try to replace flat filters once a month and pleated filters every three months. 

3. Frozen Condenser Coils 

Your air conditioner’s coils are crucial components because they discharge heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the middle of the summer, ice can develop on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as precisely, and in severe cases enough ice can stop the AC from running at all. 

Freezing can be connected to several issues, such as: 

  • Dirty coils caused by ignoring annual maintenance 
  • Dirty air filters, which reduce airflow 
  • Clogged drain line, which can trigger moisture buildup 
  • Refrigerant leaks, which reduce cooling power 

If your air conditioner has frozen, shut it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This will sometimes take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This blows warm air over the coils without starting a refrigeration cycle. 

It’s smart to examine your air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, replace it. The other challenges, like dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, are best handled with the support of a trained technician. 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

Your air conditioner employs refrigerant to relocate heat. When it doesn’t have adequate refrigerant, you could notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a couple signs you’re facing a leak: 

  • Insufficient cold air 
  • Home is humid 
  • Excessively long cooling cycles 
  • Ice forming on the evaporator coils 
  • Dripping or hissing air conditioner sounds 
  • Sweet smell close to the air conditioner 

If your cooling was installed earlier than 2011, it likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being produced due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled quantities are accessible, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to fix. 

If your R-22 air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, we recommend air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. Newer air conditioners employ Puron or R-410A, which is better for the environment. 

We recognize that replacing your air conditioner can be an emergency that you aren’t ready for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which gives you a new air conditioner for just one affordable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are incorporated, and you’ll get to retain any valuable manufacturer’s rebates. 

5. Water Leak 

Your AC unit utilizes a condensate drain line to flush water it removes from the air. If you’ve overlooked air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become clogged with mold and cause water to flood the system. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking. 

Turn off your air conditioner to prevent damage and call us at 866-397-3787 for support. 

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker 

There can be a number of reasons why your air conditioner keeps tripping its circuit breaker. Here are a few of the most prevalent ones: 

  • Dirty air filter is significantly constraining airflow. 
  • Your cooling is running too hot due to insufficient refrigerant. 
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow. 
  • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating. 
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose. 
  • Blower motor is malfunctioning. 
  • Compressor is drawing too much power or wiring is defective. 
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has failed. 

As we outlined earlier, check your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will need to be addressed by an HVAC professional like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 

7. Short Cycling 

An insufficient cooling cycle can also be part of the problem. Short cycling is an annoying error when the system turns off before the expected temperature has made its way through the entire house. If you believe your air conditioner is short cycling, pay attention to how long the air is on before it shuts off. Your standard air conditioner typically runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for close to the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is turning on and off in small bursts. 

This adds heavy strain on moving parts and key components like the blower motor. Short cycling or any kind of atypical cooling cycles are often a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components turn the AC off. This happens repeatedly, especially if the source of the overheating isn’t addressed. 

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs 

The best way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance program. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we offer several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and fixed through routine maintenance. 

In some cases repairs are inescapable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll receive special discounts on service, 24/7/365 priority service, no trip or overtime charges and more. Ready to sign up for a membership program or to arrange your repair appointment? Get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 today! 

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