Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s AC system goes on the fritz, you should try to get the issue dealt with as soon as possible. Annoyingly, there can be hundreds of reasons why your air conditioner isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is affecting you? There are a handful of problems that are more prevalent, and recognizing what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is going over available choices for fixing the problem with air conditioning repair in North America.

Here are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your air conditioner to malfunction.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat directs your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are wrong, your cooling may not function like it should. And if the batteries died in a programmable thermostat, you’ll have to charge the batteries before you can use it. Run through this quick checklist to ensure 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)
    • Check that it’s in cooling mode
    • Ensure your desired temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty or inefficient air filters are infamous for turning a perfectly functional and effective air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. What’s more, dirty filters can cause multiple problems, including decreased airflow, poorer indoor air quality and greater power consumption. They can also make the air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil freezes.

You can easily reduce the risk of AC problems by regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know whether you should change your filters? If you can’t recall the last time you changed them, it’s almost surely time to. But for a standard guideline, make sure you try to exchange flat filters every month and pleated filters every three months.

3. Frozen Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner’s coils are important components because they release heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even during the summer, ice can form on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as precisely, and in some cases the ice can stop the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be linked to several issues, such as:

    • Dirty coils caused by a lack of 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 is frozen, switch it off and let the coils thaw. This will sometimes take up to 24 hours, but you can speed up the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This should blow warm air across the coils without beginning a cooling cycle.

It’s a good idea to check the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it. The other challenges, including 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 uses refrigerant to convert 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:

    • Not enough cold air
    • Home seems humid
    • Longer than normal cooling cycles
    • Ice on the evaporator coils
    • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner noises
    • Sweet smell nearby the air conditioner

If your cooling was installed earlier than 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being made because of its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled quantities are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to correct.

If your R-22 air conditioner is struggling with a refrigerant leak, we advocate for 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 realize 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 covered, and you’ll get to keep any valuable manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

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

Shut off your air conditioner to prevent damage and get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 for support.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a number of reasons why your cooling won’t stop tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most prevalent ones:

    • Dirty air filter is significantly limiting airflow.
    • Your air conditioner overheated because of inadequate refrigerant.
    • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow.
    • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating.
    • Electrical connections are worn or loose.
    • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
    • Compressor is drawing too much power or wiring is faulty.
    • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has broken down.

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

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also cause problems. Short cycling is a frustrating malfunction when the air conditioner turns off before the desired temperature has covered the entire house. If you believe your AC unit is short cycling, listen to how long the air is working before it shuts off. Your average air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for about the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioner is running on and off in short bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and vital components like the blower motor. Short cycling or any type of irregular cooling cycles are often caused by overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components turn the AC off. This happens repeatedly, particularly if the real cause of the overheating isn’t resolved.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The ideal way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to enroll in a preventive maintenance plan. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we promote several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and corrected through routine maintenance.

Occasionally repairs are unavoidable, 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 today!

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