Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s air conditioner malfunctions, you want to get the situation dealt with right away. Annoyingly, there may be dozens of reasons why your cooling isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a few problems that are more prevalent, and recognizing what they are is handy when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is going over available choices for resolving the problem through air conditioning repair in North America.

Here are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your cooling system to stop working.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat tells your AC system when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your air conditioning might not work properly. And if the batteries ran out in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Run through this brief checklist to make sure your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly:

    • Replace batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models)
    • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models)
    • Confirm that it’s currently on cooling mode
    • Ensure your set temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty or inefficient air filters are infamous for turning a perfectly functional and reliable air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In fact, dirty filters could cause multiple problems, like weaker airflow, lower indoor air quality and higher power use. They can also make your air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil ices over.

You can easily avoid AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know if you should change the filters? If you can’t recall the last time you changed them, it’s almost definitely time to. But for a basic rule of thumb, 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 during the summer, ice can develop on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to handle the cooling process as precisely, and in severe cases sufficient ice can block the AC from running entirely.

Freezing can be related to multiple issues, including:

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

If your air conditioner has frozen, switch it off and let the ice melt. This could take up to 24 hours, but you can quicken the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This should blow warm air across the coils without beginning a refrigeration cycle.

It’s a good idea to inspect the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it. The other problems, like dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will need professional assistance.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your air conditioner needs refrigerant to convert heat. When it doesn’t have sufficient refrigerant, you could notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a couple signs you’re dealing with a leak:

    • Inadequate cold air
    • Home feels humid
    • Longer than normal cooling cycles
    • Ice forming on the evaporator coils
    • Bubbling or hissing air conditioner noises
    • Sweet smell near the air conditioner

If your cooling was installed earlier than 2011, it likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being made due to its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled portions of Freon are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more costly 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 use Puron or R-410A, which is more sustainable for the environment.

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

5. Water Leak

Your air conditioning needs a condensate drain line to flush water it removes from the air. If you’ve avoided air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become plugged up with mold and cause water to flood the system. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

Turn off your air conditioner to avoid damage and get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 for help.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a number of reasons why your air conditioning system is repeatedly tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most prevalent ones:

    • Dirty air filter is significantly limiting airflow.
    • Your air conditioning system is running too hot caused by inadequate refrigerant.
    • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow.
    • Condenser fan motor has broken and coils are overheating.
    • Electrical connections are strained or loose.
    • Blower motor is defective.
    • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is faulty.
    • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has broken down.

As we discussed earlier, examine your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will have to be addressed by an HVAC pro 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 air conditioner turns off before the desired temperature has made its way through the rest of the house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, pay attention to how long the air is on before it turns off. Your ordinary air conditioner typically runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for about the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your cooling is switching on and off in quick 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 routinely caused by overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components shut 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 number one way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to enroll in a preventive maintenance agreement. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we offer several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be discovered and solved during routine maintenance.

Sometimes repairs are inevitable, 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 enroll in a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Contact us at today!

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