Whether it be faulty installation, inadequate maintenance, or age-related worn and torn parts, there is an array of potential air conditioning problems you may face. In summer, that can mean some miserably hot days and nights, right?
An HVAC tech offers expert service and repairs, but it’s always helpful to be able to explain the problem when you make the appointment. There are also some simple DIY air condition malfunction fixes that you can try to either avoid the service call or expedite the process.
Five Common Air Conditioner Problems
1. Your AC Completely Fails
If your air conditioner has suddenly shut down, it may be a simple thermostat fix. Most modern thermostats light up. If not lit, then it’s likely failing to get power.
Check to see if batteries need to be replaced. Check that it’s set to the right mode (cooling) and temperature. Check that the electrical panel doesn’t have a blown a fuse or tripped breaker.
You can also shut off the breaker and remove the thermostat’s cover to ensure there’s not debris, corrosion, or lose wires interfering with the connection.
A faulty thermostat is most likely to make your AC short cycle and run almost continuously, not shut down completely. Otherwise, if you don’t want to bother, you can hire a contractor from CWP Heating and Air Conditioning Service.
2. Room Temperature Never Reaches The Set Temperature
This can be a grime buildup on the thermostat. It can also be due to an impact to the thermostat, even a light bump, that causes the thermostat to become off-level.
The heat anticipator on mechanical models can get stuck, or it could be the thermostat itself was poorly placed. Thermostats exposed to heat/cold sources, such as sunlight through a window or invasive air from drafts, will likely encounter temperature discrepancies.
Older air conditioner models could have a worn part that needs replacing/repairing. When you consult an HVAC tech be sure to know the age of the unit, unit size, and cooled square footage. This info will be helpful in determining if your unit is too small or too large for your home.
Improperly sized AC units can both reduce efficiency and cause premature wear and tear on parts. Eventually, improperly sized units may even have trouble shutting off. If the unit is properly sized and won’t shut off, then it’s more likely a problem with the thermostat or a stuck fan relay.
3. The AC Blows Uncooled Air
The most common culprit for a working air conditioner that’s not blowing cold air is a worn and torn filter needing to be replaced. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to how often air filters need to be replaced and/or cleaned.
Sometimes less than cool air can simply be an issue of a vent inadvertently getting closed. The closed vent allows that room’s temperature to rise and its hot air to commingle with cooled air from the rest of the home. So, do check that all vents are open before assuming that temperature discrepancies are because the unit isn’t blowing cold air.
You’ll also want to check that at least the two-foot perimeter around the outside air conditioner unit and the unit’s topside are free from vegetation and debris.
Note whether or not the two copper lines going into the condenser are sweating and cold to the touch; if not, that could signal low level or leaking refrigerant or leaky ductwork.
Of course, there may be factors outside the mechanics of your AC to blame. For example, old window and inadequate insulation can allow cold air to escape and hot air to enter. In such cases, your air conditioning may actually be working at its peak performance but not be able to accommodate for other problem areas in your home.
4. Water Is Dripping From The AC
Determine where the leak is at – inside or outside – and if it’s leaking even when the unit is off.
Inside water leaks are a serious issue that can ultimately compromise the integrity of your home’s structure and lead to major repairs to damaged floors and walls. The most likely cause is a clogged condensate drain line, but it could also be due to an eroded drain pan. In either case, water from your inside AC unit should be addressed immediately.
Water leaks from an outside unit can be more difficult to distinguish. All units leak a small amount of water under the condenser unit in hot and humid weather while they’re running. You don’t want to see copious amounts, though, and you don’t want to see it when the unit is off. This can signal clogged filters, especially if the unit is also freezing up.
Low refrigerant levels can cause dripping from the air conditioner unit as the ice thaws. If filter replacement/cleaning doesn’t help, then leave the unit off until an HVAC tech can inspect and repair it.
5. The Unit Is Making Unusual Noise
Decibels, or rather the sound that a normally operating air conditioner unit makes, will vary by brand and age. The rating should be listed on your AC, and average between 25 and 55. Anything louder usually signals something isn’t working right. You can help your HVAC tech isolate potential problems by describing the type of unusual sounds your unit is making.
A squeal or screech noise is likely the blower motor, such as a worn bearing or belt that’s on the verge of breaking. Motor and blower assembly issues are typically more of a rattling or banging sound. When something gets wedged by the blower blades, it makes a sound like bicycle spokes turning. Clicking sounds with the on/off of the unit are indicative of a relay problem.
Do You Need An Air Conditioning Professional?
Air conditioner problems like the above are best solved as soon as possible to avoid a little repair escalating into a major repair or even complete replacement.
You play a vital role in the health and life of your air conditioner. Understanding the common HVAC issues enables you to know when to call an HVAC professional verses exploring a simple DIY solution. Plus, the more you can explain to your service tech beforehand, the better prepared they’ll be to quickly get to work solving the issue to get your unit back to effectively and efficiently cooling your home.
Do keep in mind that basic DIY HVAC tasks, such as filter cleanings and changes, are usually allowed by the unit’s warranty, but more extensive issues will likely require professional services to avoid a warranty void.