Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s cooling breaks down, you want to get the problem resolved right away. Annoyingly, there may be dozens of reasons why your cooling isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a few problems that are more prevalent, and determining what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Expert is going over available choices for solving the problem with air conditioning repair in North America.

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

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your air conditioning might not run like it should. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Follow this short 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

Dirty or inefficient air filters are known for turning a perfectly functional and efficient air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. What's more, dirty filters could cause a number of problems, including weaker airflow, reduced indoor air quality and higher power use. They can also make your air conditioning work harder and stop working if the coil freezes.

You can easily minimize AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know if you should change your filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a basic rule of thumb, make sure you try to replace flat filters every month and pleated filters every three months.

3. Frozen Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner’s coils are essential components because they emit heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the middle of the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as precisely, and in certain cases enough ice can stop the AC from running entirely.

Freezing can be connected to multiple issues, including:

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

If your air conditioner freezes, shut it off and let the ice melt. This can take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This will blow warm air across the coils without going through a cooling cycle.

It’s smart to examine the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, replace it. The other challenges, such as dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, are best handled with professional assistance.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your cooling employs refrigerant to convert heat. When it doesn’t have sufficient refrigerant, you might notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are some signs you’re facing a leak:

  • Not enough cold air
  • Home is humid
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles
  • Ice on the evaporator coils
  • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner sounds
  • Sweet smell around the air conditioner

If your air conditioning system was installed before 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being produced due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled portions of Freon are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to fix.

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

We understand that replacing your AC system 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 covered, and you’ll get to retain any worthwhile manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

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

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

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

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

  • Dirty air filter is significantly constraining airflow.
  • Your air conditioner is overheating due to a lack of refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has malfunctioned and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are strained or loose.
  • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
  • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is defective.
  • Capacitor responsible for starting the compressor has failed.

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

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an annoying malfunction when the system turns off before the expected temperature has made its way through the entire house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, watch how long the air is on before it turns off. Your average air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for about an equivalent period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is switching on and off in short bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and critical components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any kind of irregular cooling cycles are often caused by overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components turn the AC off. This happens again and again, especially if the source of the overheating isn’t resolved.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The best way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to sign up for a preventive maintenance program. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer several HVAC memberships to suit your needs and budget. Bad wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and fixed during routine service.

Sometimes repairs are inevitable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll benefit from 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 arrange your repair appointment? Get in touch with us at 239-908-6991 today!

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