Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s AC system breaks down, you deserve to get the situation resolved at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, there could be hundreds of reasons why your cooling isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is impacting you? There are a handful of problems that are more widespread, and recognizing what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is going over options for solving 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 tells your AC system when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your air conditioner may not run correctly. And if the batteries died in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Try this quick checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and working properly: 

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

2. Dirty Air Filter 

Old or inefficient air filters are infamous for turning a perfectly functional and efficient air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. What’s more, dirty filters could cause lots of problems, like decreased airflow, poorer indoor air quality and higher power usage. They can also make the air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil freezes up. 

You can easily avoid AC problems by regularly cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know when 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 standard guideline, 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 release heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even during the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as easily, and in severe cases the ice can stop the AC from running entirely. 

Freezing can be connected to different issues, like: 

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

If your air conditioner has frozen, switch it off and let the coils thaw. 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 going through 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 issues, such as dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will require professional help. 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

Your air conditioning system employs refrigerant to transfer heat. When it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you may notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a few signs you’re dealing with a leak: 

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

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

If your R-22 AC unit is struggling with a refrigerant leak, we recommend air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. New air conditioners use Puron or R-410A, which is more sustainable for the environment. 

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

5. Water Leak 

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

Shut off your air conditioner to prevent damage and contact us at 866-397-3787 for help. 

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker 

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

  • Dirty air filter is severely limiting airflow. 
  • Your air conditioning system overheated due to inadequate refrigerant. 
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow. 
  • Condenser fan motor has malfunctioned and coils are overheating. 
  • Electrical connections are worn or loose. 
  • Blower motor is defective. 
  • Compressor is drawing excessive power or wiring is faulty. 
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has gone out. 

As we discussed earlier, examine your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems should be taken care of by an HVAC expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 

7. Short Cycling 

An improper cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an annoying issue when the unit shuts off before the set temperature has reached the remainder of the house. If you suspect your air conditioner is short cycling, watch how long the air is working before it switches off. Your standard air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for around a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is turning on and off in short bursts. 

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and key components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any kind of abnormal cooling cycles are routinely a result of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components turn the AC off. This happens again and again, especially if the root cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with. 

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs 

The best way for you to avoid air conditioning problems is to enroll in a preventive maintenance program. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we offer several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Bad wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be discovered and corrected with routine service. 

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 request your repair appointment? Call us at 866-397-3787 today! 

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