Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s air conditioner breaks down, you should try to get the situation taken care of as soon as possible. Annoyingly, there can be hundreds of reasons why your cooling isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is impacting you? There are a few problems that are more common, and determining what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is reviewing available choices for solving the problem through air conditioning repair in North America.

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

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat instructs your AC system when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your air conditioner may 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 quick checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and operating properly:

    • Change 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 set temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty or inefficient air filters are notorious for turning a perfectly functional and efficient air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In addition, dirty filters could cause multiple problems, including reduced airflow, lower indoor air quality and higher power consumption. They can also make the AC unit work harder and stop working if the coil ices over.

You can easily minimize AC problems by consistently cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know if you should change the filters? If you can’t think back to the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a basic guideline, make sure you try to exchange flat filters once a 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 in the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to handle the cooling process as easily, and in certain cases enough ice can block the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be related to different issues, including:

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

If your air conditioner has frozen, shut it off and let the coils thaw. This will sometimes take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This blows warm air on the coils without beginning a refrigeration cycle.

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

4. Refrigerant Leak

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

    • Not enough cold air
    • Home seems humid
    • Excessively long cooling cycles
    • Ice on the evaporator coils
    • Bubbling or hissing air conditioner noises
    • Sweet smell near the air conditioner

If your air conditioner was installed earlier than 2011, it probably uses Freon® or R-22. This coolant is no longer being manufactured because of its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled supplies are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to fix.

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

We realize that replacing your air conditioner can be an emergency that you aren’t equipped 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 useful 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 skipped air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become blocked with mold and cause water to stay in the drain line. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

Turn off your air conditioner to minimize damage and call us at 866-397-3787 for support.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a couple of reasons why your cooling is repeatedly tripping its circuit breaker. Here are some of the most widespread ones:

    • Dirty air filter is gravely constraining airflow.
    • Your air conditioner overheated due to a lack of refrigerant.
    • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow.
    • Condenser fan motor has stopped working and coils are overheating.
    • Electrical connections are damaged or loose.
    • Blower motor is faulty.
    • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is faulty.
    • Capacitor responsible for starting the compressor has gone out.

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

7. Short Cycling

A faulty cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an annoying error when the system turns off before the desired temperature has reached the entire house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, listen to how long the air is active before it switches off. Your ordinary air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for around an equivalent period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioner is running on and off in small bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and vital components such as the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of atypical cooling cycles are often a result of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components shut the AC off. This happens over and over, especially if the root cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with.

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 program. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we provide several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Inferior wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and corrected with routine tune-ups.

Sometimes 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 request your repair appointment? Call us at today!

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