Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s air conditioner malfunctions, you deserve to get the problem resolved as soon as possible. Annoyingly, there can be dozens 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 beneficial when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is going over 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 cooling system to malfunction. 

1. Thermostat Problems 

Your thermostat instructs your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If the thermostat settings are wrong, your air conditioning may not run correctly. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Run through this short checklist to make sure 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 currently on cooling mode 
  • Ensure your preferred 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. In fact, dirty filters will sometimes cause multiple problems, including weaker airflow, poorer indoor air quality and greater power usage. They can also make your air conditioning work harder and stop working if the coil freezes. 

You can easily avoid AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know whether you should change the filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a general guideline, make sure you try to exchange flat filters each month and pleated filters every three months. 

3. Frozen Condenser Coils 

Your air conditioner’s coils are essential components because they discharge heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the summer, ice can form on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as easily, and in certain cases sufficient ice can stop the AC from running outright. 

Freezing can be connected to several issues, such as: 

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

If your air conditioner is frozen, turn it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This can take up to 24 hours, but you can speed up the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This blows warm air over the coils without starting a cooling cycle. 

It’s recommended to inspect your air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it. The other challenges, like dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, are best handled with professional help. 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

Your air conditioner 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 a few signs you’re confronting a leak: 

  • Inadequate cold air 
  • Home seems humid 
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles 
  • Frozen evaporator coils 
  • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner noises 
  • Sweet smell near the air conditioner 

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

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 employ Puron or R-410A, which is superior for the environment. 

We realize that replacing your cooling 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 affordable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are included, and you’ll get to proceed with 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. 

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

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker 

There can be a few reasons why your air conditioning system keeps tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most common ones: 

  • Dirty air filter is severely constraining airflow. 
  • Your air conditioning system is overheating due to insufficient refrigerant. 
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow. 
  • Condenser fan motor has stopped working and coils are overheating. 
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose. 
  • Blower motor is defective. 
  • Compressor is drawing too much power or wiring is malfunctioning. 
  • Capacitor in charge of starting the compressor has gone out. 

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

7. Short Cycling 

A faulty cooling cycle can also be part of the problem. Short cycling is a frustrating error when the unit shuts off before the desired temperature has made its way through the remainder of the house. If you suspect your air conditioner is short cycling, pay attention to how long the air is working before it shuts off. Your average air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for close to a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is turning on and off in quick bursts. 

This places heavy strain on moving parts and vital components such as the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of abnormal cooling cycles are often caused by overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components turn the AC off. This happens repeatedly, especially if the root 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 sign up for a preventive maintenance plan. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we provide several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Bad wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and corrected through routine maintenance. 

Sometimes repairs are inescapable, 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 join a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Call us at 866-397-3787 today! 

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