Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s cooling breaks down, you should try to get the situation resolved at the earliest opportunity. However, there could be hundreds of reasons why your air conditioner isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is affecting you? There are a number of problems that are more widespread, and recognizing what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Expert is discussing options for resolving the problem with air conditioning repair in North America.

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

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If the settings are inaccurate, your cooling might not run like it should. And if the batteries ran out in a programmable thermostat, it won't be accessible at all. Run through this quick checklist to ensure your thermostat is receiving power and working properly:

  • Swap out batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models)
  • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models)
  • Verify that it’s in cooling mode
  • Ensure your desired temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Old 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 will sometimes cause multiple problems, including decreased airflow, reduced indoor air quality and excessive power usage. They can also make your air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil freezes up.

You can easily avoid AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know if you should change the filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost definitely time to. But for a general recommendation, make sure you try to change flat filters each 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 in the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as precisely, and in severe cases sufficient ice can block the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be connected to multiple issues, such as:

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

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

It’s recommended to examine your 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 need professional help.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your air conditioner uses refrigerant to relocate heat. When it doesn’t have sufficient refrigerant, you could notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a couple signs you’re dealing with a leak:

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

If your cooling was installed prior to 2011, it probably uses Freon® or R-22. This coolant is no longer being produced as a consequence of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled supplies are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to repair.

If your R-22 AC unit has 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 superior for the environment.

We realize that replacing your air conditioner can be an emergency that you aren’t prepared for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which gives you a new air conditioner for just one affordable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are covered, and you’ll get to proceed with any valuable manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

Your air conditioning needs a condensate drain line to flush water it removes from the air. If you’ve overlooked air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become plugged up with mold and cause water to flood the system. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

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

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

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

  • Dirty air filter is significantly restricting airflow.
  • Your air conditioning system is overheating due to insufficient 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 malfunctioning.
  • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is faulty.
  • Capacitor in charge of starting the compressor has broken down.

As we discussed earlier, check your air filter first, as that is most likely to be the culprit. Any other problems will need to be taken care of by an HVAC professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.

7. Short Cycling

An insufficient cooling cycle can also be part of the problem. Short cycling is an irritating error when the unit turns off before the desired temperature has made its way through the remainder of the house. If you believe your air conditioner is short cycling, pay attention to how long the air is active before it switches off. Your average air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for close to the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is switching on and off in quick bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and critical components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of irregular cooling cycles are routinely caused by overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components switch the AC off. This happens repeatedly, especially if the root cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The ideal way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance agreement. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Inferior wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be discovered and fixed during routine tune-ups.

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 sign up for a membership program or to schedule your repair appointment? Contact us at 440-252-1375 today!

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