When the temperature starts rising and you turn on your air conditioner, the last thing you want is a problem where your equipment isn’t properly cooling your home. A common knee-jerk reaction is a sinking feeling, wondering how much the repair is going to cost or if you’ll need a new system. Before allowing the stress to take hold, consider these six common AC problems and the best way to troubleshoot them.
1. AC Won’t Turn On
The most obvious problem you’ll notice is when your unit won’t turn on. There are a multitude of reasons this may happen, including some that are easy to check and test on your own. If you run through these items and your AC still won’t turn on, it’s time to call a professional to troubleshoot the issue.
- Make sure your air filter isn’t clogged
- Check that your thermostat has power
- Make sure the thermostat is turned on
- Check for a tripped circuit breaker
- Check your condensate drain to ensure it isn’t clogged
2. System Is Blowing Warm or Hot Air
Troubleshooting air that’s warmer than you expect is relatively simple. Start by checking the air filter to make sure it’s not clogged. If it’s been a while since you’ve replaced it, now is a great time to do so. A clogged filter can prevent conditioned air from freely moving where it needs to go without the temperature being affected.
Next, check your thermostat settings, specifically the fan setting. If this is set to “On,” it will run all the time, even when the compressor isn’t running. This will make it feel like warm air is coming from your vents between cooling cycles. The proper setting is “Auto,” which only runs the fan during the cooling cycle.
If this doesn’t work, you may have a refrigerant leak, a frozen evaporator coil or leaky ductwork. All of these require a professional to properly diagnose the problem and effectively fix it.
3. Low Airflow
Decreased airflow often happens because of four common problems. A dirty air filter is the easiest to check and fix yourself.
The other three problems include a failing circulating fan motor, a dirty evaporator coil or circulating fan wheel or a frozen evaporator coil. A technician will fix a dirty evaporator coil or failing circulating fan wheel during routine maintenance or service. They’ll also identify a faulty fan motor or low refrigerant levels that are causing a frozen coil.
4. There’s Water Coming from Your Unit
If you notice water coming from your indoor unit, it’s likely that you have a clogged condensate drain. A technician will clean this during routine maintenance, but it is easy for you to clean as well. Turn the system off and find the access point for the drain. Pour 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Flush it with water to ensure that it’s draining freely. If it’s not, call a professional to troubleshoot the problem.
5. Uneven Cooling
You may notice that your home doesn’t feel consistently cool throughout all of the rooms. Start by checking the air filter to make sure it’s not clogged. Next, check that every vent is open. Each vent should have a minimum 2-foot clearance above and around it.
A dirty or faulty blower motor can also cause uneven cooling. It’s best to leave troubleshooting a fan issue to a professional. It could be as simple as a fan wheel that needs cleaning or balancing, but there could also be a motor that needs replacing.
6. Frozen Outdoor Unit
Freezing in your condensing unit can occur in the entire unit or in a small part. Look for ice covering the unit, on the condenser inside the unit or on the condensing coil in the wall of the unit. This can happen because you’re trying to run the system when the air outside is too cold, usually below 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
More commonly, the outdoor unit freezes when there’s a problem maintaining the refrigerant pressure. This could be a leak somewhere in the system or a problem with the compressor. Leave troubleshooting a frozen outdoor unit to a professional who can properly replace refrigerant if needed, and has the proper tools to test refrigerant pressure. It’s common to have your compressor checked to track down a leak.
Property owners around Bellevue have turned to Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning for more than 50 years when their heating and cooling systems have problems. Our expert technicians offer heating and cooling repair, maintenance and installation, indoor air quality solutions, geothermal work and ductwork services. Call to schedule your AC repair appointment with one of our trusted technicians today.