Top 8 Air Conditioning Problems

Posted on July 22, 2013

The most common air conditioning problems are simple to fix because they are either caused by human error or they are things that most people can remedy themselves quite easily. However, sometimes a professional HVAC Technician needs to be called to solve the more complicated issues. 

lennox-compressor_condensor_unit

Simple causes to try first:

1. The thermostat temperature is set too high:

The thermostat is the device that allows you to choose the exact temperature of your home. Begin your air conditioner troubleshooting at the thermostat by ensuring that the thermostat is on cool and that it is set lower than actual room temperature. This is to ensure that there really is a problem. It may seem silly but that is the first thing a repairman will check and you will normally still be charged a service call even if that is the only problem. If you have a digital thermostat and there is no reading at all, then there may be no power going to it. Check your circuit breaker box to see if you have a tripped breaker and turn it back on.

2. The registers are not open:

The unit may be running normally, but not cooling as it should. Check the registers to be sure they are all open. Vacuuming or stepping on a floor register could close the vent, making it not cool properly. Make sure the air is getting through the registers.

If there is low output of air: Air is blowing but not effectively:

3. The simplest cause could be a dirty air filter.

Check the filter and see if it is allowing proper airflow to the unit’s intake. A dirty air filter can prevent proper cooling, cause weak airflow and cause the unit to run inefficiently.

A dirty HVAC filter can reduce the equipment’s efficiency by as much as 20 percent. It may even result in mechanical damage that will require expensive repairs. And, it can be harmful to your health by compromising the quality of the air you breathe in your home.

You should check your HVAC filter at least every month, though you probably won’t need to replace it as frequently. Review the manufacturer’s recommendation. Every three months is the norm for replacement, although this frequency can vary depending on your home, your geographical location, the local quality of the air, the season and other factors.

4. Another possible cause could be iced condenser coils.

Ice build-up on the coils can cause a blockage for the condenser fan and reduce the output.

Because air conditioners are designed to cool, they all will actually try to freeze up. It is the AC system’s design that prevents this from happening until something in the design fails, including blocked airflow, low refrigerant or low air temperature. There are other factors can cause AC freezing, and some can only be corrected by a service technician. When determining whether to have the system repaired, the age of the system is an important consideration.

5. Disconnected air ducts.

If the air ducts are disconnected, it could be allowing some of the air from an otherwise properly working system to escape either under the house or into the walls. Something may have dislodged the ducts, or they may be rusted out.

If the unit’s cooling capability is reduced:

6. First, the refrigerant could be low.

You will likely need a technician to gage the level in your system and recharge it if necessary. Repairs should be made to any refrigerant leaks immediately.

7. Another possible cause of loss of cooling power is simply a worn-out compressor.

The system’s compressor may no longer be able to compress the refrigerant because of internal wear. Again, this would take a professional.

If the unit is leaking water:

8. A unit that is leaking water may have a blocked drain.

There is a good chance the cause is a blocked drain line from the condensate pump. This may be blocked by debris or algae and could cause condensation from the unit to pool in the drip pan until overflowing. The line will need to be cleaned out thoroughly to stop the leak.

If none of the above problems are evident, you may have a serious internal issue that will require a certified heating and cooling expert. A Trained technician will need to access your specific situation and diagnose the problem. 

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