Air conditioning has become such an essential part of our lives that no one wants to go without it. But what if something does happen to your air conditioner? Knowing what might be wrong could help you fix the issue yourself, or you can tell the service technician and get a faster diagnosis. We have compiled a list of problems that may keep your A/C from blowing cold air.
It is easy to overlook the thermostat as the problem, especially with the new smart thermostats that many people have today. Check your thermostat, be sure that it is turned to cool and the temperature is turned down low enough for your unit to run.
You must be careful that your thermostat does not have the fan set to “on” instead of “auto.” Suppose the fan is set to “on,” then it will run constantly and may lead you to believe that the air conditioner is not working.
2: Air Filter
All too often, the problem with air conditioners comes down to a dirty filter. Your air conditioner must have air moving through your return and across your coil to work correctly. If the filter is dirty and does not allow air to move through it, it can cause severe issues. If you notice the copper lines at your indoor unit, or the copper lines at your outdoor unit beginning to develop ice around them, then it may be a dirty filter that is the culprit.
3: Dirty Indoor Coil
A dirty indoor coil will cause your air conditioner to react very similarly to a dirty air filter. A dirty indoor coil is generally caused by running your unit without a filter. Once the coil gets overly dirty, the air cannot pass through it efficiently, and it will begin to freeze. This is generally something that you will want a professional to clean. The aluminum fins that make up the coil are fragile, and cleaning them incorrectly can cause problems.
4: Dirty Outdoor Coil
Outdoor coils are notorious for getting dirty. As your outdoor unit runs, it pulls air through the outside of the unit and pushes it out the top. If you are not careful, the grass clippings can get pulled into the coil during mowing. There are also loose leaves, pollen, and pet hair that will get pulled into the coil.
Like the indoor coil, the system needs this air to pass through the coil to work correctly. However, with the outdoor coil, you are completely capable of cleaning it yourself. It is even recommended. Take a garden hose and spray through the coil, working up and down around the coil. Doing this regularly will significantly help your unit’s ability to operate. However, if your unit has gotten excessively dirty, a technician may still need to clean it properly.
Most people assume that this is the problem when their air conditioner is not working. But refrigerant is not to blame a fair amount of the time. This will have to be diagnosed by a service technician with a set of gauges. Your service technician should check the refrigerant to proper superheat and subcooling levels to assure that your refrigerant is at the proper levels.
6: No Electricity
If your outdoor unit is not running, you may not have any electricity for it. This is another one that you may have a chance of fixing yourself. Check your breaker panel if your blower motor is running, which blows the air into your home, but your outdoor unit is not. If there is a breaker labeled A/C or air conditioner, ensure it is turned on. If there is not, check to see if any double pole, or what looks like two breakers tied together, are tripped.
Sometimes a breaker shows that it is tripped by having an orange strip showing. Sometimes the handle is stuck in the middle between the on and off positions. In this case, you can step to the side of the panel and reach across and turn the breaker off and then flip it back on. If it trips again, you will need to call a professional service technician.
7: Ductwork Issue
There are times that critters will get into our homes, and when this happens, they have the potential to cause problems. Whether your ductwork is in the attic or the crawl space, a critter such as a raccoon or even a stray cat can access it and cause damage. If you have an entirely metal duct, it is unlikely that any severe damage will occur. However, the animals may be able to tear the insulation up, which will reduce your efficiency.
The real problems will occur if you have flexible ducting. Flexible ducting is similar to an adjustable dryer vent wrapped in insulation. So, if an animal of some kind starts to chew a hole into it, then the problem can quickly worsen. You could have half of the supply runs throughout your home destroyed before you know what has happened.
8: Mechanical Issues
Although refrigerant is the most common thought issue amongst homeowners, there are far more mechanical issues than refrigerant problems. Capacitors are a common problem when they go out, which will have the symptoms of your indoor unit running, but your outdoor unit is not. Fan motors can go out, which means that your outdoor unit may sound like it is running, but the condenser fan on top is not, and it may be humming loudly.
One of the worst problems that you can have been if your compressor goes out. This is the heart and soul of your air conditioning system. The black cylinder in the bottom of your outdoor unit pumps the freon in between your units. Compressors are costly to replace. Depending on what caused it to fail, you may now have acid in your system that will have to be neutralized, and you will have to have all new refrigerants installed. This means you will have a hefty bill if you intend to have it fixed.
There are so many things that could be wrong with your air conditioner if it is not blowing cool air. This list is just a few of the most common and most straightforward issues that it could be. If you have air conditioning issues, you should contact your trusted heating and air conditioning service company.