Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s cooling malfunctions, you should try to get the situation dealt with right away. However, there can be countless of reasons why your cooling isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is impacting you? There are a handful of problems that are more prevalent, and identifying what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is reviewing available choices for fixing 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 break down.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your air conditioner may not function like it should. And if the batteries died in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Follow this short checklist to make sure your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly:

    • Replace batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models)
    • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models)
    • Check that it’s switched to cooling mode
    • Ensure your set temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty or inefficient air filters are notorious for turning a perfectly functional and efficient air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In fact, dirty filters can cause lots of problems, like decreased airflow, reduced indoor air quality and greater power use. They can also make the AC unit work harder and stop working if the coil freezes.

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

3. Frozen Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner’s coils are crucial components because they emit heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even during the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to manage the cooling process as smoothly, and in severe cases enough ice can stop the AC from running at all.

Freezing can be related to multiple issues, including:

    • 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, switch it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This will sometimes take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This should blow warm air over the coils without going through a cooling cycle.

It’s smart to inspect the 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, will need professional assistance.

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 facing a leak:

    • Insufficient cold air
    • Home is humid
    • Excessively long cooling cycles
    • Ice on the evaporator coils
    • Bubbling or hissing air conditioner noises
    • Sweet smell nearby the air conditioner

If your air conditioner was installed before 2011, it likely uses Freon® or R-22. This coolant is no longer being produced due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled quantities are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more costly to fix.

If your R-22 AC unit has a refrigerant leak, we advocate for air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. Modern air conditioners use Puron or R-410A, which is more sustainable 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 low monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are covered, and you’ll get to proceed with any valuable manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

Your AC unit needs a condensate drain line to flush water it eliminates 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.

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

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a couple of reasons why your cooling won’t stop tripping its circuit breaker. Here are some of the most common ones:

    • Dirty air filter is severely restricting airflow.
    • Your cooling is overheating because of insufficient refrigerant.
    • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow.
    • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating.
    • Electrical connections are worn or loose.
    • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
    • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is defective.
    • Capacitor in charge of starting the compressor has failed.

Like we discussed earlier, inspect your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will need to be resolved by an HVAC expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also cause problems. Short cycling is an irritating issue when the unit shuts off before the desired temperature has made its way through the rest of the house. If you think your air conditioner is short cycling, watch how long the air is working before it switches off. Your standard air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for around the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is running on and off in quick bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and vital components like the blower motor. Short cycling or any kind of abnormal cooling cycles are routinely a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components turn the AC off. This happens over and over, namely if the real cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The best way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance plan. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we provide several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and fixed during routine service.

Occasionally repairs are unavoidable, 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 today!

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