Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s air conditioner goes on the fritz, you want to get the problem resolved as soon as possible. Annoyingly, there could be dozens of reasons why your air conditioner isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is affecting you? There are a few problems that are more common, and recognizing what they are is helpful when your Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air Expert is discussing options for resolving the problem through air conditioning repair in North America. 

Here are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your air conditioning to stop working. 

1. Thermostat Problems 

Your thermostat directs your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your air conditioner may not work correctly. And if the batteries died 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: 

  • 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 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. What’s more, dirty filters could cause lots of problems, like weaker airflow, lower indoor air quality and higher power usage. They can also make your air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil ices over. 

You can easily reduce the risk of AC problems by regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know if you should change your filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a general rule of thumb, make sure you try to exchange flat filters once a 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 form on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to manage the cooling process as easily, and in some cases enough ice can stop the AC from running entirely. 

Freezing can be linked to several issues, like: 

  • Dirty coils caused by a lack of annual maintenance 
  • Dirty air filters, which restrict airflow 
  • Clogged drain line, which can cause moisture buildup 
  • Refrigerant leaks, which decrease cooling power 

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

It’s smart to examine your air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, replace it. The other issues, including dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will require professional help. 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

Your air conditioning system employs refrigerant to transfer heat. When it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you might notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a couple signs you’re dealing with a leak: 

  • Insufficient cold air 
  • Home feels humid 
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles 
  • Ice on the evaporator coils 
  • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner noises 
  • Sweet smell near the air conditioner 

If your cooling was installed prior to 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being made due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled supplies are obtainable, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to repair. 

If your R-22 air conditioning system has a refrigerant leak, we recommend air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. Newer air conditioners utilize Puron or R-410A, which is better for the environment. 

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

5. Water Leak 

Your air conditioner uses a condensate drain line to flush water it eliminates from the air. If you’ve skipped air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become blocked with mold and cause water to back up. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking. 

Shut 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 keeps tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most common ones: 

  • Dirty air filter is significantly limiting airflow. 
  • Your cooling is overheating because of a lack of refrigerant. 
  • Condenser coils are dirty and reducing airflow. 
  • Condenser fan motor has broken and coils are overheating. 
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose. 
  • Blower motor is defective. 
  • Compressor is drawing too much power or wiring is faulty. 
  • Capacitor responsible for starting the compressor has broken down. 

Like we mentioned earlier, check your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will need to be resolved by an HVAC professional like Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air. 

7. Short Cycling 

A faulty cooling cycle can also cause problems. Short cycling is an irritating malfunction when the air conditioner turns off before the set temperature has reached the rest of the house. If you believe your air conditioner is short cycling, listen to how long the air is running before it turns off. Your average air conditioner typically runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for about the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioner is turning on and off in quick bursts. 

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and vital 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 before safety components switch the AC off. This happens over and over, especially if the root cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with. 

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs 

The number one way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance program. At Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, we provide several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be discovered and corrected through routine tune-ups. 

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 enroll in a membership program or to schedule your repair appointment? Call us at 210-404-4233 today! 

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