In the southern parts of the U.S., there’s really no escaping the heat. You either find a place to cool off or you learn to deal with it. Thankfully, many of us can relax in our homes, which provide a safe haven with a cool, comfortable temperature. When something goes wrong, however, our living environment (and mood) can quickly change.
5 Air Conditioning Problems and Solutions
Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the U.S., which represents over $11 billion in energy costs nationwide. This means that problems with a failing air conditioner could cause you not only the annoyance of uncomfortable living conditions, but also more money in the long run if you have to deal with unexpected repairs. Do you know what the most common AC problems and solutions are? The good news is that every problem has a solution, so let’s take a deeper look into some of the things that could go wrong with your air conditioner and what you can do to solve them.
AC Not Cooling Well
Perhaps the most frequent complaint when something is amiss is, “My AC isn’t cold!” Sometimes, your air conditioner may be working, but the air in your house doesn’t feel as cool as it should. Limited airflow is most likely to blame, most likely due to ductwork problems or a dirty filter.
Ducts could be leaking air, diverting it outside of your home. If they are dirty or constricted, you’ll need to clean them to make sure air can flow more easily through your home. Along the same lines, a dirty air filter restricts air flow, so replacing it can drastically improve the quality of air in your home.
Water Leaking From AC
AC units can produce up to 7 gallons of condensation per day, especially in humid climates. One of the problems you may encounter is your air conditioner leaking water outside. The excess water usually exits through the air handler via a plastic pipe or drain tube that goes directly outside. If water is pooling at the bottom of the unit, this could signal a leak in the pipe. Something could be blocking the water’s flow, preventing it from exiting properly. If not, your AC unit’s condensate pump may have malfunctioned and overflowed. Inspect your unit thoroughly to find the root of the problem.
Your fix may be as simple as changing your filters, if you find that ice is blocking the tube. If the filters seem to be fine, you’ll most likely have to replenish the refrigerant. A clogged or broken pump could be more complex, so you’ll have to test the pump and diagnose your issue from there.
AC Making Loud Noise
Some older air conditioners may run on a belt. If you hear a squealing noise, the belt is probably improperly aligned or needs to be replaced. A buzzing sound could signal an issue with the fan. You’ll need to check the blower, which might need to be repaired.
AC Turns On and Off Repeatedly
Sometimes, your air conditioner may be working, but having it constantly turn off and on can be annoying. Luckily, there is an easy remedy, as filthy filters are the likely culprit. When the filters are dirty, air flow to the unit is restricted, causing the system to turn off repeatedly from being overworked. Simply replace the filters or clean them with a vacuum and soapy water. If you choose to clean the filters wtih soapy water, just be sure to let the filters dry before putting them back in.
AC Not Working At All
When the temperature climbs to around 100 degrees and your air conditioner stops working, you may have trouble keeping your cool—literally. Don’t panic, though. It could be one of two things:
- Electric control failure. To try to diagnose the problem, check for a problem with the breaker or a blown fuse. If this is the reason your air condition is not working, reset the breaker by turning it off and on or replace the fuse. Your compressor and fan controls could be worn out from being overworked.
- Broken thermostat. The solution might be as simple as replacing the batteries in your thermostat, or you might have to adjust the settings and make sure it is on.
Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your air conditioner and improve its efficiency. Take the following steps twice a year to keep your air conditioner working well:
- Replace or clean your air filters regularly. According to the Department of Energy, keeping your air filters clean can lower your AC’s energy consumption by up to 15%.
- Check the evaporator coil yearly and clean as necessary.
- Know when it’s time to replace thermostat batteries to avoid any confusion. There’s a huge difference between a broken thermostat and one that simply needs new batteries.
- Adjust thermostat settings. Depending on the time year or if you’ll be on an extended vacation, you’ll need to change the settings to accommodate your needs. Changing the thermostat a few degrees higher while you’re out of the house for a long period of time conserves energy as well as the life of your unit.
Enlist The Experts To Help You Keep Your Cool
Dealing with a broken air conditioner is no fun. The best way to avoid an uncomfortable indoor environment and costly repairs is to schedule regular maintenance with an HVAC professional. The experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services can save you time, money and energy. Our skilled technicians can handle any problem you might be having with your air conditioner so that you and your family can stay cool all year long.
This was a great read! I am a Michigan homeowner and was experiencing issues with my hvac this summer and could not figure it out. Once I got it repaired I have been trying to diagnose hvac problems myself to better care for my unit and not have to go without cool air.