Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s AC system goes on the fritz, you deserve to get the issue dealt with at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, there can be countless of reasons why your air conditioner isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is affecting you? There are a handful of problems that are more widespread, and determining what they are is helpful when your Levy & Son Service Experts Expert is going over available choices for fixing the problem with air conditioning repair in North America.

ere are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your cooling system to stop working.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are incorrect, your cooling may not run correctly. And if the batteries died in a programmable thermostat, you'll have to charge the batteries before you can use it. Follow this quick checklist to ensure 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)
  • Confirm that it’s switched to cooling mode
  • Ensure your set 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. In fact, dirty filters will sometimes cause multiple problems, including weaker airflow, poorer indoor air quality and greater power use. They can also make an 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 remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a basic recommendation, 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 essential components because they release heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the middle of the summer, ice can develop on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to handle the cooling process as smoothly, and in some cases the ice can block the AC from running at all.

Freezing can be related to several issues, such as:

  • Dirty coils caused by a lack of annual maintenance
  • Dirty air filters, which reduce 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 coils thaw. This can take up to 24 hours, but you can quicken the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This should blow warm air across the coils without starting a refrigeration cycle.

It’s a good idea to inspect your air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it out. The other issues, including dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will require the support of a trained technician.

4. Refrigerant Leak

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

  • Inadequate cold air
  • Home is humid
  • Extended cooling cycles
  • Frozen evaporator coils
  • Dripping or hissing air conditioner noises
  • Sweet smell near the air conditioner

If your air conditioning system was installed prior to 2011, it likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being produced due to its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled supplies are accessible, which makes refrigerant leaks more costly to correct.

If your R-22 AC unit is dealing with 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 superior for the environment.

We recognize that replacing your AC system 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 reasonable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are incorporated, and you’ll get to keep any worthwhile manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

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

Turn off your air conditioner to minimize damage and get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 for help.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

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

  • Dirty air filter is severely constraining airflow.
  • Your air conditioner is running too hot due to a lack of refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and reducing airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has stopped working and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose.
  • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
  • Compressor is drawing excessive power or wiring is malfunctioning.
  • Capacitor responsible for starting the compressor has failed.

As we discussed earlier, examine your air filter first, as that is most likely to be the culprit. Any other problems will have to be addressed by an HVAC pro like Levy & Son Service Experts.

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also cause problems. Short cycling is a frustrating error when the system turns off before the set temperature has reached the rest of the house. If you think your cooling is short cycling, watch how long the air is active before it turns off. Your standard air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for close to a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your cooling is turning on and off in quick bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and key components like the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of abnormal cooling cycles are often a result of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components turn the AC off. This happens again and again, particularly if the source of the overheating isn’t addressed.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The ideal way for you to avoid air conditioning problems is to sign up for a preventive maintenance plan. At Levy & Son Service Experts, we offer several HVAC memberships to suit your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and solved through routine service.

Occasionally repairs are inescapable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll receive 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? Get in touch with us at 469-250-0932 today!

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