Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s AC system breaks down, you want to get the problem dealt with right away. Unfortunately, there could be hundreds of reasons why your AC unit isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is affecting you? There are a number of problems that are more common, and recognizing what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Expert is going over available choices for fixing the problem through air conditioning repair in North America.

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

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat instructs your AC system when to start and for how long to run. If the thermostat settings are inaccurate, your cooling may not function like it should. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, it won't be accessible at all. Follow this quick checklist to ensure your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly:

  • Swap out 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 known for turning a perfectly functional and reliable 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 usage. They can also make an air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil ices over.

You can easily avoid AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know if you should change the filters? If you can’t think back to the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a general recommendation, make sure you try to exchange flat filters every 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 build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to manage the cooling process as smoothly, and in some cases enough ice can keep the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be related to several issues, like:

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

If your air conditioner freezes, switch it off and let the coils thaw. This will sometimes take up to 24 hours, but you can speed up the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This blows warm air across the coils without starting a refrigeration cycle.

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

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your cooling needs refrigerant to convert heat. When it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you might notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are some signs you’re facing a leak:

  • Insufficient cold air
  • Home feels humid
  • Extended cooling cycles
  • Frozen evaporator coils
  • Bubbling or hissing air conditioner sounds
  • Sweet smell nearby the air conditioner

If your cooling was installed before 2011, it likely uses Freon® or R-22. This coolant is no longer being manufactured due to its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled portions of Freon are accessible, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to correct.

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

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

5. Water Leak

Your air conditioning utilizes a condensate drain line to flush water it eliminates from the air. If you’ve skipped air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become clogged 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 prevent damage and contact us at 866-397-3787 for assistance.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a number of reasons why your air conditioner keeps tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most widespread ones:

  • Dirty air filter is severely restricting airflow.
  • Your air conditioner is overheating due to inadequate refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and reducing airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has malfunctioned and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose.
  • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
  • Compressor is drawing excessive power or wiring is faulty.
  • Capacitor responsible for starting the compressor has gone out.

As we discussed earlier, inspect your air filter first, as that is most likely to be the culprit. Any other problems should be addressed by an HVAC professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an irritating error when the air conditioner shuts off before the desired temperature has made its way through the remainder of the house. If you suspect your cooling is short cycling, watch how long the air is on before it shuts off. Your standard air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for around an equivalent period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your cooling is running on and off in small bursts.

This places heavy strain on moving parts and vital components such as the blower motor. Short cycling or any kind of atypical cooling cycles are often a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components switch the AC off. This happens again and again, especially if the real cause of the overheating isn’t addressed.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The number one way for you to avoid air conditioning problems is to enroll in a preventive maintenance plan. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Inferior wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and solved with routine tune-ups.

In some cases repairs are inescapable, 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 arrange your repair appointment? Call us at 330-235-1260 today!