Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s cooling malfunctions, you deserve to get the issue taken care of as soon as possible. However, there may be hundreds of reasons why your AC unit isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is impacting you? There are a number of problems that are more widespread, and identifying what they are is handy when your Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Expert is discussing options 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 stop working.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat directs your cooling when to start and for how long to run. If the thermostat settings are incorrect, your air conditioner might not run properly. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, you'll have to charge the batteries before you can use it. Try this quick checklist to confirm 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 desired temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty or inefficient air filters are notorious for turning a perfectly functional and effective air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In fact, dirty filters can cause multiple problems, including weaker airflow, lower indoor air quality and higher power usage. They can also make the AC unit work harder and stop working if the coil freezes.

You can easily avoid AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know when you should change the filters? If you can’t think back to the last time you changed them, it’s almost definitely time to. But for a standard recommendation, 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 important components because they release heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the middle of the summer, ice can form on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to manage the cooling process as smoothly, and in some cases the ice can stop the AC from running at all.

Freezing can be related to different issues, such as:

  • Dirty coils caused by ignoring 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 freezes, 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 will blow warm air across the coils without starting a refrigeration cycle.

It’s a good idea to inspect the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it out. The other problems, including dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, are best handled with professional help.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your cooling employs refrigerant to transfer heat. When it doesn’t have sufficient refrigerant, you may notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are some signs you’re confronting a leak:

  • Insufficient cold air
  • Home is humid
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles
  • Frozen evaporator coils
  • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner sounds
  • Sweet smell around the air conditioner

If your air conditioning system was installed before 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being produced because of its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled portions of Freon are obtainable, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to fix.

If your R-22 air conditioning system is dealing with a refrigerant leak, we suggest air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. New air conditioners utilize Puron or R-410A, which is more sustainable for the environment.

We understand 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 reasonable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are incorporated, and you’ll get to retain 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 plugged up with mold and cause water to back up. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

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

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a few reasons why your cooling is repeatedly tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most widespread ones:

  • Dirty air filter is significantly constraining airflow.
  • Your cooling overheated caused by inadequate refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose.
  • Blower motor is faulty.
  • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is defective.
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has broken down.

As we discussed earlier, examine 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 insufficient cooling cycle can also cause problems. Short cycling is an annoying malfunction when the air conditioner turns off before the expected temperature has covered the entire house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, watch how long the air is running before it shuts off. Your average air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for close to a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is turning on and off in quick bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and critical components such as the blower motor. Short cycling or any type of irregular cooling cycles are frequently a result of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components shut the AC off. This happens repeatedly, especially if the source of the overheating isn’t dealt with.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The ideal way for you to minimize air conditioning problems is to enroll in a preventive maintenance agreement. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Inferior wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and fixed during routine service.

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 sign up for a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Contact us at 403-279-5760 today!