Here are 20 of the most common air conditioner problems you must know, tips to help you troubleshoot the issue and guide you to the right course of action to prolong your AC life.
The most common fear when you initiate your air conditioning troubleshooting review might be that you will turn your unit on and hear no sound. This can arise solely from the reasons for broken electrical parts and faults in the wiring that services it or could be something as simple as a blown a fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. Whenever this happens, you simply need to reset it on the circuit breaker panel. However, if the AC still does not turn on, you may be having trouble with the thermostat of your AC. In some cases, the problem can be because of the blower belt.
Electrical Problems: AC does not Turn Off
If your air conditioner is repeatedly running and not able to reach a set temperature, it might be the reason for the accumulation of dust and grime in your AC filter. This problem can lead to frozen AC coils; the regular AC maintenance is the solution to deal with this.
On the other side, if your AC unit can cool at the desired temperature, but continuously running all the time anyway, this can be the issue with the controls. Checking your thermostat and relay switches is a good idea whenever you are having trouble turning your AC off. In most cases, you need to replace your thermostat to fix this problem.
Low Refrigerant Charge
Low refrigerant means low pressure that eventually results in low temperatures, freezing the evaporator coil. In most cases, a leak is the only reason why your AC would be low on refrigerant. Only qualified and licensed AC technicians can detect this problem, so don’t try to fix it yourself.
When you have a malfunctioning thermostat or if it is not correctly calibrated, then you will have trouble switching on your AC unit. The dial-type thermostats are more often subject to calibration problems, but sometimes the newer programmable thermostats are also not easy to program. When initiate air conditioning troubleshooting, you should consult your thermostat manual to make sure you have precisely programmed your thermostat.
If you set your thermostat to the lowest temperature and the unit still does not start, it’s probably time to call your professional Air Conditioner repair experts. They will most likely have to replace the thermostat.
Faulty tubes and leaks within seals cause condenser failure. After extensive use, these tubes can break, and a professional technician can repair them to make your AC work again.
Unwanted particles and debris often lead to condenser problems. The coil of your AC is filled with refrigerant. It absorbs the heat from the surrounding air like a sponge. If something goes wrong with the airflow, the evaporator coil becomes excessively cold, and a layer of ice builds up on the outside. A faulty condenser will cause the AC to throw warm or no air at all.
Leaking or Dirty Ducts
The ductwork that runs through the ceilings and the walls carry the cooled air from your AC, throughout the space. Sometimes, careless workers or rodents can cause breaks or holes in the ducts, and that expensive cooled air gets trapped inside your walls. Naturally, dirty or leaking ducts will make your AC work harder and increase your electricity bills.
Dirty or Clogged Filter
If your HVAC system filter is dirty or clogged, your air conditioner overheats. Your AC works harder to overcome the problems that arise due to a blocked filter. As there is more pressure on your AC unit, your air conditioner heats up efficiently. When your AC filters remain dirty for a long time, your AC will end up consuming more energy, escalating your utility bills.
However, you can take the filter out of your furnace to clean it easily. Once you remove it, clean the filter thoroughly by washing it under warm water. Dry your filter and reinstall it to check if the air conditioner is cooling the surroundings. In case the problem persists, you may need to buy a new filter for replacing the old one.
Air Flow Problems: Damaged or Worn parts of Motor
If the fan of your AC doesn’t start when you switch on your AC, it is clearly a faulty motor. Whenever your AC functions without the fan circulating air, this problem results in the freezing of the evaporator coil. Hence, your AC is likely to suffer more damage. If you suspect a damaged motor, turn your AC off and get in touch with a technician.
Air Flow Problems: Filthy Fan Blades
Your AC equipment can suffer from elements such as pollution and fog, mainly, the fan in your outdoor unit. The speed of your AC fan can slow down significantly if the blades get dirty. Layers of grime and dirt can put strain your AC’s motor and lead to damage. Make sure you regularly clean the fan blades of your AC as dirty blades will cause airflow problems.
Remove Debris around Outdoor Unit
Cleaning the outside AC unit can extend the lifespan of your AC. Another thing you can do as part of your AC routine maintenance is removing any sticks, branches, or leaves from the outdoor unit. Make sure all shrubs and plants are away from your AC unit so you can enjoy better airflow and improved efficiency.
Debris and dirt block your AC’s drainage pipe, blocking the condensate to flow out via the drainage system. When this happens, the water does not flow outwards, and it overflows to the central air conditioning unit. For that reason, your AC starts leaking water. If you clean your AC regularly, you can avoid this problem.
The drain pan is underneath your indoor air handler and catches any condensation from the AC unit. You can inspect your drain pan and pipe to check for any dirt or grime when your unit is off. The pipe typically connects to the drip pan and discharges the condensate outside.
You can clean the overflow pan by using a wet-dry vacuum and inspect the edges, corners, and bottom using a flashlight. You can also use a water sealant to fix a cracked drain pan. But sometimes the only way to resolve your drainage problems is to replace the damaged item.
When your AC continues to make loud and unusual sounds, you must track down the source of these problems. Sometimes, this sound is like a whine or a whistle. Airflow issues may be the culprit behind these problems, so you may need to check the ventilation points of your AC.
The annoying noise could be due to operational inefficiency, increasing your energy bills. With regular maintenance and inspection, you can take care of your AC’s unusual sounds.
Issues with Electrical Parts: Loose Wiring or Wrong Fuse
Whenever there is an issue with your AC wiring, the electrical wires receive more current than usual, leading to a short circuit. Not only can this unfortunate incident damage your equipment, but it can also lead to a fire hazard. Worn out wires or wiring issues result in lousy capacitor performance or fuse problems. Faulty wiring can trip the circuit breaker, whenever you turn on your AC. In extreme cases, bad wiring or wrong fuse may not let your AC start at all.
Different electrical wires supply current to various components of your AC’s equipment. Over time, wires can lose contact with the power source or the parts because of daily wear and tear. When connections become loose, current to the affected parts and malfunctions can result in more damage.
If you have a bare wire around the AC unit, it can result in an unfortunate fire hazard or even electrocution. If someone gets in contact with a live wire, they can get electrocuted. Make sure there are no pinched or stripped wires in your system. Sometimes, these wires hide behind walls or pathways, and you have a hard time locating them to prevent an accident. Professional technicians can check for any broken and hidden cables to make sure everything is safe.
Capacitors cycle on and off a thousand times a second while the compressor is running. The life expectancy of the compressor is directly related to the age of the capacitor.
Whenever you are having problems with the capacitor of your air conditioner, you need to call a technician. He may replace it with a capacitor that has the same rating as the one that came with your system to match with the motor of the AC.
AC trips the Circuit Breaker
The real problem here is usually with the breaker and not the AC itself. Many wires connect with the switch and suffer from damage over time. Sometimes, the breaker itself has problems, and you have to replace it. If your breaker keeps tripping, your air conditioner comes under a lot of strain, leading to compressor failure. Whenever this happens, your entire AC unit fails. Make sure you get your AC’s breaker checked to know whether you need a replacement.
Replace the AC Contactor
The contactor refers to a switch, located in the outdoor part of the AC unit. It comprises a metal plunger, a control coil, and one or multiple sets of electrical contacts. This switch turns your AC on and off as needed to maintain the desired temperature.
Over time, AC contactors can wear out and cause performance issues. However, even when the AC contactor is working fine, replacing it after a few years will go a long way in prolonging the lifespan of your air conditioner.
Size of AC
Air conditioners come in different sizes and dimensions. Determining the right size of your AC will help you maintain it easily. Consulting professional technicians to evaluate the right size of your AC comes in handy because they understand the factors that will help you choose the best model.
For instance, a bigger size is not always the best option. If you equip a small space with a large-sized AC that offers plenty of cooling, it could cycle on and off too quickly without efficiently removing humidity from the air. As a result, you will not feel cold but rather damp.
On the other hand, if you choose a size that is too small for your space, the unit will consume more energy yet fail to offer optimal cooling. Hence, the right size of your AC depends on your space’s needs and frequency of use.
Your Electric Bill Suddenly Goes Up
Sometimes, there are problems with your thermostat, which can make your electricity bills go up, especially during the winter season. Moreover, faulty units and systems can also cause a hike in utility bills to a large extent. When you fail to follow your air conditioner’s maintenance routine, you may never know if you need to repair or replace any components. An annual inspection or check-up can help you detect the faults that are doubling your electricity bill.
Did you remember the Annual Tune-Up?
Anyone who uses air conditioning units must benefit from a yearly AC inspection. Professional AC repair and replacement services have qualified technicians who conduct thorough inspections. Not only can they detect all problems that might be endangering your life but also repair them, reducing your utility bills.
Annual inspections also prolong the life of your AC unit as it increases the efficiency of the compressor, capacitor, motor, and other parts. With regular tune-ups, AC owners can increase the effectiveness of their units by 40%.
Apart from savings, regular Air conditioner maintenance can also prevent any severe damage or unfortunate accidents that may be the result of faulty wiring or a defected circuit breaker. Replacing parts of your AC can help you enjoy the same air conditioning unit for years to come.
Here are a few things that a general AC tune-up includes:
- Assessment of refrigerant levels
- inspection of all components and controls
- lubrication and efficiency of moving parts
- calibration of thermostat
- cleaning of filters, condenser coils, and evaporator
Still, Need Help With your Air Conditioner Problems?
We have listed many common problems that commonly occur and affect your air conditioning unit’s life and performance. Hence, you must schedule regular inspection and AC tune-up services to make sure your unit remains glitch-free.
While any time is better than never, an ideal time for your AC inspection or tune-up is spring. If you are having any trouble with your AC or you want to schedule an appointment with professional air conditioning services, get in touch with Conejo Valley Heating and Air Conditioning. Our qualified air conditioning repair services guarantee excellent and professional results at an affordable rate. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call now at (805) 499-0448 to get a free quote.