Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s cooling goes on the fritz, you deserve to get the situation dealt with at the earliest opportunity. However, there may be hundreds of reasons why your air conditioner isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a few problems that are more common, and identifying what they are is beneficial when your Strand Brothers Service Experts Expert is reviewing routes for resolving the problem with air conditioning repair in North America.

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

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat directs your AC system when to start and for how long to run. If the settings are incorrect, your air conditioning might not function like it should. And if the batteries ran out in a programmable thermostat, you'll have to charge the batteries before you can use it. Run through this brief checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and working properly:

  • Replace batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models)
  • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models)
  • Check that it’s in cooling mode
  • Ensure your preferred temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Old or inefficient air filters are known for turning a perfectly functional and efficient air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. What's more, dirty filters could cause multiple problems, like weaker airflow, lower indoor air quality and excessive power usage. They can also make the air conditioning work harder and stop working if the coil ices over.

You can easily avoid AC problems by consistently 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 surely time to. But for a standard rule of thumb, make sure you try to change flat filters each 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 form on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as smoothly, and in some cases enough ice can stop the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be linked to multiple issues, including:

  • Dirty coils caused by insufficient annual maintenance
  • Dirty air filters, which reduce airflow
  • Clogged drain line, which can cause moisture buildup
  • Refrigerant leaks, which decrease cooling power

If your air conditioner is frozen, 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 blows warm air on the coils without starting a cooling cycle.

It’s recommended to inspect the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, replace it. The other issues, like dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will need professional assistance.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your air conditioner needs refrigerant to convert heat. When it doesn’t have sufficient 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 feels humid
  • Extended cooling cycles
  • Frozen evaporator coils
  • Dripping or hissing air conditioner noises
  • Sweet smell close to the air conditioner

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

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

We realize that replacing your AC system 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 included, and you’ll get to retain any worthwhile manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

Your AC unit needs a condensate drain line to flush water it removes 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.

Turn off your air conditioner to minimize damage and contact us at 866-397-3787 for assistance.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a few reasons why your cooling keeps tripping its circuit breaker. Here are a few of the most prevalent ones:

  • Dirty air filter is gravely limiting airflow.
  • Your air conditioning system is overheating because of a lack of refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and reducing airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has malfunctioned and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are worn or loose.
  • Blower motor is faulty.
  • Compressor is drawing excess 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 commonly the culprit. Any other problems will have to be resolved by an HVAC expert like Strand Brothers Service Experts.

7. Short Cycling

An insufficient cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an annoying malfunction when the system shuts off before the expected temperature has made its way through the entire house. If you believe your AC unit is short cycling, listen to how long the air is running before it turns off. Your ordinary air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for about an equivalent period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioner is running on and off in short bursts.

This places heavy strain on moving parts and vital components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of irregular cooling cycles are often a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components turn the AC off. This happens over and over, especially if the root cause of the overheating isn’t addressed.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The best way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to enroll in a preventive maintenance agreement. At Strand Brothers Service Experts, we offer several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and solved with routine service.

Occasionally repairs are unavoidable, 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 join a membership program or to schedule your repair appointment? Call us at 512-596-1257 today!

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