Common Air Conditioner Problems | How to Identify AC Problems

The most amazing thing about your air conditioner is this:

  • It almost never, or maybe totally never, breaks down.

The air conditioner sitting at the side of your house has so many moving parts, but because it was well built and you keep up with maintenance, it might never break down.

new home air conditionerBut sometimes something goes wrong, causing the air conditioner to struggle or break down completely. Machines sometimes have minds of their own.

But if you know what to look or listen for, you’ll be able to tell when the problem is minor.

Most of the time it’s one of the following problems, and the solution is a quick fix for one of our air conditioner repair technicians.

The air conditioner isn’t keeping it cool inside.

If your air conditioner is sized properly, you should never feel uncomfortably warm in the house (unless you’re conducting some sort of warm house experiment).

If you find your indoor air temperature doesn’t match up with the temperature on the thermostat, there might be a problem with the thermostat sensor. This is a quick replacement by a certified technician.

Your air conditioner may be clogged up with debris from the fall/winter/spring. Routine air conditioner maintenance can clear this out and get the air conditioner running smoothly again.

Lastly, your refrigerant levels might be low (if you skipped maintenance for a couple years). The leak must be repaired first before charging the system with refrigerant.

The air conditioner turns on and off repeatedly.

Your air conditioner should never get stuck in a cycle of rapid on and off cycling.

Iget a new air conditionerf it is, there is a problem with either:

  • The condenser.
  • The evaporator.

You won’t notice any strange sounds other than the rapid cycling on and off. Depending on how old your AC unit is, this repair may fall under warranty.

The fan doesn’t sound like a fan.

The fan on the outside unit of your air conditioner makes a pretty standard sound. The sound you’ve probably heard since childhood. That deep whirring, humming sort of sound is how most homeowners know the air conditioner has cycled on.

If the fan outside doesn’t work the way it’s meant to, heat won’t transfer properly and the compressor can overheat. In the worst case, the heat may cause mechanical damage to the compressor.

If anything sounds abnormal about your fan, shut the AC off and call your local service pro for an immediate home visit.

I see ice and it’s the middle of summer.

Ice in the summer can come from a frozen coil or a build-up of ice on the refrigerant lines or tubing joints.  Many report a lack of air flow without noticing any ice on refrigerant lines.

Why do air conditioners freeze?A frozen coil usually indicates restrictions in airflow, sometimes caused by debris on the air filter (plugged filter), or there is a leak in the coil.  Icing up syndrome could mean thermostat is set too low or there is a leak somewhere in the coil or along the refrigerant lines or filter is plugged.  Water leaking from furnace means there is a plugged drain line.

You can examine the air filter yourself. Ensure your thermostat is set 73-75 F (22-24 C). There are times when outdoor temperatures soar above these 90F or 30C. As long as the air conditioner is giving a 16F or 8C swing in the home and humidity is being removed, then the unit is running fine. The air conditioner has only one capacity, therefore setting the temperature lower at the thermostat is not going to accomplish anything.

Assuming filters are clean, unit is the right size for the home, thermostat is set at correct temperature, refrigerant charge is O.K., outdoor unit is clean, breaker hasn’t tripped, fuse hasn’t blown, the furnace fan is blowing right amount of air and the drain is getting rid of humidity, the air conditioner should work well. If anything is not working in the above statement then a problem will happen. Remember that when the air conditioner is running, the furnace fan must also be running.  It is highly recommended to keep the furnace fan running in the “on” position.

With regular maintenance (annually, we recommend), your air conditioner should never run into any operational issues.

Maintenance becomes even more critical as the unit ages, especially with young children or elderly family members in the house.

Book your maintenance visit today, before the hottest days of summer hit.

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