You can take care of some AC problems yourself. For others, you need to call a professional. In this guide, you’ll learn what to do when your AC isn’t working correctly:
- How often you should replace the air filter
- How to do air conditioning troubleshooting
- How to prevent most AC problems
When AC problems appear, it’s normal to panic. After all, no one wants to be stuck in a Phoenix heatwave without a working air conditioner. The good news is that many of the most common AC issues that valley homeowners and businesses face are actually pretty simple fixes. This helpful guide shows you seven of the biggest issues to look for, what you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place, and how to solve them.
1. Dirty or Clogged Air Filters
One of the most common AC problems is caused by a dirty air filter. The air filter normally cleans dirt, allergens, and contaminants from the air, improving indoor air quality. Over time, as more and more dirt is absorbed, the filter can get dirty. Eventually, airflow is blocked completely.
How can you tell this is happening? For one thing, you’ll notice that less air is flowing out of the vents in your home. The air conditioner may seem like it’s constantly running. This is because it’s struggling to push cool air through a blocked system.
Now for the good news. Replacing a dirty air filter is incredibly cheap and easy to do. You just need to follow a few basic instructions in your owner’s manual. We recommend replacing the air filter every 45–60 days because of the dusty climate in Phoenix, AZ, and surrounding metro cities. If you have pets, and especially if someone in your family has allergies, change the filter once a month.
2. Blocked Outdoor Units / Frozen Coils
To work correctly, the outdoor part of an air conditioner needs good airflow in both directions. That way, hot air evaporates outside, and cool air reaches the inside of your home without problems. If the unit becomes blocked, the whole process breaks down.
Have you started to notice ice building up even though it’s the middle of summer? The problem is usually that something is blocking airflow. Leaves, branches, junk, and debris may be the culprit.
To solve this issue, make sure that the outdoor unit always has plenty of room to breathe. If you cover it in winter, don’t forget to remove the cover when spring arrives. Never store grass clippings, leaves, garbage bags, lawn equipment, or tools behind it.
3. Thermostat Issues
Does it seem like your air conditioner is having trouble reaching the right indoor temperature? Do you have to turn the controls down further than normal just so the temperature is bearable? The problem may be your thermostat, not the AC itself.
Typically, the thermostat controls when the AC turns off and how long it runs. It’s like a manager that tells the rest of the system what to do. If the thermostat breaks down, your air conditioner may not start at all, or it may turn off and on every few minutes (called short cycling).
What can you do? First, make sure the thermostat is on and that it’s set to “cool.” Also, make sure the thermostat isn’t located in direct sunlight. Otherwise, the problem may be a malfunctioning sensor or electrical connection. To fix these AC problems or replace the thermostat, you need to contact our pros for air conditioner troubleshooting.
4. Electrical Problems
Believe it or not, one of the most common AC issues happens because a circuit breaker gets tripped. If the AC stops working suddenly, take a quick trip to your circuit box and check if the breaker is turned off. If so, just flip the switch, and you should be back in business.
Other times, the problem is a loose electrical connection. This is more serious because it can damage important parts, make certain systems stop working, or trigger fire hazards. Electrical problems often happen when a “handyman” or someone inexperienced tries DIY air conditioner installation.
The best way to avoid this problem is to schedule periodic AC maintenance. As part of the cleaning and tune-up, our certified experts check all electrical connections, tightening loose connections, and protecting electrical components outside.
5. Water Leaks and Drainage Issues
It’s normal for some water to appear outside because of condensation. If there’s a lot of water all the time, however, you may have a problem with a clogged drain line. The drain system is backed up with algae or dirt, which doesn’t let water drain like normal. This makes the drain pan fill up and overflow, potentially damaging electrical components.
Inside the house, you definitely don’t want any type of moisture or water leakage from the air handler. Incorrect drainage can lead to mold problems or unattractive stains on the wall.
Homeowners can often take care of this problem by unclogging the drain pipe using a wet vac or neutralizing algae with vinegar. But, let’s be honest, do you really want to deal with something so messy? It’s usually better to call a pro for system cleaning just to avoid the gross factor.
6. Low Refrigerant Levels
With a high-quality air conditioner and good maintenance, you may never have to worry about refrigerant problems. On the other hand, older ACs or dirty systems may develop leaks. Refrigerant is responsible for the entire system functioning, so when levels drop, cooling is affected. Eventually, the compressor or other expensive components can be irreparably damaged.
Here are the signs of low refrigerant:
- Green or blue liquid around the outside unit
- Air coming out of vents feels warm
- You turn the thermostat lower and lower to cool the home
- The air conditioner runs constantly
- Energy bills rise sharply
Fortunately, maintenance technicians measure refrigerants as part of preventative maintenance. That way you can avoid this problem altogether.
7. Failure of Fans
There are two critical fans in the AC system. One is located inside, and it blows cold air into the home. The other is outside, and it’s responsible for cooling off the evaporator coil by getting rid of warm air. When these fans stop working, the air conditioner runs but, nothing happens. You may hear a buzzing or rattling noise.
What should you do? Turn off your air conditioner immediately. Otherwise, the condenser can overheat, leading to very costly repairs. The good news is that as long as you call us as soon as you notice the problem, there’s a good chance we can just fix or replace the fan, which is fairly inexpensive.
Expert Air Conditioner Troubleshooting and Repairs in Phoenix, AZ
Your home’s air-conditioning system is worth every penny — especially with blazing summer temperatures outside — but it’s also a significant investment. You want it to deliver cool and comfortable temperatures for ages. Scheduling preventative maintenance every six months can make a massive difference for your air conditioner’s energy efficiency, performance, and longevity. If AC problems appear, call our team right away for air conditioner troubleshooting and expert repairs.
At Howard Air, we offer a number of maintenance plans to make service more convenient and affordable. If you are experiencing problems with your system, you have multiple options for scheduling service. You may fill out a service request form here on our website, or you can simply call 602.953.2766 to speak with someone directly.
Featured Image: Andrey Popov/Getty Images
The post 7 Air Conditioner Problems That Homeowners Face & Their Solutions first appeared on Howard Air.
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