Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s air conditioner goes on the fritz, you want to get the issue resolved right away. Unfortunately, there can be hundreds of reasons why your AC unit isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a number of problems that are more prevalent, and determining what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning Expert is discussing 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 cooling system to malfunction.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat directs your AC system when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are wrong, your air conditioning may not function properly. And if the batteries ran out in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Run through this brief checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and working properly:

  • Change batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models)
  • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models)
  • Verify that it’s switched to cooling mode
  • Ensure your set temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Dirty or inefficient air filters are notorious for turning a perfectly functional and reliable air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. What's more, dirty filters can cause multiple problems, like decreased airflow, reduced indoor air quality and higher power usage. They can also make your air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil ices over.

You can easily reduce the risk of AC problems by regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know if you should change your filters? If you can’t recall the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a standard rule of thumb, make sure you try to exchange flat filters every month and pleated filters every three months.

3. Frozen Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner’s coils are essential components because they emit heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the summer, ice can develop on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as easily, and in some cases sufficient ice can keep the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be linked to different issues, including:

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

If your air conditioner is frozen, turn it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This could take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This will blow warm air on the coils without starting a cooling cycle.

It’s smart to examine your air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it out. The other challenges, including dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will need professional assistance.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your cooling uses refrigerant to transfer heat. When it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you could notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are some signs you’re dealing with a leak:

  • Not enough cold air
  • Home seems humid
  • Excessively long cooling cycles
  • Ice on the evaporator coils
  • Dripping or hissing air conditioner sounds
  • Sweet smell nearby the air conditioner

If your cooling was installed before 2011, it likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being produced as a consequence of its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled quantities are obtainable, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to fix.

If your R-22 AC unit is struggling with a refrigerant leak, we recommend air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. Modern air conditioners use 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 equipped for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which offers you a new air conditioner for just one reasonable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are included, and you’ll get to keep any valuable manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

Your AC unit uses a condensate drain line to flush water it removes from the air. If you’ve avoided 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.

Shut 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 air conditioner is repeatedly tripping its circuit breaker. Here are some of the most widespread ones:

  • Dirty air filter is gravely constraining airflow.
  • Your cooling is overheating because of a lack of refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose.
  • Blower motor is faulty.
  • Compressor is drawing too much power or wiring is defective.
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has broken down.

As we outlined earlier, inspect your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will need to be addressed by an HVAC expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an irritating issue when the air conditioner turns off before the desired temperature has covered the remainder of the house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, watch 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 close to a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your cooling 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 atypical cooling cycles are often a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components shut the AC off. This happens over and over, especially if the source of the overheating isn’t resolved.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The best way for you to minimize air conditioning problems is to sign up for a preventive maintenance agreement. At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we provide several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Bad wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and solved with routine maintenance.

Sometimes repairs are unavoidable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll enjoy special discounts on service, 24/7/365 priority service, no trip or overtime charges and more. Ready to join a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Contact us at (713) 352-7887 today!