When summer comes along, you need your air conditioner to run without a hitch. What do you do, though, if it doesn’t? Don’t worry. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) experts at Sears Home Services can troubleshoot your air conditioner to get it running smoothly again. Use this air conditioning (AC) troubleshooting list to help you identify some common air conditioner problems and identify solutions.
Air Conditioner Not Cooling
Air Conditioner Won’t Blow Cold Air
If your AC system turns on but doesn’t blow out cold air, ensure all the vents are open and the thermostat is set properly. If these aren’t the problem, check the air filter. If it’s clogged with dirt or other debris, you won’t get any air flow. Since the clog may cause the evaporator coils to freeze, the ice and frost will clog the air flow even more. If that’s the problem, clean the filter with a soft brush, mild soap, and water. Clean and change your filter often to avoid that problem in the future. You may also have a problem with the fan or fan motor. If the fan turns easily, you may have a problem getting electrical power to the motor or a leak in the refrigerant line. In these cases, you’ll probably require a qualified HVAC technician to come inspect the unit.
Air Conditioner Not Cooling Enough
Check your vents to make sure all of them are open. If even one of them is closed, it can make it more difficult to cool your entire home, since the warm air from the room with the closed vent will mix with the cooled air from the others. Otherwise, you may have another problem, such as a leak in your refrigerant line. If your system is old or was installed improperly, it may be wearing out or is the wrong size for your home. Systems that are too large for your home will cycle on and off too quickly, reducing their efficiency. A system that’s too small for your home will work harder to cool your home, leading to premature breakdown.
Air Conditioner Leaking Water
Air Conditioner Leaking Water Inside
To avoid costly water damage, turn your air conditioner off if it leaks water inside your home. Your condensate drain line might be clogged up, causing water to back up into your home. DIYers can try using a wet/dry vacuum to unclog the line. If that doesn’t work, your drain pan may have rusted out or your condensate pump may have broken down. Your technician will be able to replace or repair the damaged parts.
Air Conditioner Leaking Water Outside
On hot or humid days, you might see a little puddle of water under your condenser unit. In hot, humid weather, that’s normal, as long as it only forms while the unit is working. In cool weather—usually, 60 degrees or less—an air conditioner can freeze up, causing the unit to leak water when it melts which is also normal. If it’s leaking in other circumstances, try cleaning or replacing your air filters. If that doesn’t fix the problem, schedule a service call. You may need more refrigerant, have a blockage in your drain pipe, or have a broken condensate pan.
Air Conditioner Leaking Water When Turned Off
If your system is low on refrigerant or has a dirty filter, the system may freeze up when it’s working. After you turn it off, the ice melts, causing it to leak water. Don’t risk water damage from your air conditioner leaking water on the floor or ceiling. If cleaning your filter doesn’t help, don’t turn your AC system on again until you have identified and fixed the problem. As with outside leaks, you may have a blockage or a broken condensate pan.
Air Conditioner Won’t Turn Off
Air Conditioner Won’t Stop Running
If your AC stays on longer than it should, you may have a dirty filter. Clean or replace your filter to see if that remedies the situation. If your system is older or improperly sized, it also can cause the system to work too hard, cycle too often, and have difficulty shutting off. Other problems that may cause your AC to run constantly include:
- A stuck fan relay
- A short in the thermostat cable
- A thermostat that’s gone bad
Central Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On
If your central air system doesn’t come on, it may be as simple as to adjust the thermostat. If that doesn’t work, call a technician as your HVAC system may need to be repaired or replaced.
AC Window Unit Won’t Kick On
Similarly, with a window unit, you first should check the temperature setting on the unit and make sure that electrical current is flowing into the system. Again, if neither of those troubleshooting efforts locates the problem, call for professional help for AC window unit repair .
AC Fan Not Working
AC Fan Not Working Inside
If your AC indoor fan isn’t working, first check to make sure a breaker hasn’t been tripped. If all is OK, check your air filter. If it’s blocked, then you may be able to fix it yourself. If there’s ice on the evaporator coil and refrigerant lines, allow the ice to melt, then check again to see if the fan is working. If it isn’t working, that might have caused your coil to freeze. A frozen coil requires a service call, because your technician may need to replace the contacts inside the fan relay, the fan belt, or the even the motor itself.
AC Fan Not Working Outside
When your AC isn’t cooling properly, you may want to check your outdoor unit. If the outdoor fan isn’t spinning, first check the breaker or fuse box. If a reset doesn’t correct the problem, there may be a couple of problems at work here.
- Start capacitor not working: If your compressor is still working, your fan’s motor or start capacitor may not be working. You can try to troubleshoot it by pushing the fan with a wooden stick. Don’t do it by hand, since if the fan does start, it could cut your fingers. If it still doesn’t start to spin, you need to call your local technician. Turn your unit off until she or he comes. If you don’t, you risk burning out your compressor—a major repair.
- Outdoor fan motor stuck: Dirt or rust may have caused the fan to get stuck. If the unit requires more extensive repairs, you may need to repair or replace the outdoor fan motor.
After you repair your AC system, make it a point to have your local Sears air conditioning professional stop by on a yearly basis for a maintenance checkup. With regular service, your system will last longer, work more efficiently, and save you money on your energy bills in the long run. You can’t go wrong with the air conditioning experts here at Sears Home Services. We’re here for your home.