Image of an AC thermostat representing 8 Common Air Conditioner Problems and How to Prepare for Them​.

8 Common Air Conditioner Problems and How to Prepare for Them

If you are like most people, you hate air conditioning problems! Here are 8 common air conditioner problems and how you can prepare for them, so you are not stuck in unbearable heat.

For many people, turning on their air conditioner comes with a feeling of uncertainty.  Will it work properly, or is this the year of the costly repair or replacement?  We have good news for you!  Most common air conditioner problems won’t break the bank, and in many cases, you will know there is a potential problem long before you flip the switch from Heat to Cool.

Take a minute and read our guide to the 10 most common problems homeowners encounter when they turn on their air conditioner.  Not only do we point out the issues, but we also give you tips on preparing for the repairs.

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1. Dirty Air Filters

While you might not have the dirtiest filter on the block, if you haven’t changed it since last summer, it could cause problems this year.

Air filters always play a role of gatekeeper for your HVAC system.  They trap fine dust particles, pet dander, and a range of allergens you would prefer not to have circulating inside your home.  Not only do air filters protect your clear airspace, but they also protect your furnace.

Have you ever noticed reduced airflow or uneven cooling? Always check your air filter first. If it is clogged with debris, it could cause your cooling system to overwork.

Although a dirty air filter is not a repair problem it is often the reason behind the wear and tear on the HVAC system.

2. The AC Will Not Turn On

There is nothing more frustrating than turning on the air on a hot day and hear nothing.

When the AC doesn’t kick on, start your troubleshooting with the thermostat.

First, make sure no one has bumped the thermostat from Cool to Heat.  It happens, so checking might save you the cost of an HVAC service call.

Finally, check the set-point.  You can’t expect the AC to kick on if you have set the thermostat higher than the room temperature in the house.  If the thermostat passes the initial check you may have a problem on the circuit/control board.  You can check to see if you have power coming into the unit with a volt stick.  Otherwise, consider calling us here at Better Built Heating and Cooling for a service call.

Even if there isn’t a problem today with the thermostat if you have not already upgraded to a programmable thermostat, consider doing so before temperatures heat up. 

Another thing to check with the AC won’t turn on is your electrical panel.  If you have a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse, your air conditioner with not turn on.

3. Evaporator Coils

Did you know that your evaporator coils can freeze?  Many people don’t realize even on ta hot day an essential AC component can freeze and hinder your system, at least until it defrost.

The evaporator coil absorbs heat from the air inside your home.  During the process of heat absorption, condensation builds up on the coils.  Several issues cause the coils to freeze: 

  • Dirty Air Filter 
  • Low Level of Refridrant
  • Dirt Buildup

Frozen evaporator coils slow down the air condition’s cooling ability.  If your coils freeze up, turn off the system and let the coils defrost.  In the meantime, contact us at Better Built Heating and Cooling to come out and fix the problem.

Condenser coils on the outside unit can also freeze.  You can help prevent it by cleaning the coils and keeping debris away from the condenser unit. 


4. AC Blows Hot Air

  Hot air blowing through your home on a hot day is frustrating. 

A variety of service issues can cause an air conditioner to blow hot or warm air.

We will start with the easy fixes by having you check the air filter first.  Then, check the coils on the outside unit and make sure they are not dirty. 

Next, make sure you don’t have any blocked air vents or loose ductwork. 

For the more complex issues. When hot air blows from your cooling system, and you don’t have dirty filter or coils, it is likely a compressor problem.  Compressors fail for many seasons:

  • Insufficient Lubricant
  • Blocked Suction Lines
  • Electrical Problems

Other than dirty coils, which you can usually clean yourself, the other issues will need help from an HVAC specialist. 

5. Your Compressor Stops Working

Your AC Compressor moves refrigerant through the cooling system so that it cools the air.  Compressors wear out because the y get constant use, but they also break down for multiple other reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Dirty Condenser Coils
  • Too Much or Too Little Refrigerant
  • Lack of Oil Lubricant 

A compressor also gives warning when it is on the brink of failure.  Your AC will blow warm air.

A defective compressor may also frequently trip the circuit breaker or fuse.  Other signs include shaking when the air conditioner kicks on and making unusual sounds.

Fixing a compressor can be as simple as cleaning the condenser coil.  You could also have a burned wire or a bad capacitor. 

6. Leaking Refrigerant Causes a Cooling Crisis

It is not uncommon to discover a refrigerant leak when your Air conditioner quits cooling your home.  Refrigerant leaks almost always require help from an HVAC technician.

In the old days, a savvy homeowner could give a cooling system a freon fix, but due to government regulations the R-22 phased out the program.  

If you have a refrigerant leak, it is time to consider replacing your air conditioner.

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7. Leaky Ductwork

Your ductwork plays a critical role in the proper functioning of your air conditioner. Ductwork moves cold air from the inside AC unit and pushes it out through the air vents.  Leaky ducts pose a problem for cooling systems because they allow cool air to escape before it even gets into your indoor air space.

You don’t want gaps in the ductwork to let cool air escape.  A simple fix is covering the leak with duct tape. IF you have crushed ductwork or damaged joints, the remedy is usually replacing those pieces. 

8. Fan Motor

If your system isn’t pushing air through the vents at all, you likely have a fan motor issue.

The fan motor pumps air through the system and circulates it into your home.  Once the fan motor breaks down, you will have no circulation of cool air.  Your fan motor works hard and receives a lot of wear and tear.  It is one of the parts most often repaired or replaced.  While it is possible to troubleshoot a fan motor issue on your own, it is best if you call one of our qualified HVAC technicians to check things out and make the repairs. 

You don’t want gaps in the ductwork to let cool air escape.  A simple fix is covering the leak with duct tape. IF you have crushed ductwork or damaged joints, the remedy is usually replacing those pieces. 

Need Help Troubleshooting Common Air Conditioner Problems?

Now that you know a little more about common air conditioner problems, you will want to make sure you make repairs as soon as you detect a problem.

Most problems do not just go away without intervention and waiting too long in calling one of our professional technicians could risk further damage to your cooling system.  If you need help troubleshooting, or if you would like to schedule a repair, give us a call!

WE are also able to set you up with a routine maintenance program so that we can detect problems early in the game before your system breaks down on a hot day. 

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