Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s AC system malfunctions, you deserve to get the problem dealt with right away. However, there can be hundreds of reasons why your cooling isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a handful of problems that are more common, and recognizing what they are is handy when your Sunbeam Service Experts Expert is reviewing available choices for solving the problem through air conditioning repair in North America. 

Here are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your cooling system to break down. 

1. Thermostat Problems 

Your thermostat instructs your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If the thermostat settings are wrong, your cooling might not run properly. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Follow this brief checklist to ensure 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) 
  • Check that it’s currently on cooling mode 
  • Ensure your desired temperature is below the current room temperature 

2. Dirty Air Filter 

Old or inefficient air filters are infamous for turning a perfectly functional and reliable air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In addition, dirty filters could cause multiple problems, including weaker airflow, poorer indoor air quality and excessive power usage. They can also make an air conditioning work harder and stop working if the coil freezes up. 

You can easily avoid AC problems by routinely cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know when you should change the filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a basic rule of thumb, make sure you try to change flat filters once a month and pleated filters every three months. 

3. Frozen Condenser Coils 

Your air conditioner’s coils are crucial components because they emit heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as precisely, and in certain cases enough ice can stop the AC from running entirely. 

Freezing can be linked to multiple issues, such as: 

  • Dirty coils caused by insufficient annual maintenance 
  • Dirty air filters, which restrict airflow 
  • Clogged drain line, which can result in moisture buildup 
  • Refrigerant leaks, which reduce cooling power 

If your air conditioner is frozen, switch it off and let the coils thaw. This can take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This will blow warm air over the coils without going through a cooling cycle. 

It’s a good idea to examine the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, replace it. The other problems, such as dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will require professional help. 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

Your air conditioner employs refrigerant to transfer heat. When it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you could notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a couple signs you’re confronting a leak: 

  • Insufficient cold air 
  • Home seems humid 
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles 
  • Ice on the evaporator coils 
  • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner noises 
  • Sweet smell around the air conditioner 

If your cooling was installed before 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled quantities are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to repair. 

If your R-22 air conditioning system has a refrigerant leak, we suggest air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. New air conditioners employ Puron or R-410A, which is superior for the environment. 

We realize that replacing your cooling can be an emergency that you aren’t ready for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which provides you a new air conditioner for just one low monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are covered, and you’ll get to keep any worthwhile manufacturer’s rebates. 

5. Water Leak 

Your AC unit uses a condensate drain line to flush water it strips from the air. If you’ve overlooked air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become clogged with mold and cause water to flood the system. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking. 

Shut off your air conditioner to minimize damage and contact us at 866-397-3787 for assistance. 

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker 

There can be a number of reasons why your air conditioner won’t stop tripping its circuit breaker. Here are some of the most prevalent ones: 

  • Dirty air filter is significantly restricting airflow. 
  • Your air conditioner is running too hot because of a lack of refrigerant. 
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow. 
  • Condenser fan motor has malfunctioned and coils are overheating. 
  • Electrical connections are strained or loose. 
  • Blower motor is defective. 
  • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is defective. 
  • Capacitor responsible for starting the compressor has gone out. 

As we mentioned earlier, inspect your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will have to be addressed by an HVAC pro like Sunbeam Service Experts. 

7. Short Cycling 

A faulty cooling cycle can also be part of the problem. Short cycling is a frustrating error when the air conditioner turns off before the expected temperature has covered the rest of the house. If you suspect your air conditioner is short cycling, listen to how long the air is active before it shuts off. Your ordinary air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for around an equivalent period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioner is turning on and off in short bursts. 

This adds heavy strain on moving parts and vital components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of abnormal cooling cycles are frequently a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components switch the AC off. This happens repeatedly, namely if the root cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with. 

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs 

The best way for you to avoid air conditioning problems is to sign up for a preventive maintenance agreement. At Sunbeam Service Experts, we provide several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be discovered and corrected during routine service. 

Occasionally 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? Get in touch with us at 716-427-6807 today! 

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