Your Guide to Common AC Issues and How to Tackle Them

Hello, homeowners! It’s your trusted team from American Heating And Cooling. Today, we’re going to talk about something that affects us all – air conditioning problems. We all love the comfort of a cool home, especially during those hot summer months. But what happens when your AC starts acting up? Don’t sweat it; we’ve got you covered!

Understanding Your Air Conditioning System

Before we dive into common problems, let’s take a moment to understand how your air conditioning system works. At its core, an AC unit takes in warm air and replaces it with cool air. It does this by drawing in warm air from your room, passing it over an evaporator coil filled with coolant, and then pushing the now-cooled air back into your room. The coolant, which heats up in the process, is then cooled down outside your home.

Different Types of Air Conditioning Systems

There are several types of air conditioning systems, each with its own set of potential issues. The most common types include:

  1. Central Air Conditioner: Ideal for larger homes, these systems use ducts to distribute cool air throughout your house.
  2. Ductless Mini-Split: Perfect for cooling a single room, these units are typically mounted high on a wall.

Common AC Problems and Solutions

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into some common AC problems and how to fix them.

1. Indoor Water Leak

If you notice water leaking from your indoor air conditioner unit, it might be due to a clogged condensate drain. Algae or fungi can cause the water to back up in the pipe and into your home. Another possible reason could be a broken condensate pump. To fix this, you can unclog the condensate pipe using a wet or dry vacuum. You can also pour 6 ounces of vinegar in the drain line to kill fungi or algae build-up.

2. Outdoor Water Leak

On hot summer days, you might witness a puddle of water outside the house under your air conditioner’s compressor. This could be because of several reasons: a dry air filter, broken condensate pans, bad AC seal, improper installation, etc. After diagnosing this issue, you should turn off your air conditioner and disconnect the power supply. You might need to call a professional for such an air conditioner problem.

3. AC Refrigerant Leak

AC refrigerant, or Freon, is responsible for cooling the air within your air conditioning system. A refrigerant leak can deteriorate your air conditioner’s efficiency and can also be harmful to your health and environment. Refrigerant leaks can happen as connections degrade over time, physical damage to your unit, or severe vibrations weaken refrigerant lines. In case of a minor leak, you must top up the refrigerant and apply a minor fix. In case of a larger fault within the pipes, the whole network might need to be changed.

4. Dirty AC Filter

Air conditioner filters play an important role in keeping the airflow clean and free from dust and pollutants. However, clogged air filters restrict the airflow, decreasing the efficiency of your air conditioning system. AC filters can get clogged as dirt particles are trapped in the filter and not cleaned for a longer time. Most air conditioning systems have replaceable filters that can be easily removed and replaced. If the filter is reusable, it can be cleaned by washing it with water and allowing it to dry completely before reinstalling it.

5. Damaged Compressor

One of the integral AC components is the compressor which helps refrigerants carry out heat exchange and regulate the AC pressure. Dirty coils, changes in refrigerant levels, and lack of lubrication can result in AC compressor failure. If your air conditioner is not cooling properly or detects a weak HVAC airflow, it is likely a compressor problem. Contact your local air conditioning service to solve this common AC problem. If there is severe damage, replacing the compressor is better than repairing it.

6. Frozen Evaporator Coil

If your air conditioner is not cooling properly, it could be due to a frozen evaporator coil. It occurs when your unit does not receive enough air to operate normally due to debris build-up. The dirt accumulated on the coils restricts the airflow, and warm air does not reach the refrigerant. In this case, the refrigerant becomes too cold, and moisture on the coils freezes. Over time, the coil is encased with ice, preventing the refrigerant in the coil from absorbing latent heat. This disrupts smooth air conditioning in your home.

7. Capacitor Failure

Sometimes, when your AC turns on and off abruptly, accompanied by a clicking sound, it signals a capacitor issue. A capacitor is an important part of your air conditioning unit, giving the motor an initial push to start working. The capacitor can overheat when your AC has to work hard in the extreme summer heat. Also, power fluctuations and frequent changes in the thermostat setting can damage your capacitor.

8. Thermostat Malfunctioning

One of the most common problems with home air conditioners is the thermostat malfunctioning. For example, if your air conditioner is short cycling and your space feels warmer than usual, a faulty thermostat is to be blamed. There might be a serious issue due to dust and corrosion build-up or a simple case of dead batteries. Loose screws or wires inside the thermostat can also affect its functioning. If you have placed your thermostat where it gets direct sunlight, it can be another reason to impact its reading. In addition, your thermostat might not function correctly due to incorrect calibration.

9. AC Making Noises

If you notice strange, loud AC noises from your unit, it signals an underlying AC problem. Often, people make the mistake of ignoring them, which becomes an even bigger issue. Therefore, it is better to reach the base of the problem as soon as possible. You can experience different types of noises, each with a different tale to tell. For example, grinding sound points toward the compressor or motor failure. If there is an obstruction in the AC fan or a capacitor issue, it will make clicking noises. A bubbling noise is produced due to a refrigerant leak or excess moisture in your unit.

10. Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

If your circuit breaker keeps tripping repeatedly, it can be because of a variety of issues, including power surge, capacitor failure, dirty filters or coils, low refrigerant levels, compressor failure, and issues with the circuit breaker itself. Once you notice this problem, turn off your AC and don’t try to reset the breaker, as it can cause a fire.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to preventing most of these issues. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable tackling these problems yourself, don’t hesitate to call us at American Heating And Cooling. We’re here to help keep your home cool and comfortable all year round. Stay cool, homeowners!