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Is Your AC Not Working? Here Are 10 Common HVAC Problems

Did you know July is the hottest month of the year? As the hotter season nears, the importance of ensuring that the HVAC unit is performing as expected increases.

If you haven’t done it yet, this is the perfect time to service your system, which ensures proper operation and savings on money and energy.

If you have been experiencing problems, from uneven cooling to an AC not working properly, call out a qualified professional to look at the unit and pinpoint the reason. The issue can be as simple as having forgotten to plug it in (it happens!), or as complex as a broken component.

Let’s dive into these reasons a little more and learn how to fix these problems as well.

AC Not Working

If your AC stopped working suddenly and it doesn’t turn on, it might be having electrical problems or there are underlying issues that require a deeper look.

In the former case, make sure first that it is receiving power; check if you plugged it into a working outlet and investigate the main electrical panel and secondary circuit panels. There might be a blown fuse or a tripped breaker.

If those are working as they should, then the problem likely lies within your air conditioning system. The culprit might be some loose wires, a bad capacitor, a dirty fuse, or thermostat issues.

How to Fix It

If the breaker is the problem, reset it, and if there’s a blown fuse, replace it. If the breaker problem persists, consult an electrician to pinpoint and solve the problem.

Fix the loose wires and clean the fuse if you can handle it. Test the capacitor in the compressor if it’s working as well. If you don’t know how to do that, ask a trained technician to handle it for you to avoid causing more problems.

Clogged Condenser Unit

Air conditioning systems have a condenser unit that can either be outside or in a separate mechanical room. A unit outside is especially prone to obstruction due to debris that can accumulate around it or plants that can block it. In a room, equipment or other items might block it.

Obstructions restrict the airflow around the unit, affecting its efficiency dramatically. It can also cause your system to overheat as the condenser has to work harder to achieve nearly the same results.

How to Fix It

An AC not working due to dirt has a pretty simple solution: clean its surroundings. Trim or move the plants blocking the airflow and remove debris by hand or by vacuuming it.

Place plants, furniture, and other items at least 2 to 3 feet away from all sides of the condenser. Give your condenser at least five feet of clearance above the unit as well.

Low Refrigerant Levels

If the compressor is the heart of the whole HVAC system, then the refrigerant liquid is the blood. When this liquid runs low, the compressor overheats and eventually stops. This may be another reason your AC stopped working.

notice that the level is low if it doesn’t cool the room. If the air feels sticky, that’s a sign as well because low refrigerant levels can cause heat and humidity to remain in the air.

How to Fix It

If the low level is due to undercharged refrigerant liquid, you’ll need an HVAC technician to perform the air conditioning troubleshooting process. They will know the right amount to put in your system and they will check for leakage, too. If there are leaks, it’s another problem altogether.

Refrigerant Liquid Leakage

HVAC systems often suffer from leaking refrigerant liquid, which may happen due to the vibrations as the system operates. This can result in an AC not working.

When there’s a leakage, the system cools too much. This may cause the evaporator coil to freeze up as the temperature drops below the dew point.

How to Fix It

You’ll also need a qualified technician to fix this problem for you. They will fix the leaks and charge the refrigerant levels back to the right amount after removing the remaining liquid. If there are multiple leaks, you may have to replace the whole unit.

Clogged and Dirty Filters

If you notice your bill suddenly going up, the air filters in your AC system might be the offenders.

Filters remove the dust in the air to keep them out of the equipment and ducts in your system. This clogs the filter over time, blocking the airflow and causing the system to work extra harder. This can drive up the energy cost and if you don’t fix it right away, it shortens the life of the system.

How to Fix It

Replace your filters every 3 months or whatever the manufacturer suggests. If you use the AC frequently, you may have to change once a month. If it’s the other way around, such as in a vacation home, you can change it every 6 to 12 months.

Being diligent in replacing filters when needed also benefits your health.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

When there’s an AC not working as it should, it might also be the thermostat.

This regulates the production of hot and cold air as well as the timing of when the system should do it. Issues with the thermostat may cause fluctuating temperatures, or it may also cause the AC to run continuously even if it has reached the set temperature. The sensor might be loose, or the thermostatic expansion valve might be problematic.

How to Fix It

In some cases of an air conditioner not working, the thermostat may have turned off by accident or have a low battery. Ensure that it’s on before you do air conditioner troubleshooting. If it has a low battery, you may have to replace it.

See also if you have set the right thermostat settings by consulting the thermostat instruction manual. If not, you may have to call a technician to recalibrate the settings of your programmable thermostat or replace the unit entirely with a smart thermostat.

Clogged or Leaky Ducts

Clogged AC filters also cause clogged ducts. When dust and grime accumulate in the ductwork, the water may flow back into the ducts and cause overflowing in the drain pan. This damages the components of the system.

Holes and cracks might also appear on the ducts over time, which then causes the air to leak out. If that’s the case, you might notice that some rooms are cool while others are not. This is because of an improper airflow that causes the whole system to work harder, thus increasing your electric bills.

How to Fix It

When you have an AC not working, check the drain pan to see if there’s any water. If so, empty the pan and flush out the drain line. Then, hire a technician to do a thorough cleaning of the ducts, including the grilles, fans, coils, and more.

A regular maintenance and inspection schedule should spot holes and cracks right away. Have a technician do the fixing as well to avoid further damages.

Frozen or Cracked Evaporator Coils

Evaporator coils can freeze up because of at least three reasons: low refrigerant levels, blocked return air grilles, and clogged filters that limit the airflow in the coils. When there’s a lack of airflow, the temperature drops to the point that the evaporator coils freeze up.

How to Fix It

Check the return air grilles to see if there’s something obstructing the airflow and remove the obstruction if that’s the case. If clogged air filters are the issue, replace the filters. Remember to allow the evaporator coils to thaw after doing these procedures and before turning on the system.

When you find that the evaporator coils are dirty during the air conditioner troubleshooting process, make sure to clean it as well with the right cleaners and brushes.

Inspect the blower motor as well to see if it’s running, as the evaporator coils will freeze when it’s not operating. To cover every base, have an HVAC contractor over to check for leaks and to make sure that there’s no other problem in the system.

Faulty Heat Pumps

In extreme cold conditions or if the thermostat has very low-temperature settings, the indoor coil may ice up. This then causes icing up within the pumps, leading to a decrease in performance. The iced-up indoor coils may also cause the ductwork to sweat that might damage the walls or the ceiling.

How to Fix It

You must maintain the appropriate level temperature, which should be above 70 degrees when you’re using the heat pumps. Below that level can cause the indoor coils to freeze up and cause an AC not working right.

Have an HVAC technician install a low ambient kit as well. This ensures that the heat pumps are operating as normal when you need air conditioning during the winter, such as in buildings and restaurants.

Natural Wear and Tear

Regular maintenance and proper usage only ensure that you get the most out of your HVAC unit. This doesn’t prevent the normal wear and tear that the mechanical parts inside of the system are susceptible to.

You may notice that the performance is not the same as time presses on. The system may also experience some heat control-related issues due to weakened components.

How to Fix It

An HVAC professional can spot the components, such as belts, bearings, and motors, that need fixing or replacement. Most of the times, this resolves any issue that a unit may have and return it to near to 100% working order.

They should also be able to assess whether the unit is too old or too damaged for repairs. You may have to replace the unit instead.

Take Care of Your Unit and Buy Quality Materials

You can avoid an AC not working or other problems via regular maintenance by a competent HVAC contractor. Detecting problems should be easier nowadays, especially when an artificial intelligence-based service can do this instead of people.

Get only quality materials to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your HVAC unit. Choose from our wide array great HVAC air filters.

4 thoughts on “Is Your AC Not Working? Here Are 10 Common HVAC Problems”

  1. My husband and I noticed that our HVAC unit is not colling our house like it used to. As you mentioned that is a sign that our unit is not working correctly. I will call an HVAC contractor for a checkup to prevent future damage to my unit.

  2. I like how you said that if your AC stopped working suddenly and it doesn’t turn on, it might be having electrical problems. My mom told me that she tried to turn on her AC system last night but that it was making a weird noise. I will help her contact an AC repair company so that they can repair it as soon as possible.

  3. It was helpful when you explained that a professional will be able to tell if our unit needs to be replaced instead of repaired. My home’s AC system needs to be looked at because the air coming from the vents hasn’t felt as cold as it should for the last three days. Thanks for helping me see why hiring a professional to take a look at the system would be the best way forward!

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