Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s AC system goes on the fritz, you should try to get the situation taken care of at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, there may be dozens of reasons why your AC unit isn’t functioning properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a handful of problems that are more common, and determining what they are is beneficial when your Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts Expert is going over options for fixing the problem through air conditioning repair in North America.

ere are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your cooling system to stop working.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat instructs your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are wrong, your air conditioning may not run properly. And if the batteries ran out in a programmable thermostat, it won't be accessible at all. Follow this quick checklist to make sure 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)
  • Verify that it’s in cooling mode
  • Ensure your set temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Old or inefficient air filters are notorious for turning a perfectly functional and effective air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In addition, dirty filters can cause multiple problems, like reduced airflow, poorer indoor air quality and excessive power consumption. They can also make your AC unit work harder and stop working if the coil freezes.

You can easily reduce the risk of AC problems by consistently cleaning or replacing the air filter. How do you know when you should change your filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost certainly time to. But for a standard recommendation, 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 discharge heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even in the middle of the summer, ice can form on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to manage the cooling process as easily, and in severe cases sufficient ice can stop the AC from running entirely.

Freezing can be related to multiple issues, such as:

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

If your air conditioner is frozen, switch it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This could take up to 24 hours, but you can quicken the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This should blow warm air over the coils without starting a refrigeration cycle.

It’s smart to examine the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it. The other issues, including dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will require professional assistance.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your air conditioning system uses refrigerant to convert heat. When it doesn’t have adequate refrigerant, you may notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are some signs you’re confronting a leak:

  • Not enough cold air
  • Home seems humid
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles
  • Ice forming on the evaporator coils
  • Dribbling or hissing air conditioner sounds
  • Sweet smell around the air conditioner

If your cooling was installed prior to 2011, it probably uses Freon® or R-22. This coolant is no longer being made due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled quantities are accessible, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to correct.

If your R-22 air conditioning system is struggling with a refrigerant leak, we suggest air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. Newer air conditioners use Puron or R-410A, which is more sustainable for the environment.

We realize that replacing your AC system can be an emergency that you aren’t prepared for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which gives you a new air conditioner for just one reasonable monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are included, and you’ll get to keep any valuable manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

Your air conditioner uses a condensate drain line to flush water it strips from the air. If you’ve avoided air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become plugged up with mold and cause water to back up. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

Switch off your air conditioner to prevent damage and call us at 866-397-3787 for assistance.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

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

  • Dirty air filter is significantly limiting airflow.
  • Your air conditioning system is running too hot caused by inadequate refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has malfunctioned and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are worn or loose.
  • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
  • Compressor is drawing excessive power or wiring is defective.
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has gone out.

As we discussed earlier, inspect your air filter first, as that is most often the culprit. Any other problems will need to be resolved by an HVAC expert like Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts.

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also cause problems. Short cycling is an annoying malfunction when the unit turns off before the set temperature has reached the entire house. If you think your air conditioner is short cycling, watch how long the air is on before it switches off. Your standard air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for around the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is turning on and off in small bursts.

This places heavy strain on moving parts and critical components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of atypical cooling cycles are often a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components switch the AC off. This happens repeatedly, especially if the real 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 minimize air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance program. At Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts, we promote several HVAC memberships to suit your needs and budget. Faulty wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and corrected through routine maintenance.

Occasionally repairs are inescapable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll receive special discounts on service, 24/7/365 priority service, no trip or overtime charges and more. Ready to sign up for a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Get in touch with us at 226-773-3357 today!

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