Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s AC system goes on the fritz, you want to get the problem dealt with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there could be countless of reasons why your AC unit isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is causing trouble? There are a number of problems that are more prevalent, and determining what they are is helpful when your Fras-Air/General Service Experts Expert is reviewing options for resolving the problem through air conditioning repair in North America.

ere are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your air conditioning to malfunction.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat tells your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If the settings are incorrect, your cooling might not work properly. And if the batteries have died in a programmable thermostat, it won't be accessible at all. Try this quick checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly:

  • Replace 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 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 fact, dirty filters could cause multiple problems, including decreased airflow, poorer indoor air quality and excessive power usage. They can also make your air conditioner work harder and stop working if the coil freezes.

You can easily reduce the risk of AC problems by regularly 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 general guideline, make sure you try to change flat filters each month and pleated filters every three months.

3. Frozen Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner’s coils are essential components because they release heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even during the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to manage the cooling process as precisely, and in severe cases sufficient ice can block the AC from running entirely.

Freezing can be related to multiple issues, like:

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

If your air conditioner has frozen, shut it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This could take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This blows warm air on the coils without starting a cooling cycle.

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

4. Refrigerant Leak

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

  • Not enough cold air
  • Home is humid
  • Excessively long cooling cycles
  • Ice forming on the evaporator coils
  • Dripping or hissing air conditioner sounds
  • Sweet smell nearby the air conditioner

If your cooling was installed before 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being made as a consequence of its damaging effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled supplies are obtainable, which makes refrigerant leaks more costly to correct.

If your R-22 AC unit is struggling with a refrigerant leak, we advocate for 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 recognize that replacing your cooling can be an emergency that you aren’t equipped for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which offers you a new air conditioner for just one low monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are included, and you’ll get to keep any worthwhile 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 skipped air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become plugged up with mold and cause water to flood the system. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

Shut off your air conditioner to avoid damage and get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 for support.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a few reasons why your cooling is repeatedly tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most common ones:

  • Dirty air filter is gravely constraining airflow.
  • Your air conditioning system is running too hot caused by a lack of refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are strained or loose.
  • Blower motor is faulty.
  • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is defective.
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has gone out.

As we mentioned earlier, examine your air filter first, as that is most commonly the culprit. Any other problems will need to be addressed by an HVAC professional like Fras-Air/General Service Experts.

7. Short Cycling

A faulty cooling cycle can also be part of the problem. Short cycling is a frustrating malfunction when the unit turns off before the set temperature has covered the rest of the house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, watch how long the air is on before it turns off. Your standard air conditioner generally runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for about a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is running on and off in quick bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and critical components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of atypical cooling cycles are routinely a result of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot and then safety components turn the AC off. This happens repeatedly, namely if the source of the overheating isn’t addressed.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The number one way for you to minimize air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance agreement. At Fras-Air/General Service Experts, we provide several HVAC memberships to fit your needs and budget. Bad wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be found and corrected through routine service.

Occasionally repairs are inevitable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll benefit from special discounts on service, 24/7/365 priority service, no trip or overtime charges and more. Ready to enroll in a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Call us at 908-448-2154 today!

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