For those of us who rely on our air conditioners to get us through the hot summer months, there’s nothing worse than discovering your AC isn’t working, usually on the hottest day of the year. While you may not know exactly why it’s not working, there’s a good chance it’s has something to do with one or two of the below reasons. Read through the possible causes so that you have a better idea of what’s going on when your HVAC specialist comes to get the cool air flowing again.
1. Dirty Air Filter
Before calling in a pro, check the condition of your air filter. Air filters collect general house dust and pet hair and can become quite dirty quickly. If your air filter is clogged with dirt, this will reduce the airflow through the unit causing a decrease in efficiency and making it hard to keep your home cool. If you haven’t cleaned or replaced your air filter in some time, do it now. It’s recommended that filters on central AC units have their air filter changed roughly once a month. If your home is full of fluffy pets, consider changing it more frequently.
2. Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring is never a good thing to have in your home. It’s no different when it comes to your air conditioner. Faulty wiring can prevent the system from getting power, trip the circuit breaker, or even be the cause of an electrical fire. If you’re concerned about the wiring in your unit, be sure to have a pro check it out and do not attempt to DIY.
3. Low or Leaking Refrigerant
Refrigerant is the chemical that is used to cool the air that comes out of your AC system. If your unit has low levels of refrigerant, this means there is either a leak or a problem with the system (also referred to as being “undercharged”). If your system needs to be recharged with refrigerant, this is a very good indication that there is a leak. Refrigerant is harmful to the environment and should not be handled by you or anyone else in your home. Be sure to bring in a certified and trained AC specialist who can test and repair the leak.
4. Outside Fan is Broken
The fan on your outside unit is responsible for pulling the heat from your home to the outside. If your outside fan isn’t working right, proper heat transfer cannot happen properly. This can cause the AC compressor to overheat and even trip the safety overload. Worst of all it may cause internal damage to the compressor. To ensure your safety, do not attempt to repair this yourself. Instead, connect with a pro who can take a look and properly repair your broken fan.
5. Covered Compressor
If your AC has an outdoor compressor unit, make sure there’s a good amount of space around it so that the air can circulate properly. Experts recommend at least 2 to 3 feet of space between the unit and any plants or structures, and at least 5 feet of clearance above. If you have any plants or shrubs that could get in the way, be sure to clear them before the hot days begin. If you need help trimming around your unit, you can hire a landscaping company to stay on top of the maintenance.
6. Frozen Coil
There are several causes for a frozen coil and all of them are bad news for your AC. A frozen coil could mean that there’s an issue with the airflow, either caused by a dirty air filter or an obstruction blocking the return air ductwork. A frozen coil could also be caused by low refrigerant. You can check by looking at your unit for frost build up around or on the coil.
7. Faulty Thermostat
Having an old or faulty thermostat can result in issues with your AC. If your thermostat isn’t working correctly, this may cause your unit to cycle on and off more frequently or stop working altogether. Did you know that simple things like having your thermostat next to your television can cause issues? This is because your thermostat will pick up on the heat being generated by the television and cause your AC to work harder to cool down the room. Consider upgrading your thermostat to a modern digital one. There are many options available these days, many of which can be controlled right from your smartphone.
8. Missed Your Annual Appointment
It’s important to have your air conditioning unit serviced by a professional at least once a year. Doing so allows them to catch potential problems before it’s too late and you’re stuck sweating it out while you wait for an appointment. Bad wiring, low or leaking refrigerant and other problems can be discovered during a routine maintenance appointment.
If you’re ready to have your air conditioning issues solved, or just want someone to come by to perform a routine maintenance appointment, connect with a pro on HomeStars. You will be able to quickly and easily find a home service professional in your area who can help ensure you stay cool all summer long.
Article updated on June 4, 2019.