Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

When your home’s air conditioner breaks down, you deserve to get the problem resolved at the earliest opportunity. However, there can be dozens of reasons why your air conditioner isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is impacting you? There are a number of problems that are more prevalent, and determining what they are is helpful when your Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Expert is reviewing routes for resolving the problem through air conditioning repair in North America. 

Here are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your cooling system to break down. 

1. Thermostat Problems 

Your thermostat instructs your cooling when to start and for how long to run. If its settings are inaccurate, your cooling may not function properly. And if the batteries died in a programmable thermostat, you won’t be able to use it at all. Try this brief checklist to confirm your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly: 

  • Change 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 preferred temperature is below the current room temperature 

2. Dirty Air Filter 

Old or inefficient air filters are known for turning a perfectly functional and reliable air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. In fact, dirty filters could cause a number of problems, including reduced airflow, lower indoor air quality and greater power use. They can also make your air conditioning work harder and stop working if the coil ices over. 

You can easily avoid AC problems by consistently cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know whether you should change the filters? If you can’t remember the last time you changed them, it’s almost surely time to. But for a basic rule of thumb, make sure you try to replace 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 summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as smoothly, and in certain cases sufficient ice can stop the AC from running outright. 

Freezing can be connected to multiple issues, like: 

  • Dirty coils caused by ignoring annual maintenance 
  • Dirty air filters, which restrict airflow 
  • Clogged drain line, which can trigger moisture buildup 
  • Refrigerant leaks, which reduce cooling power 

If your air conditioner freezes, turn it off and let the coils thaw. This will sometimes take up to 24 hours, but you can quicken the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This blows warm air over the coils without beginning a refrigeration cycle. 

It’s a good idea to inspect the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it out. The other problems, such as dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, will need the support of a trained technician. 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

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

  • Insufficient cold air 
  • Home seems humid 
  • Longer than normal cooling cycles 
  • Ice on the evaporator coils 
  • Dripping or hissing air conditioner sounds 
  • Sweet smell near the air conditioner 

If your air conditioning system was installed before 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being produced because of its detrimental effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled portions of Freon are available, which makes refrigerant leaks more costly to correct. 

If your R-22 air conditioner is dealing with a refrigerant leak, we recommend air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. New air conditioners use Puron or R-410A, which is better for the environment. 

We understand that replacing your cooling can be an emergency that you aren’t equipped for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which gives you a new air conditioner for just one low monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are incorporated, and you’ll get to retain any useful manufacturer’s rebates. 

5. Water Leak 

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

Turn 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 number of reasons why your air conditioner won’t stop tripping its circuit breaker. Here are some of the most prevalent ones: 

  • Dirty air filter is significantly constraining airflow. 
  • Your air conditioner overheated due to a lack of refrigerant. 
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restraining airflow. 
  • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating. 
  • Electrical connections are worn or loose. 
  • Blower motor is faulty. 
  • Compressor is drawing excess power or wiring is faulty. 
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has gone out. 

Like we mentioned earlier, check your air filter first, as that is most likely to be the culprit. Any other problems should be addressed by an HVAC expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 

7. Short Cycling 

A faulty cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an irritating error when the system turns off before the desired temperature has covered the entire house. If you believe your AC unit is short cycling, listen to how long the air is active before it turns off. Your standard air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays inactive for around a similar period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is running on and off in small bursts. 

This adds heavy strain on moving parts and key components like the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of irregular cooling cycles are frequently a consequence of overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components turn the AC off. This happens repeatedly, namely if the real cause of the overheating isn’t dealt with. 

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs 

The ideal way for you to prevent air conditioning problems is to participate in a preventive maintenance plan. At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we promote several HVAC memberships to suit your needs and budget. Bad wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and corrected with routine service. 

In some cases 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 join a membership program or to arrange your repair appointment? Call us at 866-397-3787 today! 

  • Zoning Systems: Control the Temperature in Every Room

    Central heating and air systems have radically changed home comfort and made it possible to stay completely cozy in any season or climate. But while centralized systems are a handy way to regulate the temperature, they at times fall short when it comes to evenly distributing heated or cooled air... Continue reading

  • Eight Upgrades to Boost Your Home HVAC System

    During the coldest time of the year in the U.S., there’s no better way to improve your home’s comfort than with some effective upgrades. It’s not just about keeping the house toasty warm as the snow begins to fall—it’s about boosting efficiency and improving the very air you breathe.... Continue reading

  • How to Find an Effective HVAC System

    In terms of keeping your home comfortable year-round, nothing is more critical than choosing the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This determination impacts your daily comfort, monthly utility costs and all-around home efficiency. However, with so many system types,... Continue reading