11 Common Reasons Your AC is Not Working

posted on 02/20/2020
11 Common Reasons Your AC is Not Working

Our air conditioning was not cooling and it left our house very humid and breathless. As it turns out, one of our coils sprang a leak and needed a replacement. Below are a few ideas to troubleshoot your AC problems.

1. Improper Installation

If you recently had a new system installed and your AC not blowing cold air, your HVAC company probably made a miscalculation. Your AC is cooling its own space but not the rest of your home. Aside from leaving your home hot and glutinous, it also increases your utility bills and the amount of dust.

The first thing that you should take note of is duct tape on the air ducts. Duct tape is a temporary solution and it generally doesn’t stay. Be sure to also audit the connecting joints for the appropriate seal.

2. Thermostat Settings

The thermostat not being on the desired setting is the most common reason for an AC not blowing cold air.

If it’s set to Fan mode, it will be ON constantly without blowing the cool air. This is because it’s meant to imitate the stand-alone fans that are designed to simply circulate air.

You simply need to switch your thermostat to Auto and the temperature that you desire. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to check for other things and call your HVAC company as soon as possible.

3. Refrigerant Leak

A refrigerant leak means cracks or leaks in the coils. These happen due to aging, excessive vibration or some toxic mineral build-up. Check your AC manufacturer’s refrigerant level and call your HVAC company as soon as possible.

4. Dirty Air Filter

Take note of the last time that you cleaned or replaced your filter. If you can’t remember, it’s definitely time to do so. A dirty air filter hinders the amount of cold air that’s able to get through because of the dust build-up blocking it. In the long run, it causes the evaporator coil to freeze and then spring a leak. Changing or cleaning your filters about once every six months or with the change of the seasons is usually best.

5. Frozen Air Handler

The evaporator coils are located behind the air filter. If they’re frozen, this prevents the air from coming into contact with the refrigerant. The first thing you should try is shutting your AC off for 24 hours to give the coils time to defrost.

After the coils have defrosted, check whether they’re dirty. If they are, you can try cleaning them with a tooth- or toilet brush. Caution is warranted with the fins and coils so try to avoid bending them. If your brush doesn’t move the grime, you can try adding water or even an All-Purpose Green cleaner.

6. Dirty Air Condenser

The condenser is the part of the unit located outside of your home. If it’s full of natural or other debris or has dust, it’s time to clean it.

It’s a cause of your air conditioner not cooling because it can’t properly remove the hot air and then replace it with cool air.

All you need to do is gently hose your condenser down. However, be very careful not to use high-pressure water because it could cause further damage or worse, a need for replacement. Repairs and replacements can be very expensive and you don’t want to spend more than you have to on them.

7. Condenser Unit has broken AC Fan Motor

Since your air condenser is outside, it is one of the most vulnerable parts of your AC.

The fan is one of the most hardworking parts of the unit as it gets a constant run throughout the summer months. If it moves very slowly, not at all, or won’t stop moving, it could be due to debris clogging it, wear and tear or a failing capacitor. The very latter is a separate part that gives energy to the fan.

First, check that your thermostat’s on and for debris inside the fan. Then make sure that your air filter is clean and that your breaker is not tripped. If the issue still persists after that, call your HVAC company as soon as possible.

It’s also best if you schedule a yearly inspection from your HVAC company on an annual basis. It’s best to do so sometime in the spring before the summer months kick in. That way, any need for repairs or replacements will have a chance to be caught early.

8. Dirty Evaporator Coils

Dirty evaporator coils hinder your AC from being able to re-circulate the hot air into cooler air. Since they are a significant part of re-circulating the air from hot to cool, they build up grime over time. They are usually very easy to clean.

First, see if the grime will loosen with a toothbrush or toilet brush. If not, try adding water or a Green All-Purpose cleaner.

If you’re afraid that you may damage the coils if you attempt to clean them yourself, that’s best taken as a cue to call your HVAC company.

9. The Compressor Might Be Bad

Again, since your compressor is the part that’s located outside, it’s the most vulnerable part of your entire AC unit. It is so located to ensure that the air gets properly re-circulated from outside as well as inside of your home. Aside from being vulnerable to natural debris build-up, it is also very vulnerable to mineral build-up. It is also vulnerable to electric burnouts or the refrigerant levels not being up to par. In some cases, it’s a sign that it’s suction lines are blocked or are not of the right size.

A malfunctioning compressor usually requires in-depth and complicated repairs and/or replacements. It’s best to call your HVAC company to inspect your AC.

10. Blocked Vents Or Air Ducts

Closing your vents or air ducts to go green and/or save money may seem sound on the surface. However, it does not leave much room for your AC to cool your home much below 80 degrees. It also does not allow for hot air to be properly re-circulate. This actually causes your unit to work even harder which increases your bill in the long run. Even worse, it could cause a bunch of wear and tear in the process and a need for repairs or replacements.

If you do desire to go green or save money, some things that you can do are invest in a programmable thermostat, use sunlight to control the temperature in your home and make sure everything is installed properly. The programmable thermostat allows you to set a specific temperature for your home during the day. It’s recommended that you turn it down by approximately 10 degrees at night, which saves you both energy and money. As far as sunlight goes, simply keep your window’s blinds and curtains open during the day in winter and closed or lowered during the summer.

If you can afford it, replace your entire HVAC system with a new one. Your new one should be an ENERGY STAR or at least something that fits your unit’s size. ENERGY STAR is still the most efficient one around.

11. Electrical Issues

The three most common electrical issues in an AC unit are with the wiring, capacitors and the circuit breaker being overloaded. The wires are the most vulnerable part as they fray and corrode over time. All you can do there is have your HVAC company replace them.

Aged or damaged capacitors tend to be a top cause for the air conditioner not cooling. They trigger the motors on their start and run systems. As a result, when the capacitor malfunctions, so do the motors that depend on it.

The circuit breaker is essential to your home’s electric panel. If it’s malfunctioning, it’s time to have it checked by your HVAC company. That usually means that your AC is drawing too much power or the breaker is not properly aligned.

Final Thoughts

Whatever the reason for your AC not cooling, it’s essential to fix the issue as soon as you can. It’s not only about preventing your home from getting too hot and your bills from getting too expensive. It’s about your life and comfort.

Remember, if your AC is not cooling, check for dirt and grime or misalignment of any part. Be sure to keep your vents open.

Above all, never hesitate to call an HVAC company.