What should you do if your air conditioning system stops working? It depends, but whatever you do, act fast; temperatures can rise quickly inside your home. If your AC stops working during a heat wave, call us and book service right away to beat the crowd. If you have time to do some troubleshooting, you may be able to correct some air conditioner issues before you call us. Below are common air conditioner problems and how to fix them.
My AC is Blowing Hot Air
- If your air conditioner is working but the air that comes out of the vents is warm, it is possible that you have a frozen coil. When the air around the evaporator coil gets too cool, condensation can form and ice up the coil. Both central air conditioning systems and mini-split ductless systems have coils, and both can ice up. When ice forms on the coil, the buildup blocks airflow and can cause your AC system to fail completely. If you suspect your coil has iced up, get it thawing before your AC technician shows up! Your technician cannot work on it until it is thawed.
How to Thaw a Frozen Coil:
- Switch your thermostat to “Off”.
- Turn your fan to “On”.
- Let the coil thaw and dry completely.
- Look for the reason the coil is frozen and resolve it so it doesn’t happen again.
What Causes a Coil to Freeze
- Dirty air filters. Debris clogging your air filters can restrict airflow and prevent heat from entering your system. Filters should be changed (central AC) or cleaned (mini-split) at least every 3 months and whenever they are dirty.
- Dirty coils. Dirt on your evaporator coil can also restrict airflow and cause freezing. Coils are cleaned by your AC technician during your AC tune-up visit.
- Ductwork. Ductwork that has collapsed, vents that have been closed, improperly fitted ductwork, and ductwork with holes can cause reduced airflow which can cause your coil to freeze and your AC system to work harder and less efficiently. Have your AC technician check your ductwork for airflow problems.
- Refrigerant leaks. Eventually, most air conditioning systems develop leaks, which means they need to be replaced. If your system is older, you may have a leak that has caused your refrigerant to become low. Low refrigerant levels can cause your coil to ice up. Your AC technician can test your system for leaks and add more refrigerant if needed.
My AC Isn’t Blowing Much Air
- If you are getting cool air but not very much of it, your fix may be as simple as changing your air filter (central AC) or cleaning your air filter (mini-split) to allow more air to circulate. The other issue blocking airflow may be dirt on your outside condenser unit. The outside condenser fins get blocked with dirt, dust, and yard debris so they must be cleaned periodically.
How to Clean Your Outside Condenser
- Turn your AC off at the thermostat. Do not disconnect the power.
- Find a spray nozzle for your hose that gives a strong flow of water, but that is not so strong that it bends the condenser fins.
- Pointing the spray nozzle down, not into the unit, push the debris down off the coils with water coming from the spray nozzle.
- Turn your AC back on at the thermostat when finished.
- Schedule a complete professional cleaning and twice a year with your AC technician.
My AC Isn’t Working at All
- If your AC isn’t working at all, check the power to both the unit and to the thermostat. If your thermostat is powered by batteries, you may simply need to replace them. If your AC system breaker has been tripped, it may simply need to be reset. If your breaker trips frequently, call an electrician.
Your Air Conditioner Needs Twice Yearly Maintenance
If you have your air conditioning system maintained two times per year by a professional AC technician like Steve’s Plumbing & AC, you should never experience these issues. In regions where AC is only used during the summer months, annual tune-ups may be sufficient, but in regions like Hawaii and the southern United States where AC is used year-round, two tune-ups per year is recommended.
If you have not had your air conditioner tuned up for over 6 months, call us today. AC tune-ups should be performed by expert AC technicians like Steve’s Plumbing & AC. Tune-ups prevent the issues that cause your air conditioner to fail. They also increase the efficiency of your AC system and extend the life of your equipment, saving you money. Memberships like the Ohana Club can save you even more money, offering you annual maintenance and service reminders for a low monthly cost. Call us today to learn more, or schedule your tune-up online.