Your air conditioning is essential for keeping your home cool in summer. Nonetheless, other than hearing it run occasionally, you probably don’t ever give it much though as long as it does its job properly. Central AC systems are extremely effective and work quite efficiently. Still, they can also experience a wide range of issues that prevent them from working or make it so that they don’t work well enough. Some of these issues are something you can easily fix yourself while others will require professional assistance.

1. AC Won’t Turn On

Realizing that your air conditioning won’t turn on can be quite scary and may make you think the worst. There are situations where it can indicate that your AC is dead and you need to have it replaced, but this happens rarely. Instead, it usually indicates that there is either a problem with the thermostat or that the system isn’t receiving power for some reason.

The first two things to do if your AC won’t come on are to check the thermostat and the circuit breaker. Sometimes, all you’ll need to do is replace the batteries in the thermostat. Most thermostats will tell you when the batteries are low. Nonetheless, the batteries can get too low for the thermostat to signal the AC to run but not low enough that it triggers the low battery alert. That’s why we’d recommend turning the thermostat off, replacing the batteries and then trying to turn your AC back on again. You also want to check that the temperature setting on the thermostat is at least a few degrees below your home’s current temperature.

Power surges and various other issues can result in an AC system tripping the circuit breaker. If the breaker is tripped, you want to switch your thermostat to the Off position and then reset the breaker. If your AC runs after you reset the breaker and turn it back on, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. If the AC causes the breaker to trip again at any point, you should leave the breaker off and contact an HVAC company for an inspection. In this case, your AC likely has a short circuit or some other electrical problem that is causing the power to surge and the breaker to trip. Trying to keep turning your AC on if it has any electrical issues can be a fire hazard and can also result in serious damage, which is why you should just leave it off.

If your thermostat looks like it’s working and the breaker isn’t tripped, you’ll also need to have your AC inspected. That’s because the wire to the thermostat could be loose or damaged or the thermostat may just be malfunctioning. There can also be a wide variety of other reasons why your AC isn’t turning on, and having a technician inspect your system is the only way to determine what the specific issue is.

2. AC Blows Hot Air

It’s also fairly common for AC systems to have issues where they start putting out hot air. This will always happen if the evaporator coil inside your house is frozen, but it can also occur for other reasons such as a dirty air filter. Another possibility is that there is an issue causing the compressor to overheat. When this happens, it can cause the refrigerant to get so hot that the system starts heating the air flowing through it instead of cooling it.

Any time that your AC blows hot air, the two things to do are check that the air filter isn’t too dirty and that there isn’t ice on the evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil is frozen, you’ll need to turn your AC off and wait for however long it takes for all of the ice to melt. The reason you want to turn the system off is to prevent more ice from building up on the coil so that it starts to thaw. It’s also important since the compressor can suffer major damage if the system continues running when frozen.

3. AC Putting Out Little to No Air

You should always be able to feel a decent amount of cool air blowing out of all of the vents in your home when your AC is on. If the system suddenly isn’t putting out much air or no air at all, the first thing to do is replace the air filter. A dirty air filter severely restricts how much air the blower can pull into the system, which reduces the amount of air the AC puts out. In some cases, it can restrict the airflow so much that no air blows out of the vents.

Another thing to check is that all of your supply vents are open. Having multiple vents closed leads to much of the cool air backing up inside the supply ducts. This then causes the pressure inside the ducts to be much higher. The high pressure restricts how much air the blower can circulate and also how much air it can draw into the system, both of which result in poor airflow.

Poor airflow can also result from issues with the blower itself or with your ductwork. As such, you may need to have your AC inspected if replacing the air filter and opening all of the vents didn’t fix the airflow issue.

3. AC Leaking Refrigerant

Older AC systems are sometimes prone to developing refrigerant leaks due to corrosion or damage to one of the coils. A hissing sound coming from the inside or outside part of your AC system is almost always a sign that it’s leaking. Another thing to watch out for is if your AC frequently freezes up since this often starts happening when the system has a leak and is low on refrigerant.

4. AC Leaking Water Indoors

Another common issue you may occasionally encounter is that water starts leaking out of the indoor part of your AC or pooling around it. In this case, you can usually be fairly certain that there’s an issue preventing the condensate drain system from draining properly. It may be that the system is clogged or that the drain pan or one of the drain pipes is leaking. You can sometimes unclog the system yourself, but you’ll usually need the help of a technician with the AC repair if there is a leak in the system.

5. AC Runs Constantly

This last issue is often much more difficult to troubleshoot since all it typically means is that your AC isn’t working effectively for some reason. When working properly, your AC should at least shut off periodically. If it doesn’t, you can be certain that something is preventing it from cooling nearly as well as it should. It could be simply that it’s too old and no longer works as it should or that the air filter is too dirty. Another possibility is that you need to have the evaporator coil and/or condenser coil cleaned.

If you find that your AC starts running constantly, you definitely want to have it inspected as soon as you can. That’s partly because it will lead to your electricity bills being much higher. Running constantly also causes much more wear and tear and may eventually lead to your AC breaking down or having a shortened lifespan.

Since 1940, Bryant Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric has been helping homeowners in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana with all of their home service needs. We specialize in the full range of air conditioning services, and we can also help if you need any heating, plumbing or electrical services. If you need an AC inspection in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Evansville or any of the surrounding areas, contact our team today

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