Air conditioning systems are some of the most important components of our homes, since they help to make them cool and comfortable to stay in. Although they ideally run in the background of our lives, they can break down and make our interiors hot, humid, and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these kinds of mishaps and breakdowns can occur at unexpected times, even at the muggiest times of the year.
A preemptive air conditioner troubleshooting with the appropriate residential air conditioning maintenance can help you make sure that your unit is operating as it should and that you and your loved ones are comfortable while inside the house.
The Usual Suspects
During the warm summer months, the last thing you want to deal with is an air conditioning unit that won’t work. However, there are many factors that contribute to the malfunctioning of the air conditioner, some of which require professional assistance from HVAC contractors, while others are relatively easy to diagnose and troubleshoot.
Air Conditioner Not Turning On
The number one cause of an air conditioning unit that won’t turn on is electrical issues. You should ideally start with simple troubleshooting steps such as making sure the thermostat is set to “cool” correctly, and not on “auto”, “heat”, or “off”, and that you’ve set the temperature below the current reading of the room. In case you have a battery operated thermostat, try replacing the batteries with some high quality ones.
If the unit still won’t turn on, inspect the breaker box. Go through all the breakers to check whether the air conditioner fuse or other ones have been reset. In older homes with older electrical systems, power surges can overwhelm the main electrical box and blow out the fuses. If you have ample knowledge in this area, simple replace the damaged or popped fuses.
In case the issue persists, there might be a more serious issue in your home. The electrical system might not be set up properly to keep up with your household’s electrical loads, or the wiring was poorly done, and it prevents the AC unit from getting enough power. For such serious issues, it’s best to have a professional HVAC technician to inspect and repair the system.
The AC Unit Doesn’t Blow Cool Air
In some cases, the air conditioner unit turns on but doesn’t blow cold air into the house. If this is the case, make sure that the thermostat is set properly, and all the vents are open. If these are not the problem, check the air filters for dirt and/or debris that can cause clogging. Since the clog might cause the evaporator coils to freeze, the frost and ice will restrict airflow even more. If clogging is the problem, clean the filter using mild soap, a soft brush, and clean water. Be sure to clean and replace your filter every 3 months to avoid experiencing the problem in the future. You may also need freon, find out 2018 r22 pricing here.
The problem may also be caused by a problem with the fan or the fan motor. If your unit’s fan turns easily, the problem might be a leak in the refrigerant line or inadequate electrical power. In such cases, you will also require the help of a qualified AC technician to inspect the system.
AC unit leaking water inside: if your AC unit is leaking water inside your home, turn the unit off as soon as possible to avoid water damage. The drain line for condensate might be clogged up, which might be causing water to back up inside the house. You can try using a dry/wet vacuum to unclog the line. If it doesn’t work, check to see if the drain pan is rusted out or if the condensate pump has broken down. Your technician might be able to repair or replace the damaged parts.
AC unit leaking water outside: during humid and hot days, you might notice a puddle of water underneath the condenser unit. In such weather, this is normal, provided the puddle only forms when the unit is working. In cooler weather (60 degrees or less), the AC components can freeze up, which would cause water leakage as the ice melts. This is also normal. However, if it happens in any other circumstances, try replacing or cleaning the air filters. If this doesn’t fic the issue, schedule a service call. Your unit might be in need of more refrigerant, have a broken condensate pan, or have blockage in the drainpipe.
Water leakage when the AC unit is turned off: if the AC system has a dirty filter or is low on refrigerant, it might freeze up when it’s working. When you turn it off, the ice will melt and therefore cause water leakage. If the water leaks on the floor or the ceiling, you risk causing water damage to your home. As such, if cleaning or replacing your filter doesn’t solve the problem, don’t turn the unit on again until you have identified and solved the problem.
Air Conditioner Making Noise
Grinding or squealing noises from the Air Handler: although the newer models have direct drive motors, the older models have belt-driven air handlers. Squealing noises from the belt drive generally occur when the belt connecting the motor to the blower slips. In many cases, the belt is just not aligned properly, or is worn out and needs replacement.
Buzzing sounds from the air handler: if you hear a buzzing sound when you turn on the thermostat, it might be from the fan or the fan relay in the furnace or air handler. Try switching the thermostat “cool”/”heat” switch to OFF. Switch the fan from auto to ON so that only the fan turns on. If the buzzing sound persists, then it’s probably from a faulty blower fan or fan relay.
Humming air compressor: if you hear a humming sound from the outdoor compressor when you switch the thermostat to “cool”, it might be from a low-voltage transformer, which is something you want checked by a pro.
Grinding noise in the AC compressor: The bearings in the motor can wear out over time. This causes a grinding sound, where in most cases; the motor overheats and shuts off. If this happens, it’s time to replace the motor.
Air Conditioner Won’t Turn Off
If the AC unit is staying longer than it should it might be due to a bad filter. Replacing or cleaning the filter can remedy the situation. Other problems that might make the AC run constantly include a short in the thermostat cable, a stuck fan relay, or a faulty thermostat.