When it comes to handling heavy-duty appliances like air conditioners, most of us are clueless. So it is no surprise that when they malfunction we find ourselves at the mercy of licensed HVAC company technicians or mechanically inclined neighbors and friends. Asking for help is all good, but it is never too late or too difficult to understand how to spot the most common air conditioning problems that may come your way.
The AC Makes Strange Noises
Chances are good that when your kid says Casper the friendly ghost is rattling objects in the house at night, your problem is not really supernatural. The clanging, thumping or banging sounds are merely your heating or air conditioning unit trying to tell you that there is a problem with the motor or blower assembly. Your house isn’t haunted, but it is time to switch off your air conditioner and call for professional help before your unit gives up the ghost. If the noises sound like screeching or squealing from the blower motor, it is probably a faulty motor bearing or a belt about to break. The problem would vanish by simply adding a lubricant to the oil port.
Specific problems come with distinct sounds associated with them. If you hear smacking sounds like cards hitting a running fan or bicycle spoke, it implies something is stuck between the blades of the blower or in the space surrounding the blower. You can turn off the AC, inspect the blower blades for debris, get rid of it and enjoy your achievement. Do you hear a click when you turn the AC on and off? It’s probably a relay problem. Is there a rattling noise that occurs when the fan turns the compressor on? That is a failing motor or loose hardware. In any of those situations, it’s best to call a professional to inspect the unit.
Water Drips From The Air Conditioner
Consistent water dripping is one of the most common complaints in air conditioners. Generally, this is because something has clogged the condensate line. You just need an AC technician to flush it thoroughly using compressed air.
Does your house feel abnormally warm and humid? It could be from an AC leak. The temperature rise is caused by the refrigerant leaking from the drain line and causing ice to build up over the coils. This in turn causes it to drip water and the unit to underperform. Another reason why you might have frozen coils is airflow problems. This could happen because you have debris surrounding the AC unit, a dirty air filter or obstructed return air ductwork. Switch off the unit so that it will defrost on its own and call an AC technician for help.
The AC Cools Unevenly
Leaks in ductwork, bad insulation and blockages in vents or registers cause temperature fluctuations in an AC unit. To avoid them, ensure that the vents throughout your home are open, clean and unobstructed.
Do the rooms in your house with south-facing windows feel hotter than other rooms? The permanent solution to this problem is the professional installation of separate zoning systems in your home. It will allow you to control the temperature in specific areas of your house. In the short term, you can use blackout curtains over the windows during the warmest hours of the day.
The AC Works, But the Air Isn’t Cold
Another very common issue with air conditioning units is warm temperatures despite having the AC on full blast. If you have this problem, there arises a question. When was the last time you changed the AC’s air filter? Tough one, right? The air filter in your heating or air conditioning unit needs to be changed regularly, about once a month. Air filters keep the air in your rooms free of solid contaminants. Within the AC unit, the air filter keeps contaminants out of the heating and cooling systems by cleaning the air that circulates through the unit.
If the air filters are in perfect order, then the problem is different. You need to verify that the thermostat has the correct settings. Set the thermostat at the coldest temperature and if you don’t feel a difference, the thermostat could be faulty. Another reason could be that the area around the AC has accumulated debris. Fallen leaves and weeds are common debris found. The air conditioner unit should be clear of bushes with tall plants at least two feet away.
You could also have a refrigerant leak in which case the refrigerant reservoir will need a thorough inspection. After that, your technician might repair or replace the reservoir. To give it a quick check, remember that when the refrigerant level is sufficient in your air conditioner, the two copper lines that run into the condenser will feel cold when touched. A professional technician would be able to determine if the ductwork has leakages.
Lastly, make sure that your home is sealed tight and all the windows and doors shut properly. Leaks and drafts will negatively impact the AC performance.
The AC Stops Working Completely
This is a real hardship during summer months but does not need divine intervention to fix. The first place to look while troubleshooting would be the thermostat. The thermostat checks and controls the temperature in your room. It stops the compressor when the room reaches the temperature you programmed. Thermostats use batteries for their power supply, and when these batteries get drained your AC is likely to shut down. If this is the problem, you can simply change the batteries and your AC will start working again. Make sure to check the circuit breaker as well. Sometimes the solution could be as simple as flipping the circuit breaker up to the position marked “on”.
However, your AC shutting down unexpectedly could be a sign of the unit being in poor repair due to a lack of professional maintenance. If the problem persists after your quick troubleshooting, call a professional AC technician immediately. It could be the wiring to the thermostat or another serious issue which is creating the problem.
From obstructions to leaks to normal wear and tear, your air conditioning units live a life of their own. But if you watch over them as they grow older, perform regular maintenance and get professional help in crises, your AC unit will provide you with years of good service.