The Top AC Problems and How to Solve Them

Learn about the most common AC problems and how to solve them from an HVAC expert. From frozen coils to faulty thermostats, find out how to keep your AC unit running smoothly.

The Top AC Problems and How to Solve Them

As an HVAC expert with years of experience, I have encountered numerous air conditioning issues. From frozen coils to malfunctioning thermostats, there are a variety of problems that can arise with your AC unit. In this article, I will discuss the most common AC problems and provide tips on how to fix them.

Old, Clogged Air Filters

One of the most frequent culprits for air conditioning problems is an old or clogged air filter. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in the filter, restricting airflow and causing the unit to work harder than necessary.

This can lead to frozen coils and other issues. To prevent this problem, it's crucial to regularly check and replace your air filter. This is especially important during peak usage months when your AC is running more frequently.

Low Coolant Levels

If your air filter is not the issue, then low coolant levels may be to blame. You can test this by feeling the larger of the two copper lines that go to the unit's condenser. If it feels warm, then you may be low on coolant. To fix this problem, you will need to hire a professional technician to recharge your coolant levels.

It's essential to ensure that the coolant charge matches the manufacturer's specifications exactly for optimal performance and efficiency.

Closed Rooms and Interrupted Airflow

Another common issue with central air conditioning is when rooms are closed off and airflow through the house is interrupted. This can cause uneven cooling and put strain on your AC unit. To avoid this problem, make sure to close all windows and outside doors when using your AC. You can also try to isolate the room or group of connected rooms as much as possible from the rest of the house.

Faulty Installation and Maintenance

Many AC problems can be traced back to faulty installation or inadequate maintenance. Incorrect installation can lead to duct leaks and low airflow, while inadequate maintenance can result in refrigerant charge problems and leaks. To prevent these issues, it's important to hire a qualified technician for installation and regular maintenance.

They will be able to properly charge your system and detect any potential problems before they become major issues.

Thermostat Malfunction

A faulty thermostat is another common problem with household air conditioners. If your AC is running on short cycles and the space feels warmer than usual, then your thermostat may be to blame. If you suspect a thermostat malfunction, it's best to have it replaced by a professional technician. They will be able to properly calibrate the new thermostat for optimal performance.

Frozen Coils

If your AC has frozen coils, it's important to turn it off and allow the coils to defrost. This can take up to 24 hours, but you can speed up the process by changing the setting to “fan only”.

This will allow hot air to enter the coils without going through a cooling cycle. It's also important to regularly check and replace your air filter, as dirty coils can contribute to this issue. If the problem persists, it's best to call a professional for assistance.

Refrigerant Leaks

If your R-22 air conditioner has a refrigerant leak, it's important to address it as soon as possible. Not only can this problem affect the performance and efficiency of your AC unit, but R-22 refrigerant is also harmful to the environment. If your AC is older and uses R-22 refrigerant, it may be time to consider upgrading to a newer unit that uses more environmentally-friendly refrigerants like Puron or R-410A.

Clogged Drain Line

Your AC unit uses a condensate drain line to remove water from the air. If this drain becomes clogged with mold or debris, it can cause water to build up and leak. To prevent this issue, make sure to schedule regular maintenance for your AC unit.

A trained technician will be able to clean and unclog the drain line, ensuring that your AC is functioning properly.