Air Conditioning: Some Common Problems

  • April 2013

Since their development in 1902, modern air conditioning units are efficient and relatively trouble-free. Like other major appliances, the equipment can experience mechanical or electrical problems. This guide provides an overview of some of the most common problems that can occur with a central HVAC system. Northwest Indiana homeowners can troubleshoot their systems to identify potential reasons for performance issues. While homeowners can resolve some of these problems, others require the assistance of an experienced heating and air conditioning specialist.

The Unit Does Not Come On

An air conditioning system may fail to operate at the beginning of the cooling season. The unit will not come on if the thermostat is defective or set improperly. Another potential issue may be that your unit is not receiving electrical power.

Check the Thermostat

Verify that your thermostat selector is set in the “cooling” position. Some systems have a built-in timer that delays the activation of the equipment. Wait several minutes for the timer to complete its cycle, and adjust the thermostat several degrees below the temperature inside your home. If the thermostat requires calibration, contact a service professional.

Check the Power

You should also verify that the appliance is receiving power. Locate your main fuse panel, and determine whether the fuse or circuit breaker for the equipment has blown or tripped. Replace a blown fuse with one that has the same amperage, or reset the circuit breaker. Some units have a breaker panel located near the outside unit. Verify that the breaker inside this electrical box is on or the quick disconnect is inserted properly. If the system continues to have electrical problems, you need the assistance of an experienced repair technician.

The Unit Blows Warm Air

One possible reason that HVAC systems blow warm air is dirty filters. The system is producing cold air but it cannot flow through the ductwork. Clean air filters protect your equipment and help it perform properly. HVAC systems work harder as the outside ambient temperatures approach triple digits and may not cool as effectively as you desire. You should also verify that the outside unit is running. If the outdoor unit is on, ensure that leaves and other debris are not obstructing the airflow. An air conditioner that blows warm air can be a sign of insufficient refrigerant. Only licensed air conditioning repair technicians can replenish HVAC coolant.

The Unit Cycles Frequently or Will Not Turn Off

An improperly sized air conditioner will cycle on and off frequently if it is too large for your home. The system will quickly reach the setting on your thermostat and signal the equipment to cycle off. When the temperature drops below the setting on the thermostat, the unit will come on again. Rapid cycling can also occur when an air register is blowing cool air directly on the thermostat.

Several issues can cause a unit to runs continuously. The equipment could be too small to cool the volume of air contained in your home. Another potential problem is that the inside unit turns off but the outside fan continues to run. Turn the thermostat fan switch to the “Off” position. If the fan is still running, you should stop power from flowing to the system. To perform this task, it may be necessary to turn off the circuit breaker supplying the equipment. Low refrigerant levels and faulty relay switches can cause a HVAC to run continually. An experienced HVAC technician can correct these problems.

Clogged Condensation Line

The inside component of an AC system sits inside of a drip pan, which is designed to collect water if the unit’s condensation drain line becomes clogged. This problem can occur when insects build their nest inside the drain line. If water is visible in the pan, you can blow compressed air inside the pipe to remove the obstruction. Prepare a solution that consists of a 50-50 ratio of bleach and water, and pour it into the drainpipe to eliminate mold and mildew. Clearing the clogged drain line may require the assistance of an air conditioning repair technician.

Frozen AC Unit

Various problems can cause an AC unit to freeze. One possible reason is improper airflow, which can prevent a HVAC system from working properly. Check your filters and clean or replace them as required. The coils should be free from dirt, debris and other obstructions as well. HVAC systems can freeze if the blower fan is malfunctioning. The cold air will remain inside the unit and freeze the coil if the fan is not working. A faulty control relay can also cause the unit to freeze. The outside unit will continue to run even though the inside unit is off. While a homeowner can clear away debris and change the air filters, replacing electrical components requires the expertise of a certified technician.

Professional Air Conditioning System Repair and Maintenance

According to heating and cooling industry studies, regular air conditioning unit maintenance checkups can prevent most HVAC performance issues. Our friendly and knowledgeable Meyer’s technicians can perform seasonal tune-ups on your system. Routine care and maintenance prevents common HVAC problems from becoming major repair expenses. Our team can identify and correct issues that prevent your equipment from performing as designed. Contact our office to schedule a service call with one of our knowledgeable technicians. We offer comprehensive maintenance plans and are available 24 hours a day for emergency service as well.


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