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8 Common AC Problems and Solutions

At some point, many of us will find that we need to look into common AC problems and solutions. If your air conditioner isn’t working correctly on a hot Arizona summer day, it’s usually quickly apparent. It is helpful to understand the most common AC problems. Once you understand common AC issues, you can take quick action to prevent them from escalating to complete system failure. 

Let’s take a look at the ten most common AC problems and solutions:

  1. AC Running Constantly

In the heat of summer, your air conditioner will run more than usual. Still, it should not run without stopping. If your AC isn’t taking a breather from time to time, it risks damage to crucial elements and increases energy costs, causing your utility bill to rise steeply.

Problem: A constantly running AC is one of the most common air conditioning problems noted by homeowners. If your air conditioner keeps running when turned off, it could be one of several issues.

Solution: You may have a clogged air filter. Check to be sure your air filter is clean and placed correctly and see if that corrects the problem. If not, you may have issues with your thermostat, compressor or other electrical elements. You can contact a professional at American Home Water and Air for assistance.

  1. AC Won’t Turn On

Nothing is worse than realizing the temperature in your home is rapidly rising because the air conditioner isn’t kicking on when it should. If you’ve adjusted the thermostat in hopes of it coming back to life and it hasn’t, you’ll have to find a fix.

Problem: It could be a tripped circuit breaker. Investigate to see if the AC or something else is causing the breaker to trip. You may need to unplug something on the same circuit to reduce how much power is being pulled. If the breaker hasn’t shut off or you can’t get it to stay on, you may have a faulty thermostat or loose wiring.

Solution: You should always consult a licensed HVAC technician to make repairs involving wiring. A professional can diagnose the problem with specialized equipment and safely make repairs.

  1. AC Unit Isn’t Cooling

If you can hear your HVAC unit running, but either no air is flowing, or the air flowing is not cool, you are wasting electricity without the desired result of a cool home.

Problem: A lack of cool air could be due to a tripped circuit breaker shutting down part of the unit but not all, a worn blower belt or low refrigerant. If air is flowing, but it is hot, you might have a dirty filter, obstructed ducts or debris in your compressor.

Solution: Preventative maintenance can thwart this by addressing wear and tear before it becomes an issue. Replace your filters monthly and schedule a yearly tune-up and cleaning before the hot months of summer. However, if you do experience such a failure, you can contact a professional for repairs. Here are more possible reasons and solutions for why AC is blowing warm air.

  1. Leaking Refrigerant or Water

While most refrigerant leaks occur in coolant lines where they aren’t visible, you may notice colored stains near the AC unit where they have seeped out. Limited amounts of condensation are normal, but pools of liquids are not.

Problem: The coolant lines or connections may have deteriorated over time, allowing leaks to form. Blockages in drainage pipes or defective condensate pumps can also cause leaks.

Solution: Once you’ve noted a leak, turn the unit off immediately and contact an HVAC professional immediately. Leaks can run your refrigerant level low and damage the compressor, which can be costly to replace.

  1. Short Cycling

An AC unit cutting on and off repeatedly is commonly known as short cycling. It happens when the HVAC kicks off before completing a full cooling cycle and then kicks back on to finish the process. 

Problem: You may have an obstructed air filter, or your thermostat may be miscalibrated. You might also have an HVAC unit that is too powerful for the space you have to cool.

Solution: First, check your air filter and change it if necessary. If this doesn’t correct the problem, contact a professional to address the problem by recalibrating your thermostat or suggesting changes to your system to better accommodate your cooling needs.

  1. AC System if Frozen

If you are finding ice around the coil or copper lines of your AC, it means your system is working too hard to keep you cool. 

Problem: It’s not unusual for your AC to work hard in the heat of an Arizona summer, but it shouldn’t freeze up. You may have a dirty air filter or a faulty condenser unit. These will make your system work twice as hard to cool, causing it to freeze and costing you added energy costs.

Solution: You can change your air filter, but if that doesn’t correct the problem, you’ll want to contact a licensed HVAC technician to check the blower, air ducts and condenser for any blockages.

  1. Bad Smells 

If you note a burning smell or a musty scent coming from your vents or your main AC unit, it can be unpleasant and a sign of trouble.

Problem: A burning or hot smell can signify bad wiring or overheating due to a clogged air filter. If you’re smelling something musty or like mildew, this is usually a sign of dirty ductwork or poor drainage.

Solution: If you are experiencing a burning smell, turn the AC off and check your filter. If it’s clogged, replace it and see if that corrects the problem but keep a close eye on the system until you’ve determined that was the problem. If it wasn’t, turn the system back off and contact a professional to check your system and repair the issue.

  1. Strange Noises

Everyone’s HVAC system has some normal operating sounds familiar to them. If you hear noises different from what you’re used to, pay attention to them. 

Problem: A squealing sound is usually caused by a worn or out-of-place belt. Grinding noises usually are a sign of bearing problems.

Solution: Routine maintenance performed by a professional can keep these problems at bay. If you experience them, contact a service technician to correct the problem immediately.

While these are the most common AC problems and solutions, they are not the only ones. As you can see, the best solution is prevention. Professional installation and routine maintenance can avoid several issues that can prevent you from remaining nice and cool all summer long. 

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