Few things can derail a peaceful day at home quite like air conditioning that’s not cooling properly. Thankfully, identifying and solving the problem is often fairly simple. In this post, we’ll walk you through a few steps for doing just that. We’ll also let you know how to tell when it’s time to call in the professionals.
Air Conditioning Not Cooling Properly? Try These Steps!
Step One: Figure Out Exactly What’s Happening
Is your air conditioner blowing cold but not cooling the house? Or is it not blowing at all? Or maybe worst, your air conditioner is blowing smoke? These are two very different issues with different solutions. As such, before you do anything, pay close attention to your air conditioner. If it’s consistently silent regardless of how low your thermostat is, proceed to the “Not Blowing At All” section. If your air conditioner is blowing cold but not cooling your house, proceed to that section.
As you read these steps, keep in mind that there’s only so much you can really do as someone untrained to repair air conditioners. While it’s likely these quick steps will solve your issue, give our air conditioning specialists in Phoenix a call.
AC Not Blowing At All?
Step #1: Check For Basic Electrical Issues
If your air conditioner isn’t running at all, check for one of the common electrical issues. Note that none of these steps require you to open the unit yourself, which can be dangerous and should only be attempted if you have proper training.
If your air conditioner plugs directly into an outlet, make sure the connection is good. It’s possible, for example, that the cord isn’t plugged all the way into the outlet, which may be preventing the system from running.
If the connection looks fine (or the unit does not plug directly into the wall), inspect your electrical panel next. A power surge may have tripped a breaker or even your AC blown a fuse.
If the breaker has merely been tripped, flip it back to the “on” position. That should restore power. If a fuse has been blown, you can replace that switch with an identical unit from your hardware store. Visit this site for more instructions about how to fix a broken fuse.
If you’re confident the issue is electrical in nature but none of these tips help, contact a professional. Also, you can check out our article if your air conditioner keeps running when turned off.
Step #2: Check Your Thermostat
If your central air conditioner is not cooling, your thermostat may be to blame. If the thermostat is battery-powered, replace the batteries, even if you’ve done so recently. If the thermostat is powered through your home’s electrical supply, inspect the circuit breaker that it is connected to. If it’s been tripped or a fuse has been blown, follow the steps we mentioned above. Also, check out our about on “Central air vs mini split“.
If your thermostat appears to be receiving power just fine, switch the breaker off and remove the thermostat from the wall. Remove the casing and use compressed air to blow away any debris or dust that may have built up around its sensors and components. This debris can prevent your thermostat from getting an accurate reading on the air inside your home, which in turn causes an air conditioner that’s not cooling enough.
Lastly on the thermostat note, consider whether you’ve recently moved your thermostat. If so, you may have placed it in an inefficient location where it cannot get a proper reading on your home’s temperature.
You’ll need to have the thermostat moved to a better location, preferably away from windows and vents.
Air Conditioner Fan Blowing But Not Cooling?
Step #1: Check For Leaks
Refrigerant leaks are a common culprit when it comes to an air conditioner that’s not cooling enough. Common symptoms of a refrigerant leak include a hissing sound coming from the unit, frozen coils, and an air conditioner fan that’s blowing but not cooling. You also have to check and clean your AC drain lines to avoid any leaks from the outside.
Read more about this issue in our article about how to fix a leaking air conditioner. Unless you have experience with repairing such leaks, you’ll need to contact a professional as some older types of refrigerant (including AC unit Freon) can be hazardous.
Step #2: Adjust Your Humidifier
If you’re running a humidifier somewhere in your home, that could also be to blame for your central air conditioner not cooling properly.
If the humidifier is running too aggressively, it will actually cancel out the coolness that your air conditioner is producing. As a result, you’ll feel warmer in your home even though the air conditioner is running just fine.
If you suspect this might be the issue, lower the humidifier and see if that changes things. Unless you need it for something specific, you can even try turning the humidifier off completely.
Step #3: Consider Your Air Conditioner’s Size
If your AC is turning on and off repeatedly in addition to not cooling your house properly, it may be oversized. While many people assume that oversized air conditioners are more efficient, the reality is the opposite. An oversized air conditioner runs in spurts, which prevents the unit from lowering your home’s humidity as it’s intended to. As a result, your home feels warmer and you’ll find yourself asking, “why is my air conditioner not cooling?”. It’s also difficult to maintain and clean your air conditioner that’s too large for it’s purpose.
A dehumidifier is a good bet for solving this issue until you can have your air conditioner replaced with one more suited to your home’s size. You can also add a vent to an area of your home (such as the attic) that does not have one. This will expand the area your oversized AC has to work with, mitigating some of the negative effects.
Step #4: Check The Filter
Checking your AC’s filter is another easy thing you can do without a professional’s help. A dirty filter reduces airflow, preventing your AC from blowing cool air properly. Some types of air filters need to be replaced every month. If you haven’t done so in a while, now’s a good time to check on it.
Step #5: Clean The Condenser Coils
Lastly, give your air conditioner’s condenser coils a good cleaning if you haven’t done so in a while. For outdoor units, use a mild soap and cloth to wipe dirt and debris away from the coils. Wipe gently, otherwise, you can damage the coils and incur a major expense.
Now’s also a good time to make sure you have plenty of clearance on all sides of your outdoor unit. It the unit is flanked by plants or anything else, it will not be able to ventilate properly.
You can reduce the need to clean so often by investing in a cover for your air conditioner during the cooler months of the year. Here are more possible reasons and solutions for why AC blows air but not cold.
How To Fix An Air Conditioner That’s Not Cooling When All Else Fails: Call A Professional
Up until now, we’ve given you a solid list of tips regarding how to fix an air conditioner that’s not cooling. If none of those tips are working, you may be experiencing a more complicated issue that requires a professional’s attention.
Here’s a brief rundown of the common issues requiring a professional’s attention.
A Broken Motor
All moving parts wear down eventually — and your air conditioner has plenty of those. Common causes of a malfunctioning motor include:
- burnt out components
- a loose or broken belt powering the fan
- inadequate power supply
A professional will need to investigate the issue to determine what exactly has caused the non-operational motor.
A Broken Compressor
An air conditioner’s compressor circulates refrigerant throughout the unit. A malfunctioning compressor is often caused by:
- an overload of refrigerant
- electrical issues
- poor lubricant
Trust American Home Water and Air for All Your AC Repair Needs
If you ever find yourself asking “why is my air conditioner not cooling?” and you live in the Phoenix, AZ area, don’t hesitate to give us a call. American Home Water and Air has been the trusted HVAC and water repair contractor for residents of Phoenix and surrounding cities for more than 30 years.
Our 40-point checkup list is the most comprehensive in the region and will pinpoint any issues with your air conditioner, guaranteed.