Guest Blog: How to Fix Common Problems with Your Air Conditioner

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Air conditioning needs proper maintenance and checkups, even if there is nothing broken. However, we cannot expect that the unit will be working flawlessly all through its economic lifespan. Of course, there are times that your AC unit will stop working one day and it might just be a common problem that you can just fix yourself (read Replacing HVAC vs. Refurbishing HVAC). So it is better that you understand all the common problems in an AC and how to be able to fix them.


Common Problems

AC will not turn on

1. The thermostat is broken – a broken thermostat can cause the whole unit to not function properly. Make sure that you have a reliable and a programmable thermostat. Do a weekly check-up if possible if your thermostat is broken.

2. Circuit Breakers are tripped – If your unit’s circuit breakers are malfunctioning or have tripped, do not just reset the circuit breaker right away. Try to analyze the problem first as to what caused the tripping of the breakers. If it continues to trip again, then have a professional take care of it.

3. Vents are clogged – The outer part of the AC unit is sensitive to nature and often times can be clogged up caused either by grasses, dirt, debris, or other vegetations. The best thing is to get an AC cover. If there are debris stuck in the vents, be sure to call some professional help because it can damage the AC’s capacitor.

Strange Noises in the AC

Oftentimes, if an AC is not performing right, there are noises that you hear. A noise can indicate that there might be a problem in your AC unit.

1. Rattling Sounds – if the AC is rattling or vibrating, then it is more likely that the AC was improperly installed. This is where you need some help with a professional.

2. Squealing noise – Older AC units, they use belts rather than motors and can cause a squealing sound when a belt that is connected to the blower has slipped. What you need to do is turn off your AC and seek a professional’s help.

• AC is Running but it is Not Cooling

This is the most common problem in all households. Check if the AC works on the inside or outside, and in order to do that, here is the check list to help you assess the issue.

o Check the outside or inside unit and hold your hand nearby to feel if there is air coming out or if there is heat leaving.

o Check the two refrigerant lines where you should see large and small lines. Do not touch the small line as that is hot. The large line is usually cold and might have some condensation.

o If the large line is showing that it is frosted, then it means that the air flow across coils from the inside unit is not functioning properly or the refrigerant is low. So the next thing you need to do is turn off the thermostat and then turn the fan on (from auto to on at all times). Let the fan run continuously and shut the compressor off.

o Let the fan run, for 30 minutes and see if there are improvements, especially if the air flows are running through the vents.

o Try to also check the air filters if they are dirty and if dirty, needs to be replaced.

o If it is a refrigerant problem or compressor problem, you will be able to tell if the large line is not cool and the small line is not warm. Call a professional for help.


• Power Wire Problems

This usually happens when you constantly turn your AC on and offthis can mess up the AC’s compressor and the fan controls. The wires can cause to corrode through the continuous wear and tear. Better to have a professional do an evaluation of your wires to prevent any further damage to your AC unit.

• The thermostat is not Picking Up the Correct Temperature

Just adjust the sensor by bending the wire that holds it in place carefully.

Drainage Problems

A humid temperature can cause clogging in the condensation drainage. Best to check the drain for any clogging problems; if you find out that there is any clogging, then mount the drain at a level.

• AC’s Outside Fan is not Working

This is usually caused by overheating in the compressor.

• AC is not Running

The unit might not be receiving any power, so the best thing to do is check to make sure all wires and cords are plugged in properly.

• Frozen Coil

This is usually caused by air filters being dirty, blocked air in the ducts or has a low Freon. This case, you will need to call a repair man or maintenance guy.

So if you are facing these problems with your AC – may it be an evaporative air conditioning unit or gas ducted AC, you know what to do. May this serve as a guide, but it is best to seek help from the experts if you are not sure about fixing the problems yourself.

cropped-authority-specialist-small-1Rachel Heagney, Administration and Content Auditor at, and Guest Blogger for Controlled Release Technologies Inc., a research, development and manufacturing firm based in Shelby, North Carolina. CRT is an IFMA CSP, EnergyStar Partner and manufacturer of independently-certified Green products for HVAC maintenance. Since 1986, CRT has been creating leading edge HVAC maintenance products that have become industry standards, used in thousands of commercial buildings world-wide. CRT employees are members of BOMA, ASHRAE, ASHE and the American Chemical Society. (800) 766-9057.

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