How to Troubleshoot 5 Air Conditioner Problems: Step-by-Step

May 30, 2022
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Summertime means hot, sticky weather – and for many of us, that also means turning on the air conditioner. But what do you do if your AC starts giving you problems? Don’t worry; we’re here to help!

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through step-by-step how to troubleshoot some of the most common air conditioner issues and let you know when to throw in the towel, and call air conditioning repair professionals. So stay tuned!

What are some factors you need to consider when troubleshooting your air conditioner?

Before addressing any problems with your air conditioner, it’s important to consider a few factors impacting its performance. For example:

  • Has the power been interrupted? Check your circuit breaker or fuse box, reset any tripped breakers, or replace any blown fuses.
  • Is the outdoor unit free of debris? Debris can build up around the outdoor unit and impede airflow, so remove any leaves, twigs, or other debris that may have accumulated.
  • Have you changed the air filter recently? A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause your AC to work harder than necessary, so be sure to check and replace the filter if needed.

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can move on to troubleshooting the specific problem you’re experiencing with your air conditioner.

Problem #1: My air conditioner won’t turn on!

Sometimes, the problem is as simple as your AC being off. If your AC unit doesn’t turn on at all, here are four easy steps to help you troubleshoot the problem:

Step 1. Check the thermostat.

 

Is it turned on, set to “cool,” and set to a lower temperature than the current room? If not, adjust accordingly. Having a low battery can also prevent your thermostat from working properly, so try replacing the batteries if needed.

Step 2: Check the circuit breaker or fuse box.

If the AC unit isn’t receiving power, check the circuit breaker or fuse box again. This time, reset any tripped breakers or replace any blown fuses. If the AC unit is still not receiving power, there may be an issue with the wiring.

Step 3: Check the wiring.

If the wiring appears to be intact, the next step is to look for a loose connection. Be sure to tighten any screws or bolts that may have come loose. If the problem persists, there may be an issue with the AC unit’s capacitor.

Step 4: Check the capacitor.

The capacitor helps to start up the compressor in the AC unit. If the capacitor is damaged, it will need to be replaced. The capacitor is typically located near the outdoor unit.

If you’ve followed these steps and your AC unit still won’t turn on, it’s time to call a professional for help.

Problem 2. My air conditioner is blowing hot air!

What’s the point of having an AC unit if it’s just going to blow hot air, right? If your AC is blowing hot air, here are steps to help you troubleshoot the problem:

Step 1: Check Your Thermostat.

Is your thermostat turned on, set to “cool,” and set to a temperature lower than the current room temperature? If not, adjust it.

Sometimes air conditioners blow hot air only when the fan is turned on, so if your thermostat is set to “fan only,” that could be the problem.

Step 2: Check Your Air Filter.

A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause your AC to work harder than necessary, leading to hot air being blown from the unit. Inspect your air filter and, if necessary, replace it with a new one.

Step 3: Inspect Your Outdoor Unit.

If you’ve neglected basic air conditioner maintenance tips, debris can build up around the outdoor unit and impede airflow. Remove any leaves, twigs, or other debris that may have accumulated. If the problem persists, there may be an issue with the AC unit’s coils.

Step 4: Check the Coils.

The coils on the AC unit can become frozen, which will prevent the unit from cooling properly. If you suspect this is the problem, turn off your AC unit and let the coils thaw for about an hour. Once they’ve thawed, turn the unit back on and see if the problem persists.

After doing all this troubleshooting and your AC unit is still blowing hot air, it’s time to call a professional for help.

Problem 3. My air conditioner isn’t cooling my home evenly!

Unlike blowing hot air, sometimes an AC unit will cool a room but not evenly. If you’ve noticed that your AC isn’t cooling your home evenly, here are three steps to help troubleshoot the problem:

Step 1. Check your vents.

First, check to see if all your vents are open and unobstructed. If they’re not, that could be why your AC unit isn’t cooling your home evenly.

Step 2. Inspect the air filter.

Much like the previous problem, a dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary. Inspect your air filter and, if necessary, replace it with a new one.

Step 3. Check the AC unit for any debris.

Head outside and check the AC unit for any leaves, twigs, or other debris that may have accumulated. Debris can impede airflow and prevent the unit from cooling properly.

Problem 4. My air conditioner is leaking water!

An AC unit that’s leaking water is undoubtedly a problem. It’s wasting water, but it could also damage your home. If you’ve noticed that your AC unit is leaking water, here are four steps to help troubleshoot the problem:

Step 1: Check the Drain Pan.

Look at the drain pan and see if it’s full of water. If so, that’s probably why your AC unit is leaking water. The good news is, this is an easy fix. Just empty the drain pan, and you should be good to go.

Step 2: Check for a Clogged Drain Line.

If the drain pan is empty, but your AC unit is still leaking water, there may be a clog in the drain line. You’ll need to remove the drain line and clean it out to clear a clog.

Steps for doing this can vary depending on your AC unit, so consult your owner’s manual. Better yet, call in a trusted professional or HVAC technician to help.

Problem 5. Strange noises are coming from my air conditioner!

Thankfully, if you hear strange noises around your home, it’s not a ghost. It’s probably your AC unit. If you’ve noticed strange noises coming from your AC unit, here are three steps to help troubleshoot the problem:

Step One: Check for Objects Hitting the Unit.

If you hear a banging noise, there may be an object hitting the unit. This is usually something like a rock or twig. Remove the object, and the noise should stop.

Step Two: Check for Loose Parts.

If you hear a rattling noise, there may be loose parts in the unit. This is usually something like a screw or bolt. Tighten the part, and the noise should stop. 

If you can’t find the source of the rattling noise, it’s best to call the experts for help. Check Reasons you should hire a professional HVAC company if you’re still on the fence! 

Step Three: Check for Animals Nesting in the Unit.

Yup – you read that right. If you hear a scratching noise, there may be an animal nesting in the unit. This is usually something like a bird or squirrel. If this is the case, remove the animal, and the noise should stop.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to troubleshooting AC problems, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The steps you’ll need to take will vary depending on the problem you’re trying to solve.

Remember that if you can’t seem to solve the problem on your own, it’s always in your best interests to call Air Conditioning Baton Rouge professionals. They’ll be able to quickly diagnose the problem and get your AC unit up and running again in no time.

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