On a hot summer day, your AC failing to blow cold air is the last thing you want. It seems it’s always during the hottest part of the summer that you realize your system is pumping out air but not cooling to the set temperature. What’s going on with your air conditioner, and what can you do to fix the problem?
Air conditioning systems typically include several parts that make up a whole, and the issue can stem from any individual part. Systems may include an indoor and outdoor unit, evaporator coil, air filter, thermostat, copper tubing, etc. Sometimes you as the homeowner can troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself, and other times you will need to contact HVAC support for a technician to come out and take a look.
There are several reasons why your air conditioner may not be blowing out cold air, and there are some steps you can take to remedy this situation.
Reasons Why AC is Not Cooling
One of the simplest reasons for AC to run without cooling off your home may be that the thermostat is set incorrectly. Check to make sure that the temperature setting is on cool. If the switch is set to “on” or “fan”, change it to “automatic” and see whether that starts to make a difference. When the thermostat is set to “on”, the fan runs continuously even when the air is not being cooled. Sometimes a change in the settings is all you need.
If your thermostat is set up properly and the issue persists, you should next check the system’s air filter. It is there to catch airborne dirt and particles and over time becomes filthy. A clogged filter inhibits airflow, reducing cooling throughout your home.
Remove and inspect your air filter. If two or more months have passed since changing it out, or if it is too dirty to see through, replace the filter and see whether that solves the problem.
Dirty Condenser Unit
The condenser, which is located outside, collects heat from your home’s interior. If the condenser coil is jammed with dirt, grass, or other debris, it is unable to release the heat built up in its system. This can lead to AC malfunctions and sometimes even a system shutdown.
To clean the coil, carefully clear away the dirt and debris and gently rinse it with a hose. Do not use high pressure so that you don’t bend any of the “fins” that make up the coil.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
The evaporator coil is located in the indoor section of your AC system. Warm air flows into the evaporator coil, removing heat and humidity from inside and pumping cool air into your home. The evaporator coil may be frozen if you notice excess condensation near the indoor unit, insufficient ventilation, or frost build-up on refrigerant tubing.
Refrigerant is necessary for cooling. It flows through the condenser and evaporator coils and draws heat energy from indoors to release it outside. A refrigerant leak prevents heat absorption and can cause a lack of cold air to blow. If you see ice buildup on your outdoor unit or feel warm air coming from your ventilation, this is often a sign of a refrigerant leak.
Damaged Heat Pump
Some AC systems may include a heat pump as the outdoor unit. It functions similarly to a regular AC unit and may be prone to the same sort of problems. Check on the thermostat settings, air filters, and for signs of clogged coils if the heat pump is not providing cooling to the interior.
While you can fix some of these problems on your own through regular checks and cleaning, you will need to contact an HVAC technician to come out for other major issues. When in doubt, bring out an HVAC professional to assess your system so that you don’t risk causing further damage. By maintaining your system and having regular inspections, you can ensure that your system remains running in pristine condition.