Is your air conditioner not providing the frosty-cold airflow it used to? As temperatures rise, an underperforming AC unit can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But don’t sweat it - simple troubleshooting and maintenance can fix most cooling issues.
An air conditioner not cooling properly is usually caused by a handful of common problems like refrigerant leaks, clogged coils, electrical faults, and worn parts. Identifying the specific issue affecting your AC will allow you to get it repaired and blow chilled air again.
This article will cover the typical causes when an air conditioner stops cooling efficiently. You’ll learn how to diagnose problems like low refrigerant or frozen coils. We’ll provide actionable tips to restore cooling capabilities, ranging from cleaning filters to replacing faulty components. With the right repairs, you can cost-effectively get your air conditioner working like new again.
Keep your cool - these AC troubleshooting steps will have you relaxing in icy comfort once more. Let’s dive into why your unit might not blow cold air properly and how to fix it.
Why Your AC Stops Cooling Properly
Several common issues can cause an air conditioner to lose cooling capacity. Understanding the typical culprits will help you pinpoint the problem with your AC unit and get it fixed. Below, we’ll explore the most frequent causes of reduced cooling.
Low Refrigerant Levels
The refrigerant in an AC system is responsible for heat transfer and cooling. If there is a leak causing low refrigerant, it severely affects the unit’s ability to cool your home. Topping off refrigerant can temporarily restore function, but the leak must be repaired. Signs of low refrigerant include increased utility bills, longer cooling times, and blowing warm air.
Clogged Air Filter
A dirty, clogged air filter blocks proper airflow over the AC coils and compressor. This results in the system overheating and performing poorly. Replacing the filter allows air to flow freely again for proper heat transfer and cooling. Check filters each month and change when dirty.
Blocked Evaporator Coil
The evaporator coil absorbs heat from your home’s air to provide cooling. If dirt, dust and debris accumulate on the coil, it cannot transfer heat effectively. This leads to warm air being blown into your home. Cleaning the evaporator coil can restore cooling capabilities.
The compressor pumps refrigerant through the AC system. If it is broken or worn out, cooling will be diminished. Warning signs are loud noises, failure to turn on, and coils not getting cold. Replacing a bad compressor is needed for the unit to work properly.
Electrical and Wiring Issues
Problems with electrical controls, capacitors, wiring and connections can prevent proper operation. If frequently tripped breakers burn fuses or control board errors occur, have an HVAC technician diagnose any underlying electrical faults disrupting cooling.
Frozen Coil and Lines
Very low refrigerant levels can cause the freezing up of the coils and lines. As ice builds up, it restricts refrigerant flow and air delivery, resulting in warm air. Defrosting and recharging the system with refrigerant are required to cool it normally.
Blocked vents, dirty blower fan blades, and incorrectly sized ductwork reduce critical airflow. This results in inefficient cooling, dead zones, and stuffy air. Inspecting ducts and fans for obstructions, dirt, and sizing issues can get air flowing correctly again.
Signs of an Under-Cooling AC
Several noticeable symptoms indicate your air conditioner is not providing adequate cooling. The most obvious is when the system is running, but the air from the vents is warm or slightly cool.
Other signs include the indoor central air conditioning system needing to run constantly or for longer periods to reach the set temperature, higher than normal humidity levels in your home, spikes in your electricity bills from increased runtime, and lack of cold air or condensation at the indoor air quality unit. You may also notice new sounds like clunks, grinds or buzzing, indicating a mechanical problem.
If puddles of water start forming near indoor vents, the evaporator coil is likely icing up due to low refrigerant. Paying attention to these warning signs of insufficient cooling will prompt you to diagnose the issue promptly before damage or costly repairs occur.
How to Diagnose the Issue
Pinpointing the exact cause of reduced air conditioning systems cooling allows you to carry out the right repair. There are several troubleshooting steps you can take to diagnose the problem properly.
Check Refrigerant Levels
Using pressure gauges on the high and low sides, check that the refrigerant is in the normal range. If it’s low, top it off and check for leaks. Proper refrigerant levels are key for heat transfer and cooling.
Change the Air Filter
A dirty filter prevents proper airflow over the coils. Change the filter even if it looks clean. Proper airflow is needed for the AC system to operate efficiently.
Clean the AC Coils
Use a coil cleaner or gentle spray to clean debris and dirt off the condenser and evaporator coils. Clear coils allow proper heat dissipation and absorption.
Test Capacitors and Connections
With power off, check capacitors with a multimeter for issues. Inspect fuses, wiring, and connections for burnout. Electrical faults disrupt cooling.
Measure Vent Air Temperature
Using digital thermometers, compare the temperature of air going into the return vent versus air coming out of supply vents. A proper delta T indicates good heat removal.
Assess Airflow Restrictions
Check vents and ducts for closed registers, kinks or dirt buildup blocking airflow. Proper airflow is key for efficient operation.
By methodically checking each component, you can determine what prevents sufficient cooling. This lets you target the repair needed for your AC unit to blow cold air again.
DIY Repairs That Get Your AC Cooling Again
Basic DIY troubleshooting and repairs can fix many common air conditioner cooling issues. Simple tasks like cleaning the condensate drain line, changing air filters, removing debris blocking the outdoor unit, washing dirty coils, and ensuring open vents can improve cooling.
Tightening loose refrigerant fittings to stop leaks and recharging low refrigerant levels can also restore cooling capacity. Electrical repairs like replacing bad start or run capacitors, blown fuses or faulty contactors are inexpensive fixes handy homeowners can do.
Installing a hard start kit helps struggling compressors work efficiently again. Adjusting blower speed, straightening bent fins, and insulating ducts also help ACs blow cold air. If it isn’t blowing cool air, you should check the setting to ensure it has been correctly configured at the thermostat. With basic tools and mechanical skills, homeowners can resolve many insufficient cooling problems and avoid costly technician service calls.
When to Call a Professional
While many common air conditioning system problems can be DIY repairs, sometimes it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician. If you have assessed the system and are still unsure of the root cause, an expert can diagnose the issue through advanced testing and troubleshooting.
For refrigerant leaks in difficult-to-access areas or worries handling refrigerant, rely on a certified pro. Major repairs like compressor, coil or circuit board replacement require specialised skills and tools.
Extensive ductwork modifications, sizing issues, or large blocked drainage lines also require a contractor. Professionals have advanced equipment to test components and flush systems thoroughly. If DIY efforts haven’t resolved the cooling problems, don’t hesitate to hire an HVAC company to get your system performing optimally again.
Preventing Future Cooling Issues
Routine maintenance is key to preventing a recurrence of air conditioner cooling problems. Replace air filters monthly to maintain airflow. Have an HVAC technician annually service the system to check refrigerant levels, lubricate parts, inspect belts or motors and clean coils.
Keep debris and vegetation clear of the outdoor unit. Install fencing to prevent damage to condenser coils from yard hazards. Ensure drainage lines remain clear to prevent clogs. Keep bushes trimmed away from blocking airflow around the condenser.
Use a surge protector to avoid electrical damage. Avoid putting the system under excessive load by managing heat sources like lights, appliances and occupants. With proactive care and maintenance, you can optimise your AC’s performance and cooling capabilities for the long run.
Get Your Unit Cooling Right
Dealing with an air conditioner that’s not cooling properly can be frustrating, but identifying the issue is the first step in restoring your AC’s chilly cooling abilities. Insufficient cooling can often be resolved with simple maintenance and DIY repairs to get your unit blowing crisp, cold air again. But if you need professional help, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Enersol Electrical.
Our skilled HVAC technicians have the advanced tools and knowledge to diagnose any cooling problem and optimise your system. Trust us for a complete AC tune-up or necessary repairs. We want to ensure you are comfortable and energy-efficient all summer long. Contact Enersol Electrical today for professional service and advice on getting your underperforming air conditioner to cool your home properly again. Stay cool!