Seven Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

August 3, 2022

When your home’s AC system breaks down, you should try to get the problem taken care of at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, there may be hundreds of reasons why your cooling isn’t working properly. How do you know which one is impacting you? There are a number of problems that are more common, and determining what they are is handy when your Midway Services Expert is reviewing available choices for fixing the problem through air conditioning repair in North America.

ere are the top six common air conditioner problems that can cause your air conditioner to stop working.

1. Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat directs your air conditioner when to start and for how long to run. If the thermostat settings are wrong, your cooling might not function correctly. And if the batteries died in a programmable thermostat, it won't be accessible at all. Try this short checklist to ensure your thermostat is receiving power and functioning properly:

  • Replace batteries if the screen is blank (programmable models)
  • Make sure your thermostat has power (smart models)
  • Confirm that it’s switched to cooling mode
  • Ensure your set temperature is below the current room temperature

2. Dirty Air Filter

Old or inefficient air filters are known for turning a perfectly functional and reliable air conditioner into a slow and inefficient one. What's more, dirty filters will sometimes cause multiple problems, including reduced airflow, poorer indoor air quality and excessive power usage. They can also make your AC unit work harder and stop working if the coil ices over.

You can easily reduce the risk of AC problems by consistently cleaning or replacing your air filter. How do you know whether you should change the filters? If you can’t think back to the last time you changed them, it’s almost definitely time to. But for a standard guideline, make sure you try to replace flat filters each month and pleated filters every three months.

3. Frozen Condenser Coils

Your air conditioner’s coils are essential components because they emit heat from your home into the outdoor air. But even during the summer, ice can build up on the coils. Frozen coils won’t be able to regulate the cooling process as smoothly, and in some cases enough ice can stop the AC from running outright.

Freezing can be linked to different issues, such as:

  • Dirty coils caused by ignoring annual maintenance
  • Dirty air filters, which restrict airflow
  • Clogged drain line, which can result in moisture buildup
  • Refrigerant leaks, which decrease cooling power

If your air conditioner has frozen, switch it off and let the ice on the coils melt. This could take up to 24 hours, but you can accelerate the process by switching settings to “fan only.” This will blow warm air over the coils without going through a refrigeration cycle.

It’s recommended to check the air filter first. If you can’t see light through it, change it out. The other issues, such as dirty coils, a clogged drain line or refrigerant leaks, are best handled with the support of a trained technician.

4. Refrigerant Leak

Your air conditioning system needs refrigerant to relocate heat. When it doesn’t have enough refrigerant, you might notice you’re getting a lot of hot air. Here are a couple signs you’re dealing with a leak:

  • Insufficient cold air
  • Home is humid
  • Excessively long cooling cycles
  • Ice on the evaporator coils
  • Bubbling or hissing air conditioner noises
  • Sweet smell near the air conditioner

If your air conditioner was installed before 2011, it most likely uses Freon® or R-22. This refrigerant is no longer being manufactured due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Only recycled portions of Freon are accessible, which makes refrigerant leaks more expensive to fix.

If your R-22 air conditioning system is dealing with a refrigerant leak, we suggest air conditioning installation due to age and the refrigerant being obsolete. Newer air conditioners use Puron or R-410A, which is more sustainable for the environment.

We realize that replacing your AC system can be an emergency that you aren’t equipped for. Ask us about our Advantage Program™, which provides you a new air conditioner for just one low monthly fee. Repairs and maintenance are included, and you’ll get to proceed with any worthwhile manufacturer’s rebates.

5. Water Leak

Your air conditioner utilizes a condensate drain line to flush water it strips from the air. If you’ve avoided air conditioning maintenance, this drain can become blocked with mold and cause water to flood the system. If this happens, you’ll notice water leaking.

Shut off your air conditioner to avoid damage and get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 for support.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

There can be a couple of reasons why your air conditioner is repeatedly tripping its circuit breaker. Here are several of the most widespread ones:

  • Dirty air filter is gravely restricting airflow.
  • Your air conditioner is running too hot because of a lack of refrigerant.
  • Condenser coils are dirty and restricting airflow.
  • Condenser fan motor has failed and coils are overheating.
  • Electrical connections are damaged or loose.
  • Blower motor is malfunctioning.
  • Compressor is drawing too much power or wiring is defective.
  • Capacitor in control of starting the compressor has failed.

Like we discussed earlier, inspect your air filter first, as that is most likely to be the culprit. Any other problems should be addressed by an HVAC pro like Midway Services.

7. Short Cycling

An improper cooling cycle can also be responsible. Short cycling is an irritating malfunction when the system turns off before the expected temperature has covered the rest of the house. If you think your AC unit is short cycling, watch how long the air is running before it shuts off. Your ordinary air conditioner usually runs for 15 to 20 minutes and stays off for about the same period of time. But when it’s short cycling, your air conditioning is switching on and off in small bursts.

This puts heavy strain on moving parts and key components including the blower motor. Short cycling or any form of abnormal cooling cycles are routinely caused by overheating. The internal chamber gets too hot before safety components turn the AC off. This happens over and over, namely if the real cause of the overheating isn’t resolved.

Trust the Experts for Your Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance Needs

The number one way for you to avoid air conditioning problems is to sign up for a preventive maintenance agreement. At Midway Services, we offer several HVAC memberships to accommodate your needs and budget. Inferior wiring, low refrigerant and dirty coils can be uncovered and fixed during routine tune-ups.

In some cases repairs are unavoidable, but as a maintenance member, you’ll benefit from special discounts on service, 24/7/365 priority service, no trip or overtime charges and more. Ready to sign up for a membership program or to request your repair appointment? Contact us at 727-219-2471 today!