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7 Reasons Why Your AC Unit Isn’t Working

There’s nothing worse than coming home to your air conditioning unit not functioning properly on a hot summer day. Whether you have a traditional AC or ductless unit, problems can arise that cause your unit to stop blowing cold air.

There are many ways to save your air conditioning unit, whether it be simple at-home fixes to repairs from our Armstrong Comfort Solutions professionals. Our certified technicians specialize in AC repair, AC installation, AC service, ductless AC repair, ductless AC service, and more! Here are the 7 most common AC problems we see during the summer weather.

1. The Thermostat Settings Might be to Blame

Sometimes the culprit of the problem may be as simple as the thermostat settings. Check your wall thermostat, if your setting is on "fan" or "on" instead of "auto", your air conditioning unit will only circulate air with the fan, not produce cold air. This is an easy fix! Just change the settings to troubleshoot and determine if the setting was the cause of your AC problems.

2. The Circuit Breaker Tripped

Circuit breakers protect your home’s electrical system from power surges. These surges can overload your electrical system and cause major damage to your home or appliance. If your unit has been working overtime, it’s possible that the circuit connected to your air conditioner may have tripped. You - or a professional - will need to find the breaker box, locate the air conditioning unit’s circuit and turn the switch inside from "off" to "on." A sign that a breaker has tripped, is the switch being in the "on" position. Remember to always be cautious when dealing with electrical work! Even a simple task such as resetting a tripped breaker can be dangerous if you aren’t familiar. When in doubt, call our HVAC professionals!

3. The Filter Needs to be Changed

One simple fix that many homeowners forget about is changing a dirty filter. With everyday life being so hectic, it’s a task that is often left on the back burner. Change the filter regularly, or at least every 60 days. However, if you have allergies or live in a hot/dusty area, once a month may be more ideal. Your air unit will not be able to run efficiently if it is dirty, so replacing it will help it to continue blowing cold air. Also, consider the type of filter you choose for your unit. While higher filtration filters may remove dust and allergens from the air in your home, they do so by restricting air flow to your compressor. Experiment with different filter strengths to find the best compromise between airflow and filtration for your home.

4. The Exterior Unit is Dirty

When your exterior AC unit is dirty, your unit will have a hard time cooling. The fins on your exterior unit trap dust, dirt, and debris. The dirtier the fins the harder your unit must work to blow cold air into your home. Your air conditioning unit, including ductless units, should be cleaned by a professional at least once a year. This task requires the expertise of professionals since it requires the power being shut off, as well as cleaning and servicing the unit without damage.

5. The Coolant is Low

One common reason your air conditioning unit isn’t blowing cold air could be due to the refrigerant (coolant) being low. The refrigerant is what cools the coils in the unit, and when air is blown over the cold coils they work to lower the temperature in your home. Without a proper refrigerant, your home will not be able to get cool. Some signs that your AC unit may be low on coolant include warm/hot air coming from your vents, above average electricity bills, the fact that your home is taking a long time to get cool. This job will require a professional to refill your coolant and check your system for leaks.

6. The Float Switch Tripped

Your AC unit has a safety mechanism, called a float switch, to prevent water damage. This mechanism shuts off the unit to keep the drain pan from overflowing into your home, preventing damage to your ceiling, walls, and other nearby structures. The likely cause of the float switch being tripped is a clogged drain. Instead of draining, the liquid is trapped in the drain pan, which triggers the float switch to turn the unit off. If you notice that the drain pan is full, this is probably why your AC unit isn’t working properly.

7. The Compressor May Need to be Repaired or Replaced

The compressor of an AC unit circulates and compresses coolant through the unit, by passing through the condenser coils and evaporator. When this part of the unit fails, it is suggested that you call a professional to assess the situation and replace or repair the compressor. In some cases, this could be as simple as cleaning your compressor, while in other situations a more extensive solution may need to occur. Another possible repair could have to do with the AC ducts that carry the cool air from your unit’s compressor into the rooms of your home. These ducts are usually placed in the attic, basement, or crawl space during an AC installation. Over time the sealant securing these ducts together, or to your compressor, may wear down. The resulting leak in your duct work may draw in warm air from your attic, even though the AC unit itself is working. This could be the cause if warm air is coming from some ducts, and not others. Regardless of why your air conditioning unit is not working properly, diagnosing and solving the issue at hand as quickly and efficiently as possible can save you from costly repairs. Contact the licensed professionals at Armstrong Comfort Solutions to get your air conditioning unit back in working order and restore your family’s comfort faster than you can set your thermostat!