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Common Air Conditioning Problems and How Professionals Fix Them

Common Air Conditioning Problems and How Professionals Fix Them

No one wants their air conditioning unit to suddenly fail in the middle of a summer day. The temperature in your home would quickly rise, turning your once comfortable home into an unbearable environment. The frustration and discomfort would be immediate.

The average temperature across the US in April 2024 was 2.7°F above the norm, making it the 12th warmest April in the past 130 years. So, it’s safe to assume that the upcoming summer will be extremely hot.

Today, we’ll discuss common air conditioning problems and how professionals fix them. Furthermore, we’ll share tips to help you maintain your AC in top condition. By the end, you’ll be equipped to tackle or mitigate most air conditioning challenges, ensuring your space remains cool regardless of the weather outside.

Identifying Common Air Conditioning Problems

Air conditioning issues can sneak up on you, transforming your home into a sweltering space. If you understand these problems, you can address them before they escalate.

Thermostat Issues Leading to Non-operation

As the brain of your AC, a thermostat tells the system when to turn it on or off based on your temperature instructions. However, its function can be disrupted by issues with dirt build-up or faulty installation. Because of this, your air conditioning unit could short-cycle, run almost nonstop, or fail to operate. 

Dirty Filters Impeding Airflow and Cooling Efficiency

Air filters play a significant role in maintaining your air conditioning system’s air quality and efficiency. Dust and debris can clog filters, causing issues with the airflow. This makes your system work harder, increasing energy costs and causing the unit to overheat and potentially fail. 

Refrigerant Leaks Affecting Temperature and Efficiency

Refrigerant, or freon, is essential for your air conditioner to produce cold air. Leaks in the system can significantly reduce cooling efficiency, cause uneven temperatures, and increase energy consumption. You might be able to tell a refrigerant leak by the hissing noises or ice that appears on your unit. 

Malfunctioning or Dirty Condenser Coils

When the condenser coils become dirty, or the unit is obstructed by debris, it struggles to release heat effectively. This can result in your air conditioner blowing warm air or working much harder to maintain cool temperatures, leading to increased wear and tear on the system. 

Electric Control Failure and Sensor Problems

Electric control failure and sensor issues can lead to erratic behavior in your air conditioning system. Components like the fan controls and compressor can wear out over time, especially if the system frequently turns on and off. Additionally, if the thermostat sensor is misaligned, the air conditioner may cycle continuously or operate erratically. 

Professional Solutions to Air Conditioning Problems

When AC problems arise, consider hiring professional help. You cannot and should not attempt to fix your AC issues alone, especially if you have no experience or expertise in the area. Here’s how professionals can help maintain your AC in top shape:

Routine Inspection and Correction of Thermostat Settings

Ensure that the thermostat is set to the correct mode (cooling or heating as needed) and that the temperature settings are appropriate for the time of day and season. Recalibration might be necessary if the thermostat fails to reach the preferred temperature setting. 

Calibration checks by a professional can help ensure accurate temperature readings. This involves comparing the thermostat’s readings with an AC-specific thermometer and using the device’s manual for accurate recalibration. For mechanical models, ensuring levelness is crucial for accurate temperature regulation.

Replacement or Cleaning of Air Filters

When your air filters are dirty, they reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency. To keep your AC unit in optimal condition, it’s recommended that you clean or replace them. If the filters are washable, you can rinse them thoroughly and air-dry them before putting them back in function. It’s best to replace disposable filters as often as stated by the manufacturer.

It’s best to inspect your air filter once per month and replace it every three months. However, this can depend on how much you use your AC, whether you have pets, and how high the dust levels in your house are.

Detection of Refrigerant Leaks

You can identify refrigerant leaks through signs like poor cooling performance and ice formation on coils. Professionals use bubble tests, electronic detectors, and pressure resistance tests to detect leaks. 

An annual inspection and maintenance check by a qualified HVAC technician is the most critical preventive measure you can take. This check should include thoroughly inspecting the entire system, cleaning key components, and identifying and repairing any potential issues before they become significant problems. 

Cleaning of Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are cleaned using a gentle water stream to remove debris without damaging the fins. We recommend cleaning the coils one per year, possibly in spring. You can also use a garden hose to wash the outside unit and remove existing debris. A fin comb can help straighten any bent fins.

Electrical Repairs and Sensor Adjustments

Electrical control failures and sensor issues are addressed by checking wiring connections and inspecting each component for signs of wear. A professional should repair faulty wires and adjust or replace the sensors as needed. Regular maintenance checks help identify potential electrical problems early, ensuring the air conditioning system operates smoothly and efficiently.

Keeping the Area Around the Outdoor Unit Clear of Debris and Obstructions

For proper airflow, the area around your outdoor unit should be free of obstructions such as foliage or debris. Keep your plants and shrubs in line and clear out the area of any objects that could obstruct the AC unit’s operation. 

When to Call a Professional

Unusual noises and inefficient cooling from your air conditioner can quickly disrupt your comfort. Identifying these common issues and knowing when to call a professional can save you from significant headaches.

  • Unusual noises like hissing, banging, or screeching signal internal issues such as loose parts, high pressure, or refrigerant leaks. 
  • Low refrigerant, a malfunctioning compressor, or blocked condenser coils can cause the system to fail to cool effectively. A professional can make the necessary repairs.
  • Frequent cycling on and off strains your system and can result from an overused unit, low-pressure control switch issues, or dirty air filters. 
  • Unexpected increases in energy bills might indicate an inefficient system caused by duct leaks, failing parts, or an aging unit. 
  • Visible signs of refrigerant leaks, like ice on the coils or leaks around the unit, require immediate attention. Licensed professionals should be called to repair the leaks and recharge the system.
  • Faulty wires can cause operational issues or even pose a fire hazard. Do not try to fix them yourself—have a professional check them.

Taking action early on these issues helps your system run efficiently and avoids costly repairs. With professional help, you can maintain a comfortable and energy-efficient home all year round.

Bottom Line: Fix Your AC Problems Permanently

Understanding common air conditioning problems and how professionals fix them can help you take proactive measures when a problem occurs. With informed troubleshooting, you can make sure your system operates reliably when you need it most.

At Price Heating & Air, we offer various HVAC services, including maintenance, repairs, installations, and so much more. Our technicians are dedicated to providing top-notch service, making us the best in Muscle Shoals and the surrounding region. Don’t let the heat get in the way of an enjoyable summer—call us today for expert solutions and peace of mind.

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