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Why is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling the House?

ARPM-Apr-22-BA2-Apr-12

If your AC isn’t cooling, you might be looking for AC repair services in McKinney, TX, or just air conditioner repair near you. You’re not alone. Over 75% of all US homes have air conditioners, making them some of the most common equipment around the country.

Homeowners spend a remarkable amount of money on effective air conditioning. A reliable air conditioner keeps your home comfortable even in the scorching heat of summer.

Have you ever turned on your air conditioner and wondered, “Why isn’t my air conditioner cooling the house?” Issues with air conditioners can happen unexpectedly, and it can sometimes be difficult to know what’s wrong.

If you understand some of the most common problems with air conditioners, you can be better equipped when problems occur. Here are 11 of the most common reasons your air conditioner might not be cooling properly.

Clogged Filters

Possibly the most common reason for air conditioner problems is clogged filters. Filters can get clogged with dirt, dust, pollen, and also pet hair. Clogged filters restrict airflow through your unit. When air is restricted, your unit can not effectively cool your indoor space. Clogs can also interfere with the way your unit’s indoor evaporator coil and outdoor condenser unit function. Regularly cleaning filters and replacing them when needed are the best ways to avoid any problems. On average, filters should be replaced every three months. However, you may have to change them more often if you have pets.

Low or Leaking Refrigerant

Refrigerant is a chemical that air conditioning systems use to create cool air. The refrigerant moves along the indoor coil and absorbs heat, cooling the surrounding air. It then goes to the outdoor coil and the heat is released. There are multiple types of refrigerants used to cool air, including Puron and the well-known but phased-out Freon. Your unit can have problems cooling your home when the refrigerant is low. One reason for low refrigerant in the system is that it was undercharged at installation. The other reason is that there’s a leak somewhere in the system. It is imperative to seek help from a professional immediately if this is the case. Leaking refrigerant can harm the environment and also be dangerous to your health. Although rare, refrigerant poisoning can occur if leaks are left alone too long.

Dirty or Frozen Coils

Even though your unit’s filters do a good job at keeping the evaporator coil clean, over time, it can still experience problems. Installing a UV light can help decrease the amount of grime buildup, while also improving air quality. Coils tend to get dirty because they stay humid so mold and mildew can easily accumulate over time. This accumulation will harm their ability to work properly. Coils can also freeze over and stop functioning, especially if the system is low on refrigerant.

Leaking Air

Ductwork deteriorates over time, and can also be damaged by improper installation and pests. It’s possible for home repair technicians, cable providers, and even plumbers to accidentally damage ductwork as well. These are the most common causes of air leaks, which lead to a hot home. Because air ducts distribute cooled air through your home, any leaks will reduce the amount of cool air getting inside your home.

Compressor Isn’t Running

The heart of your unit is the compressor. It circulates refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor coils. The entire system can’t effectively cool air if the compressor is damaged. If the compressor stopped, it’s possible other smaller and less expensive parts have gone bad instead. Some examples would be needing to replace the capacitor or other hard-start devices that keep the compressor running. The compressor can also turn off if your condensate drain is clogged and your system has a ceiling saver device, or float switch, which stops water leaks in your home. Compressor problems can be solved best with replacement. Unless you have a warranty, you may want to replace the whole outdoor unit because compressors can be very expensive.

Exterior Fan Motor Problems

Within the condenser unit is a fan that takes the hot air from inside your home and releases it outside. The fan can develop issues that can cause the compressor to overheat. If this is the case, the best thing to do is have a professional troubleshoot and fix it. If the fan motor goes bad, the fan won’t work and the unit will overheat and shut down.

Thermostat Problems

Your unit’s thermostat measures the current temperature of the indoor air and adjusts it to your set preference. Problems with your thermostat can lead to problems with your unit’s functioning overall. Thermostats occasionally fail, but replacing them is an easy solution. Sometimes the issue is your settings, checking those might fix the problem. If your thermostat is battery-operated, try changing them. A hard restart might help some newer smart thermostats. This means removing the thermostat from its power source, then returning it so it can reboot. Doing this can be a quick fix if the thermostat seems frozen.

Dirty or Blocked Registers

Like filters, registers can get dirty over time especially if you forget to clean them regularly. Sometimes registers get blocked accidentally by furniture or are purposely closed off because a particular room isn’t getting used. But dirty or blocked registers restrict airflow, forcing your unit to work harder. This prevents your unit from effectively cooling your home and increases your energy bill. It’s easy to fix this common problem. Remove your registers, vacuum off any debris or wash them, and unblock/open any other registers.

Extra Heat From Nearby Appliances

Computers, TVs, lamps, and other electrical appliances can get significantly hot. Your thermostat’s functionality will be affected if appliances that give off heat are placed too close to it. Make certain there’s adequate distance between the thermostat and any appliances giving off excess heat.

Heat From the Sun

If your thermostat is in direct sunlight, the system can go into overdrive from the extra heat. It’s recommended to keep blinds or shades closed during unusually hot days, to reduce the heat load on your home.

Lack of Maintenance

Inadequate maintenance is a common reason for your unit’s inability to function properly. A professional company should provide routine check-ups twice a year- spring and fall. A technician will inspect your unit, identify any potential issues and address them before they become expensive repairs.

Needing Help With Your Air Conditioner?

Hopefully, the next time you wonder why your unit isn’t cooling your house, you’ll be able to quickly determine the cause. Many problems are easily avoidable or fixable. If you aren’t sure how to diagnose the problem with your AC not cooling or need help fixing it, call a licensed technician for AC repair services.