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Air conditioner not cooling and other common AC problems.

Every summer, keeping your home cool with air conditioning is always a top priority. No one should have to deal with tossing and turning from hot, sleepless nights because their central air isn’t working. However, performance issues are inevitable for any system, so it’s best to find a certified technician who can diagnose and repair the problem and determine if there are any other less visible issues.

There are a variety of reasons why your AC may not cool or even turn on, including clogged air filters, a tripped circuit breaker, and more. The pros at Petro Home Services can help guide you to the answers you need to safely restore your air conditioning.

What are some common AC problems?

Air conditioning systems are complex and a bit more than just the machine running outside near your home (the condenser unit). For instance, an average split-system air conditioner has a lot of different moving parts, such as a furnace or fan coil (an indoor air-handling unit), a coil for evaporation, metal tubing, and special tubing for refrigerant to connect all units together. Any of these parts can malfunction or wear down over time requiring general AC repairs or parts replaced. Some of the most common issues include proper drainage, air filter clogs, and a broken compressor. In many cases, your AC may need a quick tune-up to resolve any minor issues, but in other cases, a repair may be needed.

Air conditioner on but not cooling?

If your AC is on but not cooling your home, there may be a problem with a specific component or function of your AC system. Depending on what's needed, repair costs can rise quickly, so it’s important to make sure your AC unit is in the best condition possible through consistent maintenance and upkeep. Using our list below, consider some of the most common issues that can cause your home’s air conditioning to stop working.

  • Thermostat
    It’s possible that your AC isn’t working because of a malfunctioning thermostat, which controls the regular temperature in your home. When checking your thermostat, make sure you can see that it's on the correct setting for the whole house or even individual rooms. Lightly clean the inside of any dust and other particles and try to keep your thermostat out of direct sunlight for easier reading and a longer device lifespan.

  • Fuses and breakers
    The breakers and fuses protect the AC unit’s compressor or motor by preventing the unit from overheating. If your AC’s motor died, one of the first parts technicians inspect is the breaker to see if it's still operational. A certified technician can help determine the right kind of new breaker and install it.

  • Air filter
    One of the most common reasons that an air conditioner isn’t working is due to a clogged or dirty filter. An air conditioner’s air filter captures most kinds of dust, dirt, and any particles that pass through the handler unit. One good way to tell if a filter should be cleaned is to check if you can see any light passing through it. If not, it’s almost certainly time to clean your AC filter. Dirty filters reduce the airflow and can cause the AC unit to freeze, especially if running overnight.

  • Leaking refrigerant
    If coolant begins to leak in your air conditioner, the unit will stop functioning correctly, and your home’s temperature may start to fluctuate. Depending on the leak’s location in and around the unit, the repair cost can vary, so it’s important to get the coolant of your AC inspected by a professional about once a year.

  • Evaporator coils
    The unit’s evaporator coils absorb ambient heat from the air and propel it back into the house as cold air via air ducts. While these coils can corrode over time, if they’re located inside, they may only require standard maintenance once every few years.

  • Proper drainage
    The drain line for your air conditioner can become clogged with dirt, dust, and other small particles. When clogged, the unit’s drain pan will fill up and there’s a higher chance that water will begin to leak out with the potential to cause damage to the unit.

  • AC compressor
    The AC compressor delivers energy to the refrigerant material and sends it across the coils to transfer the heat and help the unit run. If the compressor is faulty or damaged, the AC unit will be unable to cool your home. If the unit needs more refrigerant, the compressor will become too hot, eventually, seize up, and stop working. With too much refrigerant, it will slide back to the compressor, which can make it break down.

AC won't turn on!

If your air conditioner isn't turning on, first check your unit outside to determine if the condenser is running. Make sure that the unit is plugged in and the thermostat is on. If you notice your home is a little hotter than normal, be sure it is set to cool. If your air conditioner still won’t start or you notice a coil is frozen, you may have an issue with mechanical parts like the motor or compressor. It is always recommended to contact an AC specialist to service your system. Two of the most common reasons your AC won’t turn on include:

  • Condenser unit clog – if your AC is running but not cooling indoors, there could be something blocking or clogging the condenser coil. Dirt, grass and other airborne particles can get caught between the unit’s fan fins, clogging the coil. A dirty coil can lead to continued lack of cool air, and in more extreme cases, a complete shutdown of the AC system or damage to the compressor from excessive use. If your AC isn’t blowing cool air, it’s best to contact a professional.
  • Heat pump repair – occasionally, the outside AC unit will need a new heat pump. Heat pumps look like an AC unit, with some distinct parts inside that give it the ability to keep your home both warm and cool. When cooling, it works similar to an AC system’s condenser and has the same potential operating problems – like a clogged or frozen coil, and malfunctioning compressor or engine. If it seems like your heat pump isn’t cooling your home, look at the thermostat settings and whether the air filter is clogged. If everything seems to be working but your home is still too hot, be sure to contact a professional about getting your system serviced as soon as possible, or the possibility of a new heat pump.

We’re the experts that can handle all your AC repair needs.

Whether your AC system seems to freeze up, is damaged, or doesn’t turn on, it's probably time to contact an AC expert from Petro Home Services. While it’s critical for your home’s comfort, it’s also important for the long-term function of your AC system. With AC repair from New England to Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, Petro helps keep customers comfortable at home all year-round. Contact Petro today for a quote on your AC needs and learn more from our AC experts.

Petro Home Services is proud to not only serve communities in DC, CT, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA, and RI but we also proudly acknowledge the skills and experience of our expert team behind all resources. With insights on topics ranging from heating oil facts to common air conditioning questions, you can rely on Petro Home Services for facts and information to help you understand more about your heating, cooling and home comfort needs. This article and all articles on the Petro Home Services website have been approved by our team of home service experts.