It’s not just you. Your air conditioner isn’t always working, even if it seems like it’s running. Dirty condensers or filters, damaged ductwork, or refrigerant leaks could all prevent your AC unit from cooling you properly. If you don’t feel like your AC is cooling you down, trust your instincts.
Some AC unit problems are more common than others. If your AC unit isn’t cooling you down, try investigating the following questions. Chances are, a little routine maintenance or a quick fix will solve your problem. Next time you feel like you’re melting in your own home, start asking yourself these questions:
Is the air conditioner filter dirty?
This is probably the most common problem interfering with your AC unit’s function. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to fix! HVAC filters clean the air that circulates through your home by “catching” contaminants as they attempt to pass through. Air filters have two interelated and very important functions. First, they keep the actual air you’re breathing in your home clean. Second, they keep the air in your AC unit itself clean.
When air filters catch contaminants floating through your system, those contaminants stay on the air filter. If contaminants keep building up on the filter, they’ll start to block normal air flow. The dirtier the filter, the less air they’ll let past. All the cool air you should be enjoying gets trapped in your vents instead! A dirty filter could make your entire AC unit 5 to 10% less efficient all on its own. Inspect your HVAC filter every three months. If it looks dirty or yellowed, replace it.
Is the air conditioner condenser unit dirty?
Your air conditioner cools your home by sucking the hot air inside out into the condenser. Your air conditioner cools your home by sucking the hot air inside out into the condenser. The condenser pressurizes this hot air, forcing it back into its liquid state. “Condensing” the air this way forces it to release its latent heat out into the environment. The condenser’s fans blow this hot air out of the unit and away from your home.
Your air conditioner’s unit is located outside of your home, so they naturally get dirty over time. When too much dirt builds up on the condenser, it blocks the air flowing down onto the condenser coils. Without that air flow, the condenser can’t remove heat from your home as easily. Your whole AC system will run longer and less effectively. Cleaning the condenser unit could easily solve your AC unit’s cooling problem. We can help with that.
Are your HVAC ducts leaking?
Your HVAC duct system is what actually carries the air your AC unit produces into your home. After the condenser unit cools the air that passes through it, it shoots that air back into your home through the ducts. A network of different, interconnected ducts guide air to each individual room of your home. These ducts must be airtight, so no air escapes them before it reaches each vent in your home.
Unfortunately, air ducts aren’t always airtight. If your ducts are damaged or worn, they may start “leaking” the air your AC unit transfers through them. Some of the cold air that should be cooling your home is lost on its way to you. Look for signs of wear and tear in your home’s duct system. You can fix the tiny problems with duct tape (that’s why it’s called that)! For everything else, turn to the pros.
Is your air conditioner leaking refrigerant?
Your air conditioner contains refrigerant, stored as a liquid inside an evaporator coil. As hot air passes over the copper coil, the refrigerant absorbs its heat and transforms into a gas. The unit sends this gas outside to the condenser coils. The coils force the gas to release its heat outside and cool it back down to a liquid. When the refrigerant is liquid again, it returns to the evaporator coil, and the process begins again.
You’ll notice that your air conditioner doesn’t actually lose any refrigerant at any point during this process. Your AC unit natrually recycles and re-uses all the refrigerant it contains. Unfortunately, that also means if it begins losing refrigerant, it can’t do its job correctly. Refrigerant can leak from several parts of your HVAC system, from the evaporator to the condenser to anywhere in-between. If you think your HVAC is leaking refrigerant, give us a call right away.
Hopefully, after answering these questions, you’ll know what the problem is and how to fix it. Give us a call, let us know what’s wrong, and we’ll fix it in no time. The bad news: there will also be situations where you one of these four problems aren’t your problem. Maybe you still don’t know what your problem is.
The good news: that’s not really a problem, either. Even if you don’t know what your AC unit’s problem is, you can call us any time. We’ll be able to figure out what’s wrong and fix it just as fast. Next time your AC unit refuses to cooperate with you, give Mike Diamond a call. We’ll make sure you have a “cool” summer.