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AC Not Cooling? Find Out Why and How to Fix Your AC

CEO Khai Intela
When the summer heat reaches its peak, having a functioning central air system is crucial. However, if your AC is not cooling your space, it can create a hot and uncomfortable environment. In this article,...

When the summer heat reaches its peak, having a functioning central air system is crucial. However, if your AC is not cooling your space, it can create a hot and uncomfortable environment. In this article, we'll explore the most common reasons why your air conditioner may not be cooling and provide you with practical solutions to fix the problem.

Why is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

From simple adjustments to more complex repairs, here are some solutions that can help get your HVAC system back up and running.

Check the Thermostat Setting

Before diving into more complicated troubleshooting, start with the simplest solution. Ensure that your thermostat is set to "cool" and "auto." The "auto" setting allows the fan to operate only when the unit is actively working to achieve your desired temperature. On the other hand, the "on" setting keeps the fan running continuously, circulating the air in your home without necessarily cooling it. A simple change in the thermostat settings may be all you need to cool your space effectively.

Clean or Change the Air Filter

The air filter in your AC plays a vital role in capturing pollutants such as dirt, pet dander, pollen, and dust. Over time, these particles can clog the filter, impeding air flow and preventing your AC from cooling the air to your desired temperature. It's recommended to clean or change your air filter every 60 to 90 days. However, if you notice that the filter is heavily soiled before this timeframe, make sure to replace it promptly.

AC Refrigerant Leak

Similar to a vehicle, your home HVAC system relies on refrigerant to transfer hot air out of your home and replace it with cool air. When there's a low refrigerant level or a leak in the system, your AC won't be able to adequately cool your space. One common symptom of a refrigerant leak is a hissing or whistling sound coming from the outdoor unit. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it's essential to call a certified HVAC technician for a line replacement and a recharge of the unit.

Deteriorating Ductwork

If your home's ductwork is aging or has been damaged by pests or other factors, cool air may escape before reaching your rooms. This can give the impression that your AC is running but not cooling effectively. Inspect your attic or crawl space for misalignment, holes, or damage in the ductwork. If you find any issues, it's advisable to have them repaired by a professional.

Blocked Condenser Coils

Dirt and dust can accumulate in the condenser's metal fins over time, obstructing the heat-removal process. When the condenser is blocked, your AC will struggle to cool your home, even if it appears to be running. To clean your condenser coils, follow these simple steps:

  1. Check for any damage to the coils. If you notice erosion or destruction, contact a local HVAC professional for inspection and repair.
  2. Remove visible debris using a home AC coil brush.
  3. Straighten any bent coil fins using a fin comb. The brush will also help remove hard-to-reach debris.
  4. Spray the coils with a garden hose to remove loose debris.
  5. Apply a coil cleaner and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Rinse the coils thoroughly with a water hose, ensuring all cleaner and dirt are removed.

If your AC continues to run without blowing cold air, it's best to call an HVAC expert for assistance.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil, located in the outdoor unit of your HVAC system, absorbs heat energy from the warm air inside your home. It works alongside the condenser coil to cool the air before returning it to your space. However, if the evaporator coil becomes dirty or airflow is obstructed, it can freeze over. This can cause your AC to gradually lose its cooling effectiveness. If you suspect a frozen evaporator coil, remove the front panel of your outdoor unit to check for frost. If present, allow the unit to thaw naturally or call an HVAC technician for professional assistance.

Preventative Measures for Central AC Not Cooling

To ensure that your central air conditioning system runs smoothly and lasts its expected lifespan, it's essential to take some preventative measures. Here are a few tips:

  • Change air filters regularly, especially if you live in a high-pollen area or have pets.
  • Inspect your ductwork for damage or holes and consider having it cleaned by an HVAC expert.
  • Install a smart thermostat to optimize heating and cooling efficiency and receive alerts for potential malfunctions.
  • Keep the outdoor (condenser) unit clean by removing debris that could block the condenser coils.
  • Schedule routine AC maintenance with a professional technician before each heating or cooling season to identify and address any issues.

By following these steps, you can prevent your AC from not cooling effectively and ensure that your home stays cool and comfortable throughout the summer.

Caption: Make sure to clean or change your air filter regularly to maintain proper airflow.