How to Fix Air Conditioner Problems: 6 Troubleshooting Tips

Your air conditioner is essential for maintaining steady comfort in your home or office building. During summer, the last thing you want is a faulty AC.

When it comes to air conditioner problems, diagnosing the issue is the first step to repairing it. You will want to troubleshoot the problem and make easy fixes without needing help from a professional, which will save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Some AC problems are easy to diagnose and fix, even if you aren’t mechanically inclined. Below are six troubleshooting tips on how to fix air conditioner problems:

1. Fix Low Refrigerant Levels

When an air conditioner unit is low on refrigerant, it means there is a leak somewhere in the system or it was undercharged at installation. Generally, the latter is rare. When your AC unit is running low on refrigerant, a leak is probably the culprit. In such a case, merely adding the refrigerant isn’t a real solution.

It is difficult to fix an air conditioner problem with low refrigerant. Repairing a leak in your AC unit is a task that is best left to experienced professionals. This is critical, especially if the leak is located in an access port, valve, evaporator, or condensing coils. Such repairs will often need some heavy-duty soldering.

2. Fix Broken Blower Motor

When an air conditioner fails to start, and the blower motor doesn’t fire up, the unit might be experiencing several problems. It could be a tripped breaker, in which case you should check the breaker panel to diagnose if it’s the source of the problem.

An AC unit typically has two different breakers. One is used by the condenser and the other by the fan. If the breaker is tripped halfway, turn it off first, then turn it back on. If it continues to flip when you try to start the unit, it’s likely that the breaker is faulty and needs replacing.

The overflow shut-off switch is another possible source of the problem. A clogged drain could have set off the switch, or the switch itself could be faulty. Ensure the drain line is unclogged and working as it’s designed to. Damaged or faulty wiring could also be the reason. In such a situation, you’re better off with an air conditioner repair service to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

3. Fix Frozen Coil

A frozen coil is the most common reason AC units won’t blow cold air. Fortunately, this is a problem that can be solved without having to seek professional help.

The air conditioner coil could be freezing up because the airflow is being restricted by a dirty filter. It could also be because the unit is low on refrigerant or perhaps the temperature outside is too low. It might also be caused by broken parts in the system.

To fix a frozen coil, start by turning off the AC. Next, set the fan to run on auto. This will melt the ice around the coil. Inspect the evaporator coil and air filter for debris and dirt and clean up if necessary. Check the ductwork for disconnections or obstructions and ensure the registers aren’t blocked. If your AC is still freezing up, the refrigerant line is probably damaged.

4. Fix Short Cycling

When an air conditioner unit repeatedly cycles on and off every couple of minutes, the problem could be a result of one of many things. The thermostat placement, which is a structural issue, could be the cause, or the AC unit might be too large for your place of business or home. It could also be as simple as a dirty filter, bad thermostat or refrigerant leak.

Causes of short-cycling are often closely related to those of a frozen AC unit; so, take the same measures to resolve the problem. In most cases, simply cleaning or replacing the filter will be able to fix the air conditioner. Make sure it’s the first step you take.

5. Fix Air Conditioner Smells

When water collects in the air conditioning unit’s HVAC box, bacteria tend to build up, emitting a foul odour, which resembles the scent of vinegar or urine. If you turn on the AC in these conditions, your entire house will be left smelling. The problem could be an old filter, a nest of wild animals in the system, leaking antifreeze, or a sneaky pet.

To know what exactly is causing the foul smell in your AC, inspect it or have it inspected. First, check to see if the outside of your unit is damaged as this could give access to wild animals and pets. If damaged, it’s best to consult an HVAC professional before you can take further action. Next, check if the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced, then take the appropriate action. If leaking antifreeze is the problem, locate the leak and fix it.

6. Fix AC Blowing Hot Air

If your air conditioner is blowing hot air, check your thermostat before doing anything else. Make sure you didn’t accidentally set it to “fan” or “heat.” Simply setting it on “auto” or “cool” should do the trick. If you’re still experiencing the problem, it’s time to call the professionals.

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