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AC Not Cooling? Discover Why and How to Fix Your AC

When the summer heat reaches its peak, you rely on your home's central air system to keep you cool and comfortable. However, if your AC is not cooling, it can leave you feeling hot and...

When the summer heat reaches its peak, you rely on your home's central air system to keep you cool and comfortable. However, if your AC is not cooling, it can leave you feeling hot and frustrated. In this article, we'll explore the most common reasons why your air conditioner may not be cooling your space and provide you with practical solutions to fix the issue.

standing-fan-in-room Image source: SanaulAC

Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

From minor adjustments to essential repairs, here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot your AC system and restore its cooling capabilities.

Check the Thermostat Setting

Always start with the simplest solution first. Verify that your thermostat is set to "cool" and "auto." When the thermostat is on "auto," the fan only operates when the AC is actively working to reach your desired temperature. On the other hand, the "on" setting means the fan will run continuously, circulating the air in your home but not necessarily cooling it. Simply adjusting the thermostat settings can often resolve the issue and bring back the coolness.

Clean or Change the Air Filter

The air filter in your AC system plays a crucial role in capturing pollutants such as dirt, pet dander, pollen, and dust. Over time, these filters can become clogged, reducing the airflow and preventing your AC from cooling effectively. It's essential to monitor the cleanliness of your filters and clean or replace them every 60 to 90 days. If the filter appears dirty before that timeframe, it's best to change it promptly.

Check for an AC Refrigerant Leak

Similar to how your vehicle relies on coolant, your home's HVAC system depends on refrigerant to cool the air. If there is a refrigerant leak or if the refrigerant levels are low, your AC will struggle to cool your space adequately. Look out for hissing or whistling sounds coming from the outdoor unit, as these noises indicate a leak. Recharging the system with more refrigerant is a job best left to certified HVAC technicians, so be sure to seek professional help in this scenario.

Deteriorating Ductwork

If the ductwork in your home is old or damaged, cool air may escape before reaching your rooms. Misalignment, holes, or damage caused by animals or service providers can all contribute to this problem. Inspect your ductwork in the attic or crawl space to identify any air leaks. If necessary, consult an HVAC expert to address the issue and ensure proper airflow throughout your home.

Blocked Condenser Coils

Dirt and dust accumulation can block the condenser coils of your AC unit, preventing the heat energy from dissipating properly. This can cause your AC to blow air that's not cool. You can clean the condenser coils by following these simple steps:

  1. Check the coils for any damage. If you notice erosion or destruction, it's recommended to contact a local HVAC professional for further inspection.
  2. Use a home AC coil brush to remove visible debris from the coils.
  3. Straighten any bent coil fins using a fin comb. The brush can also help reach inaccessible debris.
  4. Spray the coils with a garden hose to remove loose debris.
  5. Apply coil cleaner to the unit and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Rinse off the foam coil spray and remaining debris using a water hose. Use a sweeping motion to ensure all cleaner and dirt are removed.

If your AC continues to run but fails to blow cold air even after cleaning the condenser coils, it's advisable to contact an HVAC expert for further assistance.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil, located in the outdoor unit of your HVAC system, plays a vital role in absorbing heat energy from the air inside your home. A dirty coil or inadequate airflow can cause the coil to freeze over, resulting in your AC not cooling properly. If you suspect a frozen evaporator coil, you may notice a gradual decline in cooling performance and potentially an increase in your energy bill. To address this issue, you can try removing the front panel of your outdoor unit and allowing the coil to thaw naturally over 24 hours. However, it's always best to consult an HVAC technician for a proper assessment and repair.

Preventative Measures for an AC Not Cooling

To avoid encountering issues with your central air conditioning system, it's essential to perform regular maintenance and take preventative measures. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your AC runs smoothly and efficiently:

  • Change air filters regularly: Most filters should be replaced every 60 to 90 days. However, if you live in an area with heavy pollen or have furry family members, check the filter more frequently and replace it promptly if it appears dirty.
  • Inspect your ductwork for damage: Check your AC ductwork in the attic or crawl space for any signs of damage or holes. If you're unsure or prefer professional assistance, an HVAC expert can inspect and clean the ducts to remove dust and debris buildup.
  • Install a smart thermostat: A programmable thermostat can enhance the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Many thermostats come with system-monitoring technology that alerts you to potential malfunctions, ensuring you can address issues promptly.
  • Keep the outdoor unit clean: Regularly clear away leaves, sticks, and other debris that could damage or block the condenser coils during yard work.
  • Schedule routine AC maintenance: To prevent your AC from failing to cool your home, consider scheduling seasonal HVAC maintenance. An experienced technician can inspect your system for any damage, leaks, or signs of wear and tear that should be addressed before the onset of the heating or cooling seasons.

Choosing the right HVAC company for your home is crucial to ensure the proper upkeep and performance of your unit. Use these tips to research and hire the best heating and cooling company for your needs.

Remember, when your AC is not cooling, it's essential to troubleshoot and address the issue promptly to enjoy a comfortable and cool home during those scorching summer days.