Central Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Guide: Signs, Common Issues and Repairs

By September 11, 2020Blog
central air conditioner troubleshooting

On average, central air conditioners last between 15 to 20 years. During this period, these units experience a variety of problems that you must address to keep your home cool and comfortable. Sure, regular maintenance can go a long way in averting major repair issues, but general wear and tear will inevitably take their toll on the entire system, bringing occasional glitches in their wake.

So how do you know when your central AC has a problem? More importantly, how can you address common AC problems when they strike?

In this comprehensive guide, we discuss central air conditioner troubleshooting. We hope that by the time you’re through reading, you’ll have all the information you need to prevent AC problems or appropriately address them when they occur.

Read on for eight common issues and repairs when it comes to AC systems.

1. AC Won’t Turn On

This basic AC problem is quite common. You try to turn on your AC, and instead of the unit giving you cool, refreshing air, there’s nothing.

Fortunately, the problem is almost always easy to fix. If your central AC won’t turn on, it’s very likely that you don’t have power. Check the circuit breaker box for a tripped fuse or blown breaker.

Flip the switch and see whether that fixes the problem. In case this doesn’t solve the issue, try checking the wiring in your AC’s thermostat. Fix any frayed or loose wires in the thermostat to get the system working again.

2. Problems Adjusting Your Thermostat

Thermostat issues, like we hinted earlier, are often the reason your AC won’t turn on or blow cool air. Start by calibrating the thermostat correctly. Setting the thermostat correctly enables it to regulate the temperature in your house.

What if the thermostat’s settings are correct, but the AC still won’t work? Contact an expert in central air conditioner troubleshooting and repairs for help. AC technicians should have no problem recalibrating all kinds of thermostats.

3. Dirty, Clogged, or Leaking Air Ducts

Cool, refreshing air from your central AC passes through air ducts to every room in your home.

The ducts pull hot air from your living spaces and direct it to the AC unit where it’s cooled. Over time, these air ducts can become dirty or clogged, restricting the movement of cool air throughout your home. Rodents can also make holes in your HVAC’s ductwork, causing air to leak from them. If you’ve recently noticed that your central AC doesn’t cool your home evenly, then chances are the ductwork is leaking.

Another sure sign that your ductwork has problems is an inflated electric bill. That’s because your HVAC system is overworking to keep your home cool as a result of air escaping through the ducts.

Regularly inspect air ducts for potential problems and take the necessary action to fix them. Alert a seasoned HVAC technician when you suspect that the ductwork needs a thorough inspection.

4. Drainage Problems

Your central AC system removes both moisture and heat from your home’s indoor air. Moisture is removed through a drain line into your AC unit’s pan from where it goes into a drain.

When the pan becomes full, problems can happen. Water can back up into the system, interfering with its ability to cool your home. The drain line can also shift out of its rightful place, sending water to the surrounding instead of the pan.

Sometimes, the drain line gets clogged and prevents proper drainage. All of these issues lead to water leaks and can damage both the AC unit and your belongings. Make sure you regularly check your AC’s drain lines, particularly if you notice that your home is warmer than usual, or there are water spots in your ceiling.

5. The AC Is Noisy

Modern central AC units are relatively quiet. Sure, the system may produce a gentle sound when it turns on and floods your home with cool air. However, if the AC unit is running too loudly, then there must be a problem.

Most times, the issue is with your AC’s fan. It’s likely that the fan is worn, loose, or damaged. It could also be that the belt needs replacement. Either way, you’ll need to have a professional check the problem and fix it.

6. The Evaporator Coil Is Frozen

If the air in your home has suddenly become hotter than usual, it’s probably because your central AC’s evaporator coil is frozen. This essential part of your AC contains refrigerant that absorbs the heat from your home.

When the evaporator coil doesn’t receive sufficient warm air, it might become coated by ice. Sometimes, the coil can freeze completely. When that happens, you’ll start to get inadequate cool air.

The simple solution is to have a season HVAC contractor inspect the evaporator coil and fix the issue.

7. Low Refrigerant Levels

A frozen evaporator coil could also indicate that the refrigerant levels are too low. Your AC’s refrigerant is more important than you may think. Without enough refrigerant, the unit can’t cool the air that gets pulled from your living space.

Your AC’s refrigerant levels may be low due to two reasons. Firstly, it could be that there’s a leak within the system. In such a case, you’ll need professional AC repair.

It could also be that during installation, the unit was undercharged. An AC technician should be able to tell you whether the problem is repairable.

8. Airflow Problems

Where the refrigerant levels are okay, but you still aren’t getting cool air, it could be that the system has airflow problems. These issues are usually caused by dirty filters.

Changing your air filter regularly is essential. Filters need replacement at least once every 90 days. If you own pets, you may need to replace your AC’s filters more often.

Always allow the system to defrost every time you change the filter. Clean any dirt or debris you notice on the evaporator coil too.

Central Air Conditioner Troubleshooting: Now You Have the Facts

All central HVAC units experience glitches from time to time. With some knowledge of central air conditioner troubleshooting, you should be able to address these glitches whenever they strike.

Are you interested in reliable HVAC repair services? Please contact us today.