7 Air Conditioner Problems That Homeowners Face & Their Solutions
The summer season has arrived, and it’s time for the air conditioners to do the magic that they do every year. Air conditioners, which were forgotten in the past few months, are again the talk of the town and air conditioner problems simply cannot be tolerated!
90% of homes in the United States use some sort of air conditioning. In the summer season, the use of air conditioning units is significantly increased. However, there are a few homeowners who run into trouble once they start their air conditioner. After such a dormant period, there can be several problems associated with air conditioners and it is important to give your units a good checkup before putting them back into use.
Like all electric appliances, air conditioners also need a regular tune-up. Some smart gadgets like smart AC controllers keep you updated with maintenance issues but keeping a check on your own is also important. This helps you catch any potential problems beforehand so that they do not turn into a costly repair down the road.
Read over some common air conditioner problems to get your air conditioner running in excellent condition.
- Water Leak (Inside the House)
- Water Leak (Outside the House)
- AC Refrigerant Leak
- Dirty Air Filter
- Frozen Evaporator Coil
- Failure of Electric Control
- AC Fan Failure
Air Conditioner Problem 1: Water Leak (Indoors)
If you see water leaking from your air conditioner’s indoor unit, then your maintenance is overdue! The reason of water leaks from an air conditioner might be that the condensate drain of the system gets clogged up due to algae or fungi, and causes the water to back up the pipe and into your home. Another possible reason could be that your condensate pump may have broken down completely and is in need of a replacement.
Solution to water leaking indoors:
The water leak is one of the common air conditioner problems and can be fixed with the help of a technician or even a home DIY solution. The clogged condensate pipe can be unclogged using a wet or dry vacuum. You can also pour 6 ounces of vinegar in the drain line to kill fungi or algae buildup. The exact location of the drain pipe within your unit may wary, so do consult the user manual beforehand.
Air Conditioner Problem 2: Water Leak (Outdoors)
On hot summer days, you might witness a puddle of water outside the house right under the compressor of your air conditioner. This could be because of several reasons which include a dry air filter, broken condensate pan, bad AC seal, improper installation, etc.
Solution to water leaking outdoors:
The first thing that you should do after diagnosing this problem is to turn off your air conditioner and disconnect the power supply. Things can get tricky if this problem is not taken care of timely. For such a type of air conditioner problems, you might need to call a professional.
Air Conditioner Problem 3: AC Refrigerant Leak
AC refrigerant is also known as Freon and is responsible for cooling the air within your air conditioning system. As the name suggests, it is the actual mechanism through which an AC cools your home. Sometimes though the refrigerant can leak and this reduces the efficiency of your air conditioner. Moreover, leaks can also be harmful to the immediate environment.
Solution for AC refrigerant leak:
In case of a minor leak, you will have to top-up the refrigerant and apply a minor fix. In case of a larger fault within the pipes, the whole network might need to be changed. While recharging the refrigerant, be careful not to overcharge or undercharge the refrigerant. The performance of your AC remains top-notch if the refrigerant charge matches the manufacturer’s specifications.
You can detect the leak at home using multiple ways of detection. Once detected, analyze the problem and undertake necessary actions to patch up the leak. If needed, call a professional timely and get the leak fixed to avoid further AC problems.
Air Conditioner Problem 4: Dirty AC Filter
An air conditioner filter plays an important role in keeping the airflow clean and free from dust and pollutants. A clogged air filter restricts the airflow, decreasing the efficiency of your air conditioning system. A dirty filter also reduces the ability of the system to cool the air effectively. Always check the filter manufacturer’s recommendation about when to change or clean the air filter. The usual time is after 3-4 months. Moreover, smart AC controllers can also help you keep a check on your system’s filter status. They can send an alert about when to clean the air filter.
Solution for a dirty AC filter:
If you feel that your air conditioner’s airflow is feeling stuffy or clogged up, check the air filter and try cleaning it since it is probably that dirty air filter restricting the airflow. Pet owners should be extra careful about the air filters because they would need to change the air filter more often due to pet fur. You should change your air filter every 2 months if you have a pet at home.
Air Conditioner Problem 5: Frozen Evaporator Coil
Your AC might stop working and it could be because of a frozen evaporator coil. The evaporator coil freezes when your air conditioner does not receive enough air needed by an air conditioning system to operate. A frozen evaporator coil can make your AC freeze up and it might stop working. Sometimes sheets of ice begin to accumulate on the coil. Over time, the coil is encased with ice, preventing the refrigerant in the coil to absorb latent heat. This AC problem disrupts smooth air conditioning.
Solution for a frozen evaporator coil:
To diagnose this problem, first inspect the damage. Let the evaporator coil thaw (defrost). This can be done by not using the unit. Be sure to disconnect the power first. The evaporator coil usually takes 24 hours to thaw completely. You can speed up the process by using a hairdryer. But be careful, not to overheat the coil. In case of moderate frost, keep your system running on fan mode since the blower fan melts away the frost without shutting down the unit. You will probably need to call a professional to then rectify the problem.
Air Conditioner Problem 6: Failure of Electric Control
Sometimes you turn your air conditioner on and off so much that the compressor and fan of the system wear out. The compressor, condenser motor, and blower motor are connected making a connection to start the unit. A disruption in the connection due to corrosion of wires or the terminals can prevent the compressor and motor from turning on.
Solution for a failure in electric control:
To determine the issue, check the electrical connection and if you cannot determine the issue then seek a professional’s help. Such air conditioner problems can be prevented with regular AC maintenance.
Air Conditioner Problem 7: AC Fan Failure
The outside unit of an AC transfers the heat from indoors to outdoors through a fan located in the outdoor unit. If the fan located outside of the house does not perform efficiently, then proper heat transfer does not take place. As a result of this, the air conditioner’s compressor may overheat or might trip the safety load. The worst case is when it may cause internal damage to the compressor which could lead to the replacement of an air conditioner.
Solution for AC fan failure:
If the fan of your system stops, then there might be an issue with the wiring of your system or some loose component somewhere. In such cases, simply remove the outer casing and visually inspect the problem. Again, be sure to turn the power off beforehand. In most cases though, it might be difficult for you to diagnose such an air conditioner issue so it is better to call a professional and get the air conditioner fixed the proper way.
Use Your Newfound Knowledge!
These are some of the common AC-related problems that air conditioner owners can face before or during the peak time of air conditioner usage. These problems need to be catered to avoid bigger air conditioner issues. With this new information about air conditioner problems, you can now safely assess these problems with your air conditioning units and get them resolved sooner rather than later. Regular air conditioner maintenance can also help you to detect underlying problems that can possibly decrease the efficiency of your system or might even lead to AC failure.