No air conditioning system is foolproof, so it is inevitable a problem will arise at some point. Fortunately, some issues with your air conditioner only require a simple fix on your part. For more complex issues, you will need the assistance of a technician to diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs.
One of the easiest problems to fix is the thermostat. Many households have an older thermostat that has worn out. Sometimes your thermostat is simply not reading the household temperature correctly, so even though you have set your system to turn on at a certain temperature, it may be much hotter before your system actually responds. Your thermostat's ability to sense the temperature inside your home may not be the actual problem, but the wiring may have failed and your thermostat is then unable to convey a signal to your system to turn on and off.
If you have a digital thermostat, be sure the problem is not a dead battery. Much like the smoke detectors in your home, make replacing the battery every six months a part of your routine.
Condenser Unit Woes
Your condenser unit is the device located outside with the large fan. When your air conditioner is on, the fan rotates to move warm air away from your home. If your air conditioner is not working properly even though the system turns on, take a peek outside to see if the fan is running. When the fan is no longer running, this can be caused by several issues. The motor could have failed, so your fan will no longer rotate. Another concern is that your condenser unit is susceptible to the elements, so it may be clogged by debris that has either built up around the unit or fallen inside the unit.
Sometimes the fan continues to rotate after the air conditioner has turned off. If this occurs, check your thermostat to see whether you have the fan on instead of on automatic. You should always keep the fan in the automatic position so it only turns on when the system is actively cooling. To minimize problems with your condenser unit, routinely use a broom to brush debris off the top and from around the unit.
Filter And Vent Issues
Sometimes what seems like an air conditioning problem is really an issue with your filters or vents. It is easy to forget to change your filters or believe they don't need to be changed. Your household environment will affect how long your filters last. Some need to be changed more often than monthly if your home is dusty or filled with pet hair. Usually, if the problem is with a single room, there is likely a problem with the vent inside that room. The parts used to control airflow may have broken and are now blocking the vent, or someone may have inadvertently closed the vent, especially if it is located in the floor. If the issue is deeper in the ductwork, you will notice little or no cooling throughout your home.
Coolant is a necessary product that allows your system to cool the air before it is returned to your home. If your system is low on coolant, your system will turn on, but the air coming from the vents will be warm or hot. In most instances, simply adding coolant to the system will fix the problem. Sometimes the troubles with coolant can be more complex, such as your system being unable to maintain the coolant level because of leaks. The problem will be more or less obvious based on the size of the leak. Your technician may add coolant and your system will seem fixed, but a day or a week later, the same problem resurfaces. When this occurs, your technician will need to figure out where the leak is occurring. If the leak is fairly small, it may be virtually invisible, so simply replacing all the hoses responsible for carrying coolant throughout your system would be the better strategy.
It is not always easy to pinpoint what is causing air conditioning troubles. Completing basic repairs, such as replacing the battery in your thermostat, replacing the filters, and cleaning the vents, will help you identify if your problem requires professional assistance. Call an air conditioning repair technician for more information.