Common AC Repair Issues and What to Do About Them

The month of May is when many homeowners and businesses in the Baltimore area crank up the central air conditioning (AC) for the first time since last fall. As the temperatures rise and pollen counts rise, opening the windows just isn’t an option. But what if your AC doesn’t cool as you would expect? You turn to the internet to see what’s going on.

Today, we’re going to discuss common AC repair issues and what to do about them. In some cases, you may be able to troubleshoot and fix the issue yourself. But in most cases, you’re going to want to call in HVAC repair professionals. But it helps to be prepared to discuss the problem from an informed standpoint.

Let’s get started.

1. AC Won’t Turn On

This one can be frustrating but may have a simple fix. Make sure your thermostat is set to Cool. If it is, and the AC won’t turn on even if you lower the temperature, check to see if your AC tripped a breaker. Reset the breaker if it was tripped. This may allow the system to turn on. If it doesn’t, or the breaker keeps tripping, call for AC repair.

You may have wiring issues, or you may have a bad capacitor, which powers the compressor and fans.

2. AC Blowing Hot Air

This is a pretty common problem. When your home or business is already too hot for comfort, the last thing you want is more hot air. Hot air can have several causes:

  • A dirty filter
  • An obstruction in your air ducts
  • A refrigerant leak

Check your filter, and if it’s dirty, replace it. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you may want to call in a professional. Keep reading for clues to indicate you might have a refrigerant leak.

3. Outdoor AC Unit Freezing Up

Now we go from hot air to icy conditions. If your central AC isn’t cooling and you’ve checked the filter and the thermostat, it could be that your AC unit is freezing up. Go outside to check the outdoor unit. Do you see any ice? It might be on your refrigerant line or the evaporator coil.

A dirty filter could again be the culprit. So could a clog in the condensate lines. So can a dirty evaporator coil. Regular maintenance can prevent all of these things from causing your AC unit to freeze up.

4. AC Refrigerant Leaking

If your AC refrigerant is leaking, it can cause lots of problems, from high power consumption to a freezing coil or damaged compressor. None of those are good things. But how do you know if you have a refrigerant leak? Check for brightly colored liquid or stains near your outside AC unit. If you see any, turn the system off and call your AC repair service. Yearly maintenance can help you avoid this problem.

5. AC Leaking Water

On a hot summer day, it’s normal for there to be some water/condensation near your outdoor AC unit. But a large puddle could be a sign of other problems such as a broken condensate pan or a bad seal. A water leak inside indicates a problem with your drainage system. Call for AC repair, and consider scheduling yearly maintenance.

6. Central AC Making Noise

It’s normal for your central AC system to make some noise, both inside and outside your home or business. But if you hear clicking, thumping, rattling, or screeching, there’s a problem with your system, and you need to call for AC repair.

7. AC Keeps Turning On and Off

If your AC keeps turning on and off, it’s short cycling. This can damage the compressor. The problem could be due to the sensor, thermostat, or dirty filter.  Another possibility, although unlikely, is that your air conditioner is not sized properly for your home or business. Call for AC service to let the experts determine the problem and the solution.

8. AC Breaker Keeps Tripping

It’s never good when any appliance keeps tripping a breaker. If your AC breaker keeps tripping, it may be due to poor installation. The more likely cause is a problem with your capacitors, air filter, coils, refrigerant level, compressor, or the circuit breaker box itself. Turn off the AC and call the professionals to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

9. AC Smells Musty

Yuck. A musty smell in your home or business when you’re running the air conditioning, there is likely a problem with the unit’s drainage system. If the condensate line is clogged or your drain pan is full, it can allow mildew to grow. You may also have a problem with your air vents. A professional will be able to diagnose and fix the issue.

10. Thermostat  Malfunctioning

A malfunctioning thermostat is a common problem – especially with older models. They do age out and can have dirt and corrosion built up behind them. And if you have a model that operates on batteries, the batteries may have gone dead. See if replacing them returns things to normal.

For an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a digital programmable thermostat. Newer models help you save on your energy bills.

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance

You may have noticed that many AC repair issues can be avoided if you simply change the filter regularly, and schedule regular maintenance. We can’t stress enough how important it is to check your AC filter BEFORE you turn on the AC for the first time. Change it if it is dirty, and continue to change it monthly for the thinner filters, and at least every 90 days for the filters that are 2”-5” thick.


Get Ready for Warmer Weather with AC Maintenance

Schedule AC Repair for Your Home or Business

If your central air conditioning isn’t cooling as it should, we can help. We provide AC repair services for residential and commercial customers alike. We’ll let you know if it’s an easy and inexpensive fix, or whether we would recommend you replace your aging system.

You might also want to consider one of our HVAC service plans to keep your heating and cooling systems in top shape. We serve Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, and Harford County and surrounding areas. Call (410) 477-3345 to schedule service.