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Central Air Conditioner Problems

What do you do if your central air conditioner is not working properly? Some solutions you can troubleshoot yourself. Some problems will need the attention of a heating and cooling contractor.

Here are the most common central air conditioner problems:

  • Your air conditioner stops working completely. If your air conditioner fails, first check the fuses and circuit breakers.
  • The compressor switches off - on a hot day. If your compressor switches off, it may mean the high-pressure limit switch has tripped. Reset it by pushing the button in the compressor's access panel.
  • The a/c is making a lot of noise. If your air conditioner is making an unusual amount of noise, check the fan blades. Turn off the conditioner before you do this. The blades must be clean for your air conditioner to function noiselessly.
  • The evaporator coils have frost build up. Frost may build up on the evaporator coils if you have the a/c on when the temperature is less than 60 degrees. Switch off your a/c when you see frost buildup occurring.
  • The refrigerant is leaking from your a/c. Leaks can happen if your a/c is low on refrigerant or if it was not properly installed. If it leaks, adding refrigerant will not solve the problem. Get a trained technician to fix it. To perform efficiently, refrigerant charge should conform to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • You have a leaky a/c. If water is leaking inside the system, and the system is not cooling, it could be because the cooling coil froze. This can be caused by low refrigerant charge or insufficient airflow. You will need to have a technician correct this.
  • Room temperature and thermostat temperature don't match. If the room temperature is lower than the temperature set on the thermostat, the thermostat may not be calibrated properly or it may be installed in an area where it can't sense the room air correctly.
  • Your a/c is running, but the air isn't getting cooler. When your air conditioner doesn't cool the air, but continues to run, it might just need to be cleaned. You should do this on a warm day and follow the instructions in your manufacturer's manual. If the units are running but not cooling, touch the larger of the copper lines exiting the condenser. If it is warm, the system could be out of freon or it could be compressor failure. If the line seems frozen, there could be airflow problems in it because of a clogged filter. Switch the system off and let it thaw. If it happens again when you start it up, call your technician.
  • The air ducts are noisy. Noisy air ducts can be a result of metal heating and cooling ducts, and these can be fixed by the installation of flexible insulation ductwork. You should let your heating and cooling contractor do this.

Usually, keeping the a/c components clean can avoid many problems. Dirt may make the compressor or fans fail before they should. Clean all dirty filters and coils in your a/c to keep it functioning properly. Always keep the manufacturer's manual handy and if you don't have one, request one from the manufacturer.

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