When the heat of summer kicks in, you’re counting on your air conditioning unit to kick in as well. Unfortunately, it tends to be when we want that cool relief most that we can discover issues with our HVAC system. This is one reason routine preventative maintenance is so useful – it helps keep us from sweltering in the dog days of summer. 

Your air conditioning system has many components, so it can be difficult to know where to begin when things heat up and won’t come down. If your air conditioner seems to be running, but isn’t actually cooling, there are a few troubleshooting steps that can be taken to help you determine what action to take next. 

Are Your Thermostat Settings Wrong?

a well-manicured hand adjusting a thermostatLet’s start with the simplest solution. First, check the thermostat settings. It’s possible someone may have set it to “off” or “constant fan” or adjusted the temperature setting. (If you have a home with littles, the odds of this occurring goes up substantially.)

Check that your system is set to cool and placed at the desired temperature. After you make any adjustments, let the system kick on and wait a few minutes. Then check that the air blowing from the registers is cold. If it is, you should be good to go! Also, be sure that vents are open and windows and doors are closed.

Thermostats can also malfunction. If your thermostat isn’t calibrated correctly, the wiring’s gone bad, or it’s being influenced by external heat sources like direct sunlight, it may not accurately sense the temperature of the room, causing the air conditioner to run too long or not kick on when needed.

Has Your Breaker Tripped?

If your system isn’t running at all, a tripper breaker may be the culprit. Check your breaker panel. Your AC breakers should be labeled. Flip them off, then on again to see if your problem is resolved.

Do You Need to Change Your Filters?

Good airflow is imperative to air conditioning system functioning. Most air conditioning systems contain an air filter that catches dust and other particles located on the indoor air handler unit. But these filters don’t only improve the air quality in your home, they also keep the components of your A/C unit cleaner and operating with greater efficiency.

Your filter serves your system – until your filter becomes dirty. A dirty air filter can block airflow and keep your system from cooling well. If left unchecked, it can even cause your system to shut down entirely. 

If your system isn’t generating cool air, check your air filter. It should be changed regularly, and if it’s dirty it should be changed even if it’s ahead of the normal scheduled time. Also, walk through your home and check your vents and registers. If they’re obstructed, rearrange furniture or move objects that are blocking them to improve air circulation.

Is It Time to Clean Your Condenser Coils?

a gray ac unit on a concrete slabIf the air filter on your indoor unit looks clear, examine the condenser coils on your outdoor condenser unit. Your condenser coils are responsible for releasing heat absorbed from the indoor air outside of your home. Over time, these coils can accumulate dirt, grass, and debris, hindering their ability to effectively expel heat. If your air conditioner is running, but the temperature inside isn’t lower, a blocked or clogged condenser coil could be to blame.

If your condenser coil appears to be congested with debris, you can try to clean it carefully with a soft brush or the brush attachment of your vacuum, or try gently rinsing it with a hose. If the clog is severe or your system still isn’t cooling your home, you’ll want to enlist professional help.

Are You Experiencing Refrigerant Issues?

Indoors, your air conditioner system will also include an evaporator coil that warm air passes through to have heat energy and humidity removed. If this coil freezes, home cooling will be inadequate. Another issue could involve a refrigerant leak. In either case, these aren’t do-it-yourself jobs and should be handled by a professional. Accessing the evaporator coil is difficult, and addressing refrigerant issues requires specialized training and tools.

Is Your A/C Unit Outdated or Poorly Sized?

If keeping your home cool has become a perennial problem, it’s possible that your unit is undersized for your living space or was incorrectly installed. Older units (think fifteen years or older) are also inefficient and may not cool effectively if not upgraded. If you suspect one of these issues, contact an HVAC professional to assess square footage and other factors as they relate to the cooling requirements of your home.

Whatever the Problem, We’re Here to Help

If you’re experiencing an issue with your cooling system, or if you simply want to maximize the efficiency of your system, we can help. We offer airflow diagnostic testing, HVAC service plans, and a high level of expertise and skill in identifying and addressing HVAC issues. Let us help you stay cool this summer.

Call 615-247-6617 or reach out online today.