When temperatures skyrocket outside, you count on your air conditioner to supply a continuous stream of cold, refreshing air. If your AC is running, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any cooler in the house, place your hand over a few supply registers. Does the air feel lukewarm? That’s a problem.
7 Reasons Why Your AC isn’t Blowing Cold Air
Consider these possibilities, as well as the troubleshooting tips you can try to help solve the problem before calling a pro.
Incorrect thermostat settings: Just because the blower motor has turned on doesn’t necessarily mean the air conditioner is running. Every thermostat has an “on” setting that keeps the fan continually blowing rather than turning on and off intermittently with the air conditioner. To make sure this isn’t happening, change the setting to “auto.”
Clogged air filter: The filter serves the critical purpose of trapping airborne particles that travel through your ductwork before they can land on and potentially damage your HVAC equipment. Efficient filters can even improve indoor air quality. However, if you go too long without changing the filter, it can become clogged and restrict airflow. If this happens, the evaporator coil may freeze, preventing it from cooling the air. Check and change your air filter to see if that fixes the problem.
Dirty condensing unit: The outdoor portion of your air conditioning system, called the condensing unit, has fins that act as heatsinks. If these fins are coated in dirt, cobwebs, and grass clippings, the condenser may not function properly. To encourage cold air to blow once more, spray down the unit with a garden hose. Also, be sure to keep surrounding vegetation trimmed back to prevent restricting airflow.
Tripped circuit breaker: Air conditioning systems have two circuits—one for the outdoor condensing unit and a second for the indoor air handler. If the breaker for the outdoor unit has tripped, the blower may still operate when the thermostat calls for air conditioning, but the air may feel lukewarm. Reset any tripped breakers to see if you can fix the problem.
Low refrigerant charge or leak: Refrigerant is the key to air conditioning. If your unit’s charge is low—either due to a mistake at installation or a leaky refrigerant line—the AC may fail to cool properly. Checking the charge, fixing a leak, and topping off the refrigerant if necessary is a job only a professional HVAC technician can perform.
Dirty evaporator coils: The evaporator located near the air handler is responsible for extracting heat from the indoor air as it circulates over the coils. If these coils are caked with grime, they won’t function properly. Professional cleaning is required to get the evaporator coil running efficiently again.
Bad compressor: The compressor is responsible for circulating refrigerant between the inside and outside units. If it isn’t working properly, the AC can’t blow cold air. A broken compressor may need to be replaced. Unless the part is still under warranty, it may be more cost effective to replace your entire air conditioner.
Schedule AC Repair in Richmond, VA
An HVAC technician can diagnose the exact problem and provide the AC repair you need. In fact, many of the reasons that cause an AC to stop blowing cold air can only be fixed by a trained professional. Once your air conditioner is up and running again, keep it that way with routine HVAC maintenance.
Strange sounds coming from any appliance in your home can be alarming. When odd noises are coming from your air conditioner, your cooling system is likely experiencing some problems. Knowing what may be causing the screeching, rattling, or other unusual sounds from your AC can help you troubleshoot the problem—or know when it’s time to call for repair service.
Here’s a look at some of the most common noises ACs make, what they mean, and when to call an HVAC contractor for repair service.
6 Unusual Air Conditioner Noises & What They Mean
1. Grinding Noises
Grinding noises that sound like metal rubbing against metal typically indicate that:
A component is loose, damaged, or worn out.
At least one part needs to be replaced.
Since it’s difficult to know which part—or parts—may be causing the grinding noises, it’s best to contact an AC expert to inspect your system and making the proper repairs.
If you ignore this problem and let the loose or damaged components continue grinding as you run your air conditioner, they can damage surrounding parts. And that can increase the risk of system failures. It may even result in the need for early AC replacement.
2. Squeaking or Squealing
High-pitched squealing noises are most commonly associated with a belt in the fan assembly that’s past its prime. Less often, squeaking or squealing can be a red flag of problems with the fan bearings.
While these issues should be repaired promptly, they’re not an emergency. In other words, you won’t have to shut off your system or schedule emergency AC repair if your system starts squeaking or squealing.
3. Gurgling or Hissing Noises
Hissing or bubbling noises usually mean a problem with the refrigerant lines in your home’s AC system. Commonly, this will be a refrigerant leak that must be taken care of by a professional as soon as possible. That’s because refrigerant leaks often lead to AC system freezing or frost formation on the evaporator coils. And these issues can trigger complete system failures.
4. High-Pitched Screaming
Unlike a squeak or squeal, a loud screaming noise tends to indicate a more serious problem. This sound most commonly comes from the outdoor unit, which houses the condenser and the AC compressor.
Often, the screaming noise is due to excessive pressure building in the compressor unit. This is potentially very dangerous and should be repaired ASAP. If you notice this noise, shut your AC off and immediately make a call for emergency air conditioner repair service.
5. Repetitive Tapping
Fast-paced tapping or clicking noises from the outdoor AC unit usually mean debris has been caught in the fan. Sticks, leaves, bits of paper, and other debris can produce this noise. This isn’t an emergency, but you’ll need an expert’s help to take apart the unit, locate all of the debris, and remove it.
6. Electrical Clicking
Clicking noises, especially when heard indoors as your system cycles on or off, are usually related to serious electrical problems with components like:
An electrical connection
The AC wiring
Turn off your AC system and call for repair service whenever you hear this type of clicking.
Avoid AC Noises with Seasonal Air Conditioner Maintenance
Many AC noises and problems can be avoided entirely with regular system maintenance. These AC tune-ups include:
Compressor and condenser checks
Electrical connection checks
Air filter changes
Fan assembly calibrations
And much more
In other words, an annual AC tune-up offers your system all it needs to stay quiet, efficient, and fully functional.
Whether you need AC repairs to stop the noises coming from your system and fix the underlying issues causing them—or you’re ready to schedule AC maintenance service, Short Pump Heating & Air has you covered!
Call (804) 364-9040 or contact us online now to schedule service anywhere in the Short Pump or Richmond, VA, area!