7 Common Air Conditioner Problems (and How to Solve Them)
Is your air conditioner on the fritz? You’re not alone. Read this guide to discover the 7 most common air conditioner problems and how to solve them.

Air conditioner problems turn your home into a sweltering pit of misery. Even worse, a lot of air conditioner issues are detrimental to your health.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do—lots of things, actually. And we’re going to teach them to you in this AC troubleshooting guide.

This guide tells you what’s most likely causing your air conditioning problems and what you can do to fix them. Troubleshoot your malfunctioning AC now with this checklist. 

1. The Airflow Is Weak

Does this sound familiar? You hear or see the thermostat turn on but there’s little-to-no air coming from the vents.

The most common cause of weak airflow is a clog somewhere in the system. Here’s what you should do to troubleshoot.

What to Do

The first thing you should do is to check your air filter. When the filter is full to capacity with indoor air pollutants, it becomes a clog, blocking the airflow. Check your filter now and replace it if necessary.

If your filter is new but you’re still getting weak airflow, check the outdoor unit. Does it look like there are leaves, live plants, or other debris clogging up your outdoor unit? Try to remove the debris if you can safely do so.

Also, check if the AC drains are clogged. Use a drain snake or wet-and-dry vacuum to remove any drain blockages.

If you are unable to unclog your system or the problem persists after unclogging, call professional HVAC repair. It could be a clogged duct, an air leak, a failing compressor, or any number of other causes. An HVAC professional will know for sure.

2. The Air Is Warm Instead of Cold

Next, are you getting warm instead of cold air? This also may indicate that your compressor is failing.

Or it could be that your system’s low on refrigerant or that debris is blocking the outdoor unit. Hopefully, though, it’s only a simple thermostat issue.

What to Do

First, check what the thermostat says/is set to when the hot air’s coming out. You may have simply turned the heat on by mistake. Or, the thermostat may be running a program that keeps changing the setting back to heat.

Make sure you understand how to work your thermostat and that you program it correctly. If you’re certain it’s set to cold but you’re getting hot air anyway, then continue troubleshooting.

Check the outdoor unit for debris and clear it away if there is any. Also, check for ice buildup. Your condenser coils could be frozen.

In this case, run the fan without the hot or cold air on until the ice melts. Then, try the AC again.

Finally, if none of this works, call a professional HVAC technician

3. It’s Always Humid Inside

Air conditioners are supposed to dehumidify the air in your home. When it’s humid inside the house, follow these steps.

What to Do

You’re probably low on refrigerant. In any case, all you can really do is call it in and have a professional look at it.

4. There’s Moisture or Puddles Around the System

Moisture or puddles around your air conditioner unit could indicate a blocked AC drain. But it could also mean you have a poisonous refrigerant leak. Follow these steps right away.

What to Do

First, turn off the system in case it is a refrigerant leak. Then, check the AC drain and remove any blockages. If the drain isn’t the problem, don’t wait to call for emergency HVAC repair.

5. There Are Weird Smells Coming from the Air Conditioner

There are a great number of foul odors you may notice coming from your AC. Some air conditioners give off a musty or burnt aroma when turned on. Others produce a stench reminiscent of vinegar or urine.

Usually, these odors are more than merely unpleasant. They typically pose a serious health risk.

What to Do

Unfortunately, the possible causes of these odors are even more numerous than the odors themselves. There could be a nest or a dead animal inside your AC unit.

Or, the unit could be leaking antifreeze or have burnt-out wiring. Another common cause is that water has collected inside the unit and is growing bacteria or mold.

Most of these pose a health hazard to everyone in the house. So, if you notice any strange odors coming from your AC, shut it off now and call for emergency HVAC repair.

6. There Are Weird Sounds Coming from the Air Conditioner

Buzzing, clanking, screeching—it would take a whole other article to explain all the noises your malfunctioning AC might make. In fact, most of the problems on this list can cause weird AC noises. So what can you do to troubleshoot it?

What to Do

The short answer is, go through all the troubleshooting steps on this list and try them. Change your filter, clear out debris, etc. Then, try the AC again. 

If this fixed the problem, then great! If not, then you’ll have to call in the professionals.

7. The AC Won’t Turn On at All

What if the AC doesn’t turn on at all? This could mean an electrical issue, a thermostat problem, or a complete HVAC breakdown.

What to Do

First check that the thermostat is turned on. If the thermostat is broken, get it replaced. 

Next, check the circuit breaker and make sure all circuits are turned on. Also, does the AC circuit keep switching off whenever you turn the AC on?

This could mean that some problem, such as a clogged drain, is triggering the emergency shutoff. Or it could indicate faulty wiring or a connection issue.

In any case, troubleshoot according to the other entries on this list. And if that doesn’t work, call the pros.

Get Help For Your Air Conditioner Problems

We definitely hope this guide helped you solve your air conditioner problems. But, if your air conditioner is not working still, we can help with that, too.

Contact us here to give our professional air conditioning services a try. We’ll get your cool air flowing again.