Waking up to a sweaty pillow is the last thing you wish for, especially during the hot summer months. Whenever you experience this, it becomes evident your air conditioner is not working as it should. Some warning signs your air conditioner may give you to indicate it is not working as it should include taking longer than before to cool the house or making a strange sound. These are signs of a failing AC unit, and it is crucial to contact an HVAC professional to help you identify the problem before it intensifies.
There are several causes of air conditioner malfunctions. Below, we discuss how to fix an AC unit that is not cooling.
Check the Thermostat
Start by turning the thermostat on and off to confirm it is blowing air. If it is not, check the settings to ensure you have configured it correctly. Sometimes, you may have erroneously changed the settings from “automatic” to “fan.”
On automatic, the AC unit can adjust to room temperatures and only cools when the air becomes warmer. Before concluding that your air conditioner is not cooling, check all the rooms and the settings, too. You can also engage a technician to help you rest your AC unit.
Inspect Your House Doors
Remember, the air conditioner is supposed to cool the air inside a properly sealed home. Thus, if there is an open door or window, there will be a loophole for the cool air to escape.
The AC unit will not function well when there are openings to the house, especially in old houses with drafts under the door. So, weatherproofing your home can also serve to enhance your air conditioner’s efficiency at maintaining a proper indoor temperature.
HVAC professionals have materials they put along doors and windows to ensure the air inside a house is compact and controlled by the AC unit.
Check the Air Filters
A blocked air filter can cause complications in the air conditioner and prevent it from cooling properly. The air filter collects all the dust and debris, preventing these particles from getting into the system. If too much dirt gets stuck in the filter, it can become clogged and inefficient.
In ducted air conditioners, it is hard to tell whether there is excessive internal debris. One of the signs that the AC unit is not cooling due to a clogged or dirty filter could be a musty, foul smell due to a lack of air exchange.
Clean the Condensation Drain Pipe
The condensation pipe is a component that collects excess water that is directed to the floor drain or outside the house. Sometimes, you will find that it has been blocked by molds and algae, making it challenging to dispose of water.
When it is not working efficiently, the problem goes back to the filters; they get blocked and cannot blow cool air out. It might be difficult to notice that the drain pipe is blocked, but whenever you contact an HVAC professional, they will have the knowledge to pinpoint this issue and implement a resolution.
Check the Coils
AC coils are as important as the filters and likely to be blocked by dust and debris if not regularly cleaned. The condenser coils near the outside compressor unit and the evaporator coils near the indoor blower unit will likely be covered with dirt and mold. Excessive debris can prevent proper air exchange.
The coil cleaning process is complicated and should be left to the professionals. With the help of an HVAC technician, you will be able to know where the problem is and also learn how to detect when coils are dirty.
Inspect the Compressor
The compressor is the heart of your air conditioner, regardless of your system design. It works to control the air pressure within the cooling system, allowing fresh air to be dispelled.
One of the indicators that your compressor is not working well is a drop in fresh air produced. Additionally, you might notice that the volume of your unit has increased as if the AC unit is struggling to produce fresh air. If your air conditioner begins making a different sound or becomes louder, it could also indicate that the compressor is old and worn-out.
Although the sound is disruptive, all hope is not lost. An AC professional can help you service the system and recommend repairs.
Coolant runs through the evaporator coils and helps let the cool air into a room. After prolonged use, the coolant level drops, making the AC unit not cool as efficiently. If you notice that the coolant level is inadequate, engage an AC professional to come over for a top-up.
Ways to Improve Air Conditioner Efficiency
1. Frequently Clean the Outdoor Condenser Unit
The outdoor condenser unit is exposed to the elements and likely to attract debris and dust. If you clean it regularly, you will prevent more damage to the air conditioner. Engage a professional to do the work efficiently.
2. Decrease Your Thermostat Setting
The thermostat works in degrees; if you do not set it correctly, you will think your AC unit is not cooling. Decreasing the thermostat temperature in the summer and increasing it in winter will give you the best service and help you save on energy. Though this may sound simple, it can be easy for someone to turn down the thermostat without a homeowner knowing.
With advanced technology, you can also upgrade to a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the indoor temperature many times during the day.
3. Close the Curtains and Blinds
Curtains can prevent your home from warming due to heat from the sun when it shines in through your windows. Heavy curtains and room-darkening curtains can even absorb heat. Blinds should also be long to cover the entire window.
4. Keep Heat Sources Away From the Thermostat
Keeping heat sources near the thermostat can lead to constant running of the AC unit to bring the temperature of your home down. Thus, the air conditioner will run longer and harder to cool the air inside of the house.
Typically, all home heat-producing appliances, including ovens, should not be used during the hottest hours of the day. They all produce a lot of heat that is retained inside the house, making it difficult for the air conditioner to cool effectively.
5. Ensure Ducts and Vents Are Open and Unblocked
Although you have an air conditioner for cooling house, you also need clean vents for smooth airflow. Clean and vacuum the vents on a regular basis to get rid of accumulated debris and dust. Remove any objects that maybe blocking the vents, including curtains or furniture.
Get Professional Air Conditioning Service
An air conditioner that is not cooling, especially during the hot summer months, can be stressful. As there are many reasons behind a malfunction, a professional HVAC technician is your best choice for identifying issues with your system and offering solutions.