For many people, their home's air conditioner is essential to comfort and well-being, and going without air conditioning during the summer months is simply intolerable. When you feel this way, you might start to panic if your air conditioner fails to work properly. Worries about expensive repairs and going without cool air can be both overwhelming and exasperating.
However, much of the time, an air conditioner's failure to cool isn't nearly as bad as it may seem. There are a number of common causes for air conditioners not providing cool air, and homeowners like yourself can resolve several of them. This guide lists three such causes and what can be done to address them.
One of the most common reasons an air conditioner won't function as intended is problems with the thermostat settings. Thermostats will occasionally fail on their own - but most problems aren't with the thermostat itself.
While thermostats are not particularly complex electronic devices, homeowners commonly make setting mistakes. In fact, one of the most common errors made by thermostat users is to set the air conditioner's fan setting on 'on' instead of 'auto'.
The 'on' setting on most air conditioners operates the fan continuously, regardless of whether or not the compressor is actively running and cooling the passing air. That means the air blowing from the vents may not feel cool, or it may be only intermittently cool.
Correcting this particular problem is fairly simple, as the fan setting should be placed on 'auto' if the user only wants the fan to blow cool air. Be sure to consult the owner's manual for specifics related to your system's thermostat.
Another reason your air conditioner may not be cooling properly is a power interruption. Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, and the large demand placed on your home's power supply can cause breakers to trip and fuses to blow.
If your air conditioner isn't working, then check your home's circuit breakers or fuse panel. Locate any breakers that control the power supply to your air-conditioning system.
Next, flip any breakers that are tied to your air conditioner to their off positions. If the breaker is already in the off position, flip it again. After a few moments, flip the switches back into their on positions. This will force the breakers' internal circuitry to reset and restore power to the air conditioner.
If your home is equipped with a fuse panel, then you may need to locate any burned-out fuses that control the power to the air conditioning system. Once you find burned-out fuses, unscrew them and replace them with new fuses that have the proper amperage ratings.
Never use a fuse with a higher-than-recommended amperage rating or you run the risk of damaging your system or even causing a fire.
Dirty Condenser or Evaporator Coil
If you find your air conditioner isn't cooling adequately after you've checked the thermostat and power supply, then you should look at the condenser and evaporator coils. These devices, which are located on the outside unit and inside your system's blower housing, can become clogged with dirt over time.
Too much debris, which includes dust, hair, and other small particles, can form an insulating blanket around the coils and prevent heat from transferring in and out of the system. As a result, your air conditioner may not be able to eliminate heat from your home.
You can carefully clean the coils with spray-on coil cleaners and rinse them with water. However, be sure that you don't damage the delicate coils and make the problem worse or puncture them in the process. You may want to call a professional for help cleaning your coils.
If you have questions about your air conditioner and why it's not functioning as it should, be sure to contact our team at McGuffee's Air Conditioning & Heating for help. Our professionals can get your cool air back and make life comfortable once more.