What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling Properly

woman sitting in front of a fan trying to cool off on a hot summer day when her AC broke
What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling Properly

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get your AC to work on a hot summer day only to find it blowing a thin stream of air or, worse yet, distributing warm air throughout your home. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common, and it often signals that something is wrong with your AC system. The good news is that there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot this problem and find out why your air conditioner is running but not cooling.

Common Reasons Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Cooling

1. Dirty Air Filter

A dirty air filter is one of the most common reasons an AC is not cooling effectively. When the air filter is clogged, it restricts airflow. This makes it difficult for the AC unit to cool your home.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • Replace or clean the air filter if it’s dirty. A clean filter can significantly improve your AC’s performance.
  • To prevent the problem in the future, check the air filter every month, especially during peak cooling seasons, and replace or clean it if necessary.

2. Incorrect Thermostat Settings

Sometimes, the problem lies with the thermostat settings rather than the AC unit itself. For example, if the fan setting is set to “on,” the system will blow out air even if it’s not currently cooling your space. This can make the air coming from your vents feel a bit warm. You can change this setting to “auto,” and that should take care of the problem. In other instances, the thermostat may have been accidentally switched to heat mode rather than cool mode. This, of course, will make it difficult to get your home to the right temperature during the summer.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • Verify that the thermostat is set to cool mode and the fan is set to auto.
  • Adjust the temperature setting to ensure it’s lower than the current room temperature.
  • Replace the thermostat batteries if necessary.

3. Blocked Condenser Unit

The outdoor unit, or condenser, plays a crucial role in the cooling process. All too often, it can get blocked by bushes, shrubbery, other plants, and even dirt and debris. When the unit can’t release the warm air pulled from your home effectively, the entire AC system struggles. This means you will notice a decrease in cooling performance.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • Inspect the outdoor unit and remove any debris or obstructions.
  • Clean the condenser coils with a garden hose, being careful not to damage the fins.

4. Low Refrigerant Levels

Refrigerant is essential for the cooling process, as it helps remove heat from your home. If your air conditioner is running but not cooling, it might be due to low refrigerant levels, often caused by a refrigerant leak.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • Look for signs of a refrigerant leak, such as ice buildup on the evaporator coils or a hissing sound.
  • If you suspect a refrigerant leak, contact a professional for AC repair, as handling refrigerants requires special equipment and expertise.

5. Frozen Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coil is located near the blower motor in your indoor unit. It helps remove heat and humidity from the air. When the evaporator coils freeze, they can’t absorb heat from the air, resulting in an air conditioner that blows air but doesn’t cool your home. This problem may arise due to a malfunctioning fan, a refrigerant leak, or a dirty air filter. If the coil is damaged or if there’s an issue with another component, you will need an HVAC technician to resolve the problem.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • Turn off the AC and let the coils thaw completely.
  • Check for a dirty air filter and replace it if necessary.
  • If the filter looks normal, contact a professional HVAC company like SGI Heating and Cooling for a repair.

6. Tripped Circuit Breaker

Is your AC unit not turning on at all? A tripped circuit breaker can cause your air conditioner to stop working altogether. So, it pays to give your electrical panel a once-over before calling a professional.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • Locate your home’s electrical panel and check for tripped breakers.
  • Reset any tripped breakers and see if the AC resumes normal operation.
  • If the breaker trips again, there may be a more serious electrical issue that requires an electrician’s attention.

7. Faulty Compressor

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. It ensures the refrigerant is at the right pressure so that it can effectively remove heat from your home. If the compressor is not functioning correctly, the AC will struggle to cool your home.

How to Troubleshoot:

  • If you suspect a compressor issue, contact a professional technician for a thorough diagnosis and repair.

Call a Professional for Reliable Repairs!

While some issues can be resolved with basic troubleshooting, others require the expertise of a professional. If your air conditioner is not cooling after you’ve tried the above steps, it’s time to call SGI Heating and Cooling. Our team of experienced technicians can diagnose and repair any AC problem, ensuring your home stays cool and comfortable.

Whether you need a routine maintenance check or a comprehensive AC repair, we’re here to help. We can even assist you with a new AC installation if necessary. We offer top-quality Lennox air conditioners, so you can have complete peace of mind that your new system will operate effectively for years.

Don’t let a malfunctioning AC system ruin your summer. Contact SGI Heating and Cooling today to schedule an appointment and restore your home’s comfort.