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Why Is Your AC Not Blowing Cold Air? - Troubleshooting Guide

July 28, 2023

Summer is in full swing, and with the scorching temperatures outside, your air conditioner becomes your best friend indoors. However, there's nothing more frustrating than turning on your AC and feeling warm air blowing instead of the refreshing cool breeze you expected. If you find yourself in this predicament, fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into common reasons why your AC might not be blowing cold air. We will first explore troubleshooting methods you can do as a homeowner, then discuss other possible issues that require help from a trained professional.

 

Top Reasons your AC is not Blowing Cold Air

1. Thermostat Settings

Let's start with the simplest and often overlooked culprit: the thermostat. It's easy to forget that the thermostat might have been inadvertently adjusted to the "fan" mode or set to a temperature higher than the current room temperature. 

Ensure your thermostat is in "cool" mode and set at a lower temperature than the ambient room temperature. Often times individuals will forget to change the mode as seasons change or they accidentally change the settings when adjusting the temperature. 

Additionally, check if the thermostat's batteries need replacing, as a dead battery can interfere with the correct functioning of the AC.

 

2. Dirty Air Filters

Air filters are the unsung heroes of air conditioning systems, playing a vital role in maintaining indoor air quality and efficient cooling. However, over time, these filters can become clogged with dust, pet dander, pollen, and other pollutants. Sometimes, the air filter is improperly installed which can cause future issues as well. 

When the filters are obstructed, the airflow is compromised, leading to reduced cooling capacity. As a result, your AC might blow lukewarm air or struggle to cool the room adequately. Make it a habit to inspect and clean or replace the air filters every one to three months to ensure optimal AC performance.

 

3. Dirty Condenser Coils

Located in the outdoor unit of your AC system, the condenser coils facilitate the transfer of heat from the refrigerant to the outside air. When these coils are covered in dirt, grime, or debris, they can't dissipate heat efficiently, resulting in decreased cooling performance. Regularly inspect the outdoor unit and clean the condenser coils when necessary to maintain proper airflow and enhance cooling efficiency.

If you are a relatively handy person this is a job you can do yourself. Remove any leaves, trash or plants growing on the outside of the AC unit. You can also hose down the condenser coils to remove any lose dirt and debris. When the unit has grime and build up, coil cleaner may be necessary to adequately clean it. When cleaning your AC condenser coils, take care not to damage the fins as you clean the outside of the condenser coils or it could lead to inefficiencies in the unit. 

 

4. Refrigerant Leak 

Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your air conditioning system. It absorbs heat from the indoor air, allowing the AC to blow out cool and refreshing air. However, if there's a refrigerant leak, the AC won't have enough coolant to absorb heat effectively. Consequently, your AC might start blowing warm air, and its cooling efficiency will decrease significantly. 

Refrigerant leaks are best left to the expertise of professional HVAC technicians, as they require specialized equipment to detect and repair.

 

5. Faulty Compressor

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system, responsible for circulating and compressing the refrigerant to facilitate the heat exchange process. If the compressor malfunctions or fails, your AC will struggle to cool the air, leading to warm air blowing through the vents. Compressor issues are complex and typically require professional diagnosis and repair. Ensure you hire a licensed HVAC technician with experience in handling compressor problems.

 

6. Electrical Problems

Electrical issues can also be the cause of your AC woes. Faulty wiring, tripped circuit breakers, or blown fuses can disrupt the normal operation of your air conditioner, leading to warm air output. Before attempting any electrical troubleshooting, ensure your safety by turning off the AC's power supply and consulting a licensed electrician or HVAC technician to address the problem adequately.

 

Prevent AC and Furnace issues with Regular Maintenance 

Regular maintenance is key to preventing many of these AC problems, so remember to schedule annual check-ups with HVAC professionals to keep your air conditioning system running smoothly throughout the sweltering summer months. 

Our HVAC maintenance plan helps customers catch problems before they arise and helps them save on repairs when they do find an issue. 

With a little proactive care and timely troubleshooting, you can ensure your AC blows nothing but the refreshing cool air you crave on those scorching hot days.

 

Is your AC repairable or is it time for a new unit?

If this is not your AC’s first time having issues, you may be wondering if it is time to replace the unit or if it makes sense to repair it again. 

Deciding whether to repair your AC or replace the unit entirely can be a tough decision. Several factors should be taken into consideration to make an informed choice that aligns with your needs and budget. Here are some key considerations to help you decide whether to repair or replace your AC:

  • Age: If it's over 10-15 years old, consider a replacement for improved efficiency.
  • Frequency of Repairs: Frequent repairs may indicate the need for a new unit.
  • Cost: If repairs exceed 50% of a new unit's cost, replacement may be wiser.
  • Upgrading for Energy Efficiency: If you’re ready for an upgrade consider a newer unit
  • Performance: If cooling is inconsistent despite repairs, consider replacing the AC.
  • Refrigerant Phase-Out: Units with R-22 refrigerant may become costly to maintain.
  • Home Renovation: If planning significant renovations, a new AC might be more suitable.
  • Incentives: Check for tax incentives or rebates for energy-efficient AC systems.

Ultimately, the decision to repair or replace your AC depends on a combination of factors such as the age of the unit, repair costs, energy efficiency, performance, and your long-term plans. If your AC is relatively new and the repairs are minimal, repairing might be the sensible option. 

However, if your unit is older, requires frequent repairs, and is less energy-efficient, it's probably more cost-effective to invest in a new AC unit. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician can provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your specific situation, helping you make the best decision for your comfort and budget.

Both heat pumps and furnaces are effective in their own respects for heating homes. We discuss the benefits of both to help you find the right decision for your home.