3 Common Air Conditioning Problems and How to Fix Them

Your heating and cooling bill typically comprises about 50 percent of your total energy costs for your home (energy.gov).  While changing the air filter is one of the simplest things you can do to keep your air conditioner working, a regular maintenance routine with an air conditioning technician will keep your unit from malfunctioning during the hottest days of the summer.

Quick Tips for Solving Common Air Conditioning Problems

  • Check and/or replace your air filters every month. Set calendar and phone reminders and always have backups available. Consider using HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters for better indoor air quality. Changing your air filters improves comfort, lowers energy costs, and extends the life of your unit.
  • Have annual system maintenance service performed at least once a year, preferably before the start of each heating and cooling season.
  • Keep your outdoor condensing unit (heat pump) free of lawn clippings, twigs, and other debris. You want to make sure that your outdoor A/C unit has proper airflow to work efficiently.
  • Maintain a minimum 24-inch clearance around the unit and ensure easy access for your local HVAC technician.
  • Bent condensing unit fins can be straightened out with a fin comb. You can use a flathead screwdriver or butter knife, however, we recommend investing in a professional fin comb. For best results, call Boulden Brothers to clean and maintain your outdoor heat pump for maximum efficiency.

Common Air Conditioning Problems and How to Fix Them 

Problem #1: Water leaking into the floors, walls, or ceilings

  • Your A/C unit should never be leaking water. Address the problem immediately and call for an air conditioner repair tech. A/C units don’t just cool the air, they dehumidify it also, but where does all that condensate go? For most homes, the water goes outside through a pipe.
  • The problem is almost always due to a clogged condensation drain. Inspect your drain line and make sure condensation can drain freely.
  • This can be done by calling in a professional, or you can try to DIY it by hooking up a wet/dry vac to the outside end of the pipe.
  • Read this how-to guide from energyvanguard.com to learn how to clear your A/C drain pipe:

Besides renting or purchasing a wet/dry vac, you will also need some plumbing fittings:

After getting an airtight seal and turn on the vacuum, you’ll probably end up with something like this:

Watch this video for a more thorough step-by-step guide for clearing your A/C condensate line:

Problem #2: Air conditioning unit short cycles (cycles on and off)

  • Your air conditioning unit is meant to turn on and off in order to maintain a cool and comfortable home, however, sometimes systems go through unusually fast and frequent cycles due to a variety of causes.
  • One of the most common causes is an improperly sized HVAC system. Unfortunately, over half of all new HVAC systems are improperly installed, mostly due to installing the wrong-sized unit.
  • Another common culprit is iced-over evaporator coils. This will cause your unit to turn off shortly after it has turned on.

iced over air conditioner evaporator coil

Source: energyvanguard.com

  • You may be able to fix the problem yourself by replacing your dirty A/C filter. There are several reasons why an evaporator coil might freeze over, one of the biggest ones being a dirty or improperly installed air filter.
  • Because it is hard to tell what exactly is causing your A/C evaporator coil to freeze, it’s best to turn your air conditioner unit off (to thaw the evaporator coil) and call in an expert to diagnose the issue.
  • These common air conditioning problems require the skill of a professional. Call your local HVAC technician to inspect your HVAC system and do the necessary cleanings and/or repairs.

Problem #3: Air conditioner doesn’t make air cold enough

Watch our very own Dan the Answer Man talk about Common Air Conditioning Problems:

More pro tips on combatting common air conditioning problems:

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