Troubleshooting common problems with your AC

Air Conditioning FAQs

During extremes in cold and heat, the last thing you need is for an air conditioning system to become inoperable. Below are some of the most prevalent problems you can pre-empt by following simple operational procedures and periodic maintenance. In most cases these issues can only be fixed safely by a professional. Compare can help you find a company suited to assist you.

Below are issues you may come across when trying to keep your system running smoothly and what you may need to look at in order to fix any issues. If you have a service coming up it’s good to keep a list of anything that does not seem to be performing correctly and let the technician know. Then they can confirm what needs to be looked at in depth.

Problems and fixes:

  1. Problem: No response when the unit is turned on
    There’s nothing more worrying when you turn on an air conditioning system to hear and feel absolutely nothing happening.
    Don’t panic just yet. Check the fuse box. A lack of power could indicate something like a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. Simply reset the circuit breaker or replace the fuse. If you’re unsure how, ask a professional to take a look. If this issue is the result of broken, loose wiring or thermostat problems you’ll need to get someone in.
  2. Problem: Thermostat glitching
    If your thermostat is not working properly, it will not be able to communicate correctly with the air conditioner and tell it to turn on or off.
    Consult your thermostat manual to make sure you have programmed the thermostat correctly. If you’ve tried setting it the lowest or highest temperature setting and the system still does not work, a HVAC technician may have to recalibrate or replace the thermostat. If you are having problems calibrating or programming the thermostat it’s a good idea to get a professional in, that way if the thermostat is not broken the issue can possibly be corrected on the spot.
  3. Problem: Low efficiency
    An under-performing unit can be the result of low refrigerant levels. If this is the case the unit will not cool properly and make the air somewhat sticky, indicating either the unit was undercharged at installation or it has a leak. The refrigerant is akin to the oil in your car, and when it’s not at the right levels heat and humidity cannot be removed efficiently from the air. Fix: Low refrigerant is another issue where you will need to call in a qualified HVAC technician. If there are multiple leaks the unit may need replacing.
  1. Problem: Dirty condenser coils
    As part of the outdoor unit; your condenser is responsible for discharging the heat removed from the air. The coil is part of this unit, and is exposed to dirt and assorted pollutants that can make it dirty. Dirty coils interfere with heat transfer, making your unit worker harder, adding to the wear and tear on your system.
    Fix: Have the coils cleaned or replaced as needed.
  2. Problem: Temperatures are warmer than preferred
    Your evaporator coil can be the reason for warmer temperatures than are comfortable. The coil contains refrigerant that absorbs heat. A layer of ice can form on the evaporator coil if airflow is diminished creating warm or no air from your air.
    Fix: There could be a number of causes of restricted airflow including dirty air filters, low refrigerant or an obstruction in the ductwork. Again these will need to be looked at by a technician.
  3. Problem: Inconsistent temperatures
    If some rooms are cool and some are warm or warmer than required, this could indicate an improper flow of air through your ducts. While the ductwork may be sealed it is not unusual for tears to develop, occasionally as the result of mice, rats or workers who have not handled the ducts carefully. A rip in the ducts can lead to cool air escaping inside the walls. Leaky air ducts can increase the temperature of a residence, making the system work harder and increasing electricity bills.
    Fix: Schedule a duct inspection so that they can be checked for leaks and obstructions.
  4. Problem: Drainage
    Moisture removed by your air conditioner is designed to travel through a drain line into a drain. Like ducts drains can be clogged and then overflows, which could damage not only your system but also your property. The backup can cause water leaks that can damage your building and its contents.
    Fix: Schedule in a drain inspection and maintenance.
  5. Problem: Noisy system
    Fan motors can cause an increase in noise output particularly if they need a clean up and have worn belts, deteriorating bearings or are covered in dust dirt and debris.
    Fix: If you can hear the system struggling it’s best to shut off the unit and call in an HVAC professional to avoid further damage.
  6. Problem: Cool and heat escaping from open doors and windows Without realising it we could be undermining an air conditioner’s efficiency by leaving doors and windows open. Fix: Make sure windows or doors are closed; this is one of the most inexpensive fixes that you can do safely by yourself without needing assistance from a technician.

To avoid escalating issues you can keep this simple list of troubleshooting tasks handy and practice preventative maintenance periodically by:

  • Learning how to program your thermostat. This will save on energy and provide a more accurate reading, even if you need to invest in a thermostat that is more user friendly.
  • Regularly replace or clean dirty filters
  • Periodically check in and around the outside unit, clearing any debris and dust that have accumulated
  • Get your ducts regularly tested for tears and have them repaired.

If you discuss these with your preferred installer you may be able to avoid your system wasting energy and having to work harder, causing wear and tear.

Proper maintenance and care are the best, least expensive way to avoid problems and damage, keeping your system running smoothly as possible.


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