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  • Brandon - Owner

8 Reasons your Air Conditioner isn't Cooling (+Tips!)

With temperatures rising in the day and falling in the night, you may find yourself making a few trips to the thermostat.

But what do you do if your Air Conditioner doesn't cool down your home, or even turn on?

We're going to give you a list of reasons that will cause you Air Conditioner to not function properly, as well as a few tips that you can check yourself!

1. Thermostat

Your thermostat is the main control between you and the furnace. Most of the time this device is doing it's job, but it will eventually begin to have problems, or just stop functioning altogether.

Make sure you have it set to the "Cool" option, and the temperature is turned down below the room temperature. If you set your thermostat, check that the furnace fan is blowing air, and that the outdoor part of the Air Conditioner, called the condenser, is also running.

If both of the indoor fan is running and the outdoor fan is running, then the thermostat is most likely doing it's job.

2. Air Filter

Just like with your furnace, have a clean air filter in your system is imperative to running an efficient Air Conditioner. If you have a dirty filter, and reduce air flow past the evaporator coil, your Air Conditioner will begin to freeze up into a block of ice.

We recommend you check your air filter every 3 months or so. Depending on how dirty it is at that time, adjust replacement accordingly. Some houses require a change every 2-3 months, others every 6 months.

3. Vent Blocked

Not as common, but definitely can still happen. Most people are aware of the smaller supply vents that bring them their cold and warm air during the seasons. Although sometimes the return vents get forgotten, and get blocked off by a desk, cabinet, or rug. Once a cold air return vent is blocked, this can have significant negative impact on your system, just as a dirty air filter would.

The best thing you can do is be aware when re-arranging a room, of where all of the supply and return vents are, and be cautious not to block any off.

4. Breaker/Switch OFF

This one seems really simple, but mistakes happen. Most furnaces have a regular light switch as a power switch. This can be confused, understandably, for a regular light switch, which leads to obvious problems.

Be sure to check the power switch and the breaker to the furnace as this will prevent the Air Conditioner from running as well !

5. Air Conditioner Cover

If you don't know already, the best cover for your Air Conditioner is a piece of plywood that just covers the top of the unit, with a few bricks holding it in place. We find this to be a better alternative to the full covers that can lead to a host of other issues.

Remember to take this cover off, if the Air Conditioner runs with it on, it can overheat, causing damage and preventing it from cooling.

6. Plugged A-Coil or Condenser

The evaporator coil, or A-Coil due to it's "A" like shape, is generally located directly above your furnace, built into the duct work. All of the air for your furnace during winter, and air for the Air Conditioner during summer, runs through this coil. Just like an air filter, bits of dirt and debris get caught on the coil and eventually build up and can prevent air from travelling through.

The condenser is the outdoor unit, and has a similar coil that air moves through. This can get just as dirty and prevent the Air Conditioner from cooling as well. These are things that we take care of during our annual preventative maintenance, and cannot be done by the home owner.

7. Leak

Depending how old your system is, it can develop small leaks. These leaks will allow refrigerant to escape, which reduces your Air Conditioners ability to do it's job. Sometimes the leaks can be found and repaired, although this can be costly. Other times it's not worth spending the money on a repair, and makes more sense to put that money into a new unit, that will come with a warranty.

Something else to bear in mind, is that units over 10 years old may run using a refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant has been discontinued for environmental reasons, and all new systems now use R410A. This makes any remaining R22 systems, that have leaks, very costly to repair, as R22 is becoming very scarce and expensive.

8. Oversized/Undersized

It's very important that the person installing the Air Conditioner has chosen the proper size for the application. An Air Conditioner that is too small or too large will not cool properly, but will also cause major humidity problems, which can lead to property damage if left unnoticed. This isn't very common, but it does happen.

We hope these reasons and tips help you if you're in a bind, and if you need our assistance you can always reach out to the team at Assurance!

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