10 Reasons Your A/C is Not Working

Is there anything worse, on a hot day, than turning on the air only to find that your A/C is not working?

Perhaps maybe discovering that your A/C is not working AND you’ve sprung a plumbing leak. But compounding problems aside, there’s little more frustrating that being uncomfortable in your own home.

And if you live in San Diego, where temperatures routinely reach the 100s and sometimes 110s in the middle of the summer, it can sometimes be unbearable.

So what could be wrong with your A/C and is there anything you can do about it? Here are 10 potential reasons why your A/C is not working.

Reasons your A/C is not working

1. Your Thermostat is OFF or Displaying an Error Code

The first few reasons that your A/C might not be working are simple, little things you should check before calling an HVAC contractor like Precision Temperature.

Your thermostat controls your A/C. If the battery is dead or if it’s displaying an error code, your A/C won’t turn on. Try changing in the batteries and see if it works.

2. Your Air Filter is Dirty

A dirty air filter won’t stop your A/C from turning on, but it will hinder it from working as well as it should. When an air filter is severely plugged up, it hinders air flow, which will mean that your system has to work harder and your house will take longer to cool.

Changing your air filter is a regular part of A/C maintenance. If you haven’t had preventative maintenance, sometimes called a tune-up, performed recently, check out these 7 reasons maintenance is important.

3. Your Outside Unit is Dirty

Another possible reason your A/C is not working also relates to maintenance, and that could be that your outside unit is dirty. Dirt, debris, and all sorts of gunk can cover your outside unit and if it’s not frequently cleaned, it could lead to shortened lifespan and more frequent breakdowns.

Dirty air conditioner coil, A/C is not working

4. Your Circuit Breaker is Tripped

Your A/C, above all, is a piece of equipment that draws high amounts of electricity. If a surge or particularly hot day causes your A/C to draw more power than usual, it could trip your breaker.

Before calling a professional HVAC contractor and paying the dispatch fee, check and make sure it’s not something simple like a tripped breaker.

5. Your Disconnect Switch is Off

In much the same line of thought as the above A/C problem, it could be that your disconnect is unplugged.

What is a Disconnect?

This is an industry turn to refer to the override switch by your A/C unit. If you follow the thick cord that goes from your A/C to the wall, it will terminate in a small box. If you light the lid of that box, there is a pull switch that will cut all power to the A/C.

If you’ve recently done work around your A/C, or had another contract perform work, you or they might have unplugged the A/C to prevent electrical damage to the unit during nearby work or maintenance.

Make sure this plug is pressed in all the way and engaged.

6. Your A/C is Blowing Warm Air

But what about if your A/C is working, but it’s just not working well enough?

If you just turned your A/C on for the first time and it’s blowing hot air, give it some time to cool down. Much like your car A/C takes a while to get to temperature, so your home A/C might be the same.

But if it’s been running for awhile and still not cooling, you might have a more serious problem on your hands. Your problem could be due to any number of issues that is not easily discoverable and you’ll need to call professional for help with this, and all other problems listed below.

7. Your A/C Isn’t Cooling Fast Enough

While this A/C problem may require a professional, it’s best to consider the situations before rushing to pick up the phone.

First, is it hot outside? If it’s abnormally hot, your system may not be able to keep up. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your A/C. It just means there’s a 40+ degree difference between your desired temperature and the outdoor temperature, and it’s just not reasonable to expect your A/C to be able to meet the demand.

AC is not working

Second, is this a new problem, or has your system always done this? If your A/C has always struggled to cool your house from the start, you may have an undersized unit. Which unfortunately means that the only way to fix the problem is to replace the unit with a higher tonnage that’s capable of cooling your home.

However, if this is a recent occurrence, and it’s not terribly hot out, then you could be looking at a potential A/C repair.

8. Your A/C is Leaking

There are two types of leaks that could be coming from your A/C. The first is a water leak from your condensate drain that often present in water damage inside your home. Normally in the walls or ceiling.

This means that the drain is blocked with debris and will need to be cleared. If you don’t know where this is or how to do it, you’ll need to called a professional.

But your A/C might also be leaking along the refrigerant pipe. You likely won’t even know this is happening until you try to use your A/C and it won’t get cool.

Refrigerant doesn’t get used up like gas. If your refrigerant is leaking, it means that seems needs repaired. If an HVAC professional suggests topping it off without recommending repair or replacement, then they haven’t done their job.

Without fixing the leak, you’ll find yourself in the same situation again in the not so distant future.

9. Your A/C is Frozen

Frozen? What do you mean frozen? It’s 100 degrees outside, how can the A/C be frozen? Because of the refrigerant in the pipes, if a malfunction occurs it is very possible to discover that ice is all over your A/C unit, even in the middle of the Summer.

The coil freezes when there isn’t sufficient air flow to work properly. This can be caused from poor ventilation, dirt and debris, a dirty filter, or a broken part.

If the fan motor is broken, your A/C won’t have proper air flow and it will the coil to freeze.

10. Your A/C’s parts are dead or damaged

Like it or not, your A/C is a complex piece of machinery and is made up of hundreds, if not thousands, of little moving parts working in concert together to cool your home.

If just one of these parts breaks, you may limp along for a little while, but when others fail, it means the whole system won’t work.

Some of these parts are simple and easy to replace, like a flat capacitor or burnt out contactor. And others are more serious like a broken fan motor.

If you’ve checked or tried all the above suggestions and your A/C still won’t turn on or you suspect is has broken parts, you’ll want to call an HVAC professional immediately.

Need help with A/C repair?

Call Precision Temperature today at 619-588-5321 and one of our friendly office staff will be able to assist you.

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