When those temperatures start to rise, the last thing you need is hot air blowing out of your air vents. While warm air could be a sign of a bigger problem, there are many reasons why an A/C system isn’t operating correctly, and not all of them require an extensive, or expensive, repair. Before you panic, here is a list of the most common reasons why warm air is coming out of your air conditioner.
Check the Thermostat
Cubicle dwellers already know the deal. Fights about the office thermostat are legendary, with some workers shivering under a sweater and others sweating at their keyboards. If your air conditioner doesn’t seem to be chilling the air, your first stop should be the thermostat. Whether it’s user-error or pesky kids, sometimes the controls on your thermostat can get accidentally changed. It could be that the heater was turned on by mistake, or the high and low settings were inadvertently altered. If that’s the case, you can simply reset the controls and remind everyone in your household to avoid altering the settings.
Feel the Freeze
It may sound strange, but sometimes ice can be the biggest culprit behind a malfunctioning A/C. In fact, a frozen evaporator coil is the most common reason why there’s no cold air coming out of your unit. When condensation builds up around coils it can freeze, something that tends to happen when temperatures inside the A/C fall below 32°F. Thankfully, the solution doesn’t require a big repair bill, just some patience. If a frozen evaporator coil is causing the problem, turn off the unit and wait for the ice to melt. After one or two hours, you can turn the unit back on, but try to keep the thermostat between 70-72°F to avoid a replay. Of course, if the problem persists, there may be a larger issue at play. If that’s the case, your best option is to schedule an inspection of your A/C unit by a certified technician.
A blown or tripped breaker switch usually happens after a power surge or an overloaded outlet. If it appears your air conditioner is not powered up, check the outlet and the breaker switch to determine if a simple flip from “off” to “on” will do the trick. Because of their power demands, and the surge that happens whenever your A/C turns on, air conditioners can often flip breakers merely by powering up. If the problem occurs regularly, faulty wiring may be to blame. Your best bet is to call an electrician to assess the situation and recommend a solution.
Free Your Filter
Dirty filters can impede airflow and cause ice to build-up on the A/C evaporator coils. Coils can also freeze as a result of low refrigerant levels, impacting performance and even resulting in clogged condensate lines, a rusted drain pan, and possible water leaks. Replace your filters periodically to avoid build up and sustain unrestricted airflow. While a dirty filter alone won’t cause warm air, it doesn’t hurt to check and replace them regularly.
A faulty compressor can be the result of various other issues, from electrical failures to simple overheating. Compressors convert refrigerant to gas, which is what allows your air conditioner to cool the air. When a compressor stops working, the entire A/C unit will stop functioning. A compressor problem is not easy to diagnose or fix on your own, so if you suspect that’s where the problem lies, your best choice is schedule an inspection by a certified technician.
Losing Your Refrigerant
Difficult to prevent and hard to detect, refrigerant leaks frequently result in malfunctioning A/C units. Worn valves, loose joints, or a faulty assembly can all cause refrigerant to leak. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to discover a refrigerant leak. Usually, the first sign there’s something wrong is an empty tank. Because refrigerants are dangerous, if you suspect a leak you should call an air conditioning repairman to resolve the issue.