There might not be anything worse than turning on the air conditioner after a long day and only having warm air come out of the vents. There are several different reasons this could happen, and not all of them require a visit from a tech. By learning about the causes of this type of failure, you can minimize the amount of time you have to go without your much-loved air conditioning.
The Condenser Is Frozen
While it might be hard to believe if you are in the middle of a heat wave, it is possible that ice has formed in the condenser. This parts sits outside and uses a refrigerant to create cold air. If something has gone wrong in your system, this can actually cause ice to form inside the condenser, effectively preventing it from creating cold air from the cold liquid. If this is the case, turning the air conditioner off for a few hours will allow it to thaw out and start working again. However, since this is a symptom, you will still need to address the problem to prevent this from happening again. There are several causes, including the following:
- Your system could be low on freon. When this happens, the system can't operate effectively, causing it to freeze up. If this is the case, it can only be repaired by a licensed HVAC technician.
- If you haven't cleaned out your condenser in a few years, it might be time. Leaves and dirt can build up in the unit and cause it to malfunction. Ideally you should be doing this every year, either in the spring or fall.
- Along the same vein, if you haven't changed your furnace filter in awhile, you should do that as well. The concept is the same-- blocked air flow--it is just at the indoor portion of the system.
Your Thermostat Has An Issue
If your thermostat isn't sending the right signals to the rest of your HVAC system, it might not be your air conditioner at all. The first thing to check is the settings. While it might seems silly to see if the heat is turned on, you will feel far worse if you schedule a tech appointment only to find out that was the problem. It is also possible that your thermostat has failed. Try changing the goal temperature or turning on the heat (just for a few minutes) to see if the thermostat is indeed sending the correct signals to the rest of your system. You can replace your thermostat yourself, but you may feel more comfortable leaving this up to a professional, like those at C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning.
The Condenser Isn't Running
If the outdoor unit isn't running at all, than you may have a bigger problem. Before you panic, go check your breaker box, and try turning the breaker back on if it is off. Having this happen once is not an issue, it does happen, but if it happens regularly, you definitely have an electrical issue that needs to be repaired.
If your condenser is receiving electricity but the fan still isn't running, it is time to make an appointment with a technician. Hopefully it is as simple as a blown capacitor or two, which are easy to replace, but if something is more seriously wrong, you may have to discuss whether repair or replacement is the better option.
Not every air conditioner problem is something you can address yourself, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't understand the problem. By learning about what could go wrong, you can decide whether it is time to pick up a phone or pick up a screwdriver.