When Your Air Conditioner Just Can't Keep Up

1 July 2015
 Categories: , Articles


If it seems like no matter how long your air conditioner runs, the house just never seems to get any cooler, then you have a problem with your system. There are several things that could be causing your issue, and by taking a quick peak at this article, you can ensure that the repair person will be properly prepared when they come for their appointment.

Rapid Cycling

Rapid cycling is when your air conditioner keeps turning on and off without really accomplishing anything. While there are several things that can cause rapid cycling, the process itself can kill your air conditioner in short order. Since the unit isn't really cooling your home at this point, it is best to just turn off the air until you can determine the source of the problem and repair it.

The problem could be as simple as a bad thermostat, If the system is sending conflicting signals to the air conditioner, then it could be incorrectly telling the system to turn on and off. Try flipping the system over to heat and take a few minutes to see if it gives that system the same mixed signals. If so, your problem could be as simple as replacing your defective thermostat. Most handy types can handle this themselves, but if you aren't sure, you can always have a professional in to ensure it gets installed correctly.

Another common reason for rapid cycling is a failing compressor. Unfortunately, this one is far more serious and requires professional repair. If the unit is old enough, it is usually better to replace the entire unit then try to keep it running with replacement parts. 

Leaky Ducts

Most homes have at least a few leaks in their ductwork. However, if these leaks get large enough, it can really start to get in the way of your HVAC system working effectively. if things have gotten bad enough for the system to stop cooling your house, then there is a good chance you can spot the leak. Do a visual inspection of the lines coming off the central fan, as well as any you can see in your attic or basement. If you can find the problem, you can let the tech know if you just need a quick reconnect on the lines, or if the tech will need to be ready to replace part of the lines.

If you can't spot any problems, turn on the fan and check the vents. Any vents with little or no air pressure are down the line from the problem. If the damaged section isn't readily accessible, it is likely you will have to open the wall to make the repair. However, by figuring out how deep into the system the problem goes, you can maximize the chance that you will be able to open up the right section with the first try.

Refrigerant Leaks

Just as with anything else that holds liquid, air conditioners occasionally spring a leak. The easiest way to tell you have a problem with the refrigerant is if the air conditioner is running, but the air isn't getting cold. If the levels are just low, the unit might just be frozen. Leave it off for a few hours and then try again. If you get cold air, then you need to schedule maintenance, but you should be okay for awhile. If not, you definitely have a problem with your compressor, and there is little you can do until the tech gets there to fix it.

A bum air conditioner is certainly a bother, especially in the hottest parts of the summer, but it isn't the end of the world. Usually the problem has a simple solution, you just need to find it. Knowing what went wrong can save you from getting a nasty surprise when the bill comes.

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