What are common problems with air conditioners?

Here in Texas, September is not the time for the air conditioning to quit working! Miserable weather with temperatures in the 90s to low 100s, and a humidity level to match, with no wind. It is torture just going outside to get the mail. Yet, it happens to the best of us sooner or later, and the ac repair guys are our best friends. 

With a little bit of knowledge, though, sometimes, a homeowner can do their ac repair emergency before they make that phone call to an ac repair company. It can sometimes be a minor issue, and with that, we’re going to answer a few questions that hopefully will help you next time you find you’re faced with an ac repair job: 

Air conditioners are expensive, and so are ac repairs, probably because they seem to always breakdown when you least expect it, and the budget isn’t prepared. With a homeowner maintenance schedule and regular professional maintenance and tune-ups, you should have fewer, maybe even no ac repair needs. 

If you do, by keeping your end of the maintenance up-to-date, like the filter changed or cleaned, and recording the dates you do this, you may be eligible for an ac repair with warranty. Here are seven problems that are commonly found during ac repair calls and a possible solution: 


First, check the thermostat and make sure the batteries are good, and if they aren’t, then replace them and check the settings on the thermostat. If the thermostat is in the relaxed mode, and the batteries are good, but the unit still won’t turn on, check the circuit breaker. Trip it back if it is off and try the unit again. If the ac still isn’t turning on, call a professional ac repair technician and turn the unit off. 


Check the filter and either change it or clean it. A dirty air filter isn’t going to let the airflow through and cool your house. It will freeze up the system, and you may see ice on the condenser because the cold air can’t get to the fan and into the air ducts. The air filter should be changed or cleaned every 30 days, more if you have pets in the house or live in a dusty area, like road construction. 


The outside unit can freeze up if the airflow is insufficient, the outside temperature is low, the unit needs refrigerant, or the blower motor is out. Again, check the air filter and either clean it or change it. Make sure the outside unit is free of any debris or grass.  If all that checks out, call your ac repair technician. 


When the refrigerant starts leaking from your ac unit, the temperature will fluctuate and won’t cool as it should. It becomes inefficient, starts using more electricity, the coils freeze up, and the compressor could be damaged. Call your ac repair technician to inspect the unit, which will include checking the refrigerant level. If there isn’t a leak, they can add refrigerant, but you need to start budgeting for a new unit by next summer. Refrigerant leaks are usually an indicator you’re going to need ac repair or replacement soon.


An air conditioner should be reasonably quiet. If you hear sounds, there could be several reasons why such a hissing sound is refrigerant leaking. Clicking sounds are typically a relay issue. Banging, rattling, or thumping sounds is either the blower or motor assembly. A screeching sound is usually the fan freezing up or going out, and buzzing means your ac unit has an electrical issue. All of these things warrant an ac repair service call. 


When the evaporator coil freezes, this indicates that the air conditioner isn’t getting sufficient airflow. Check the filter as we have stated earlier, check the ducts and vents, and make sure they are not blocked. If all of that proves to be in good shape, contact your ac repair technician. 


Over time, the compressor and fan controls can wear out. These can usually be repaired or replaced by a professional ac repair technician. 

How do you troubleshoot an AC unit?

We’ve covered this topic earlier, but redundancy isn’t bad when it comes to working air conditioners in Texas. Here are the things you need to troubleshoot before you call for ac repair service: 

  1. Check the air filter – as you can see from earlier, this is often the root of many problems. Clean it or change it and make a reminder to do this once a month, all year long. If you have animals in the house, live on a dirt road, or there is construction around, you may need to do this twice a month.
  2. Check the thermostat settings – somebody may have flipped it from cool to heat or raised the setting too high, or the batteries may have gone out. Like the filter, this is a common problem that an ac repair call will cost you money, and it doesn’t have to when you check it yourself.
  3. Check the circuit breakers – this is another simple thing to check before you make that ac repair call. If the breaker has tripped and you flip it back on, then it trips again, you need to call the ac repair technician. This electrical power issue means something is wrong with your ac unit, and the circuit breaker is protecting it and your home from damage.
  4. Check the outdoor unit – just like the filter. You should check the outside unit once a month. Keeping grass trimmed away, make sure there isn’t any debris pulled up against it. 
  5. Check the air ducts and vents – if the vents are closed in one room, it can affect the entire house. If the ducts have come loose or broken, the air can’t circulate through the house.

How do I reset my air conditioning unit?

Sometimes, doing a reset on your computer fixes it, and the same is true with an air conditioning unit. Follow these steps: 

  • Turn the AC Unit Off: Turn the thermostat to off first and then follow the owner’s manual to find the shutoff button to the system.
  • The Circuit Breaker Box: The breaker box should have each breaker labeled. Find the one marked AC and turn it off. 
  • Wait 60 Seconds: After turning everything off, wait 60 seconds and flip the breaker back on.
  • Turn AC Back On: Wait another minute, and the AC unit should be reset. Turn the thermostat on and then the AC unit. 

If this didn’t get your air conditioning unit reset, call your ac repair technician. 


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