5 Things That Can Stop an Air Conditioner Cold

After a long, cold Minnesota winter, everyone looks forward to warm summer days. And because air conditioning is essential for your comfort, the last thing you want is a breakdown. Here are five potential air conditioner issues that can ruin your sunny summer day:

1. Wrong thermostat setting

It may seem obvious but check to see if your thermostat is set for cooling.

2. Dirty filter

When’s the last time you changed your A/C’s air filter? If you’re drawing a blank, you’re probably overdue. Worse, you’re at risk of air conditioner failure. One-inch filters should be checked or changed every month—or sooner if you have pets, allergies, or smoke indoors. If you have a four-inch efficiency filter, clean or replace it every six months to one year. It’s easy to do and your A/C system will run more efficiently, your energy bill will be lower, and your air conditioner will last longer.

3. Broken condenser fan motor

Located in the condensing unit of your air conditioner, the condenser fan motor is what keeps the fan blades blowing air across the condenser coil to cool the refrigerant. These motors are built to provide many years of trouble-free service, but they can (and do) fail—especially without routine cleaning and lubrication. Learn more about the importance of routine maintenance and how our Air Conditioner Maintenance Agreement can help you avoid emergencies.

How do you know if the condenser fan motor has failed?
The most common cause is overheating. If you put your hand on top of the box outside your home that houses the A/C system and it feels noticeably hot while running, you’ve got a problem. If you can’t hear or see a fan running inside, your condenser fan motor may need to be replaced.

4. Refrigerant leak

Refrigerant leak A/C systems are “charged” with refrigerant by the manufacturer. The refrigerant isn’t used up like oil in a car. It remains inside your air conditioner unless the system develops a leak. One of the most common signs of a leak is water pooling on the floor under your A/C unit. This happens because an insufficient amount of refrigerant causes condensation to form on the refrigerant coils. When the condensation melts, it drips onto your floor. You’ll likely notice a decrease in the cooling power of your system as well as higher electric bills.

If you suspect a leak, have an HVAC specialist do an inspection ASAP. A refrigerant leak can lead to compressor failure, so don’t put it off. If the leak is small enough, repair may be an option. If there are multiple leaks or large ones, your refrigerant coil should be replaced. Learn about your options if your A/C system uses R22 refrigerant.

4. Bad compressor

The compressor is a critical component of your A/C system. It pressurizes the refrigerant so it can absorb heat from the air and release it outside. If your air conditioner isn’t cooling like it used to, there’s warm air blowing through your vents instead of cold, or the outside unit vibrates when it starts up and sounds louder than normal, there’s a good chance your compressor is failing or broken. Consider replacing the:

  • Compressor
  • Condenser (compressor included) and evaporator units
  • Entire air conditioner

There are many variables to consider—such as how old your unit is, how long you intend to stay in your home, and how much you’re willing to spend. An experienced HVAC technician can help you determine which option makes the most sense for your situation and recommend financing options for replacing your air conditioner.