Did you know that Missouri, on average, has five to 15 days of temperatures reaching 95°F or higher? Or that experts project this to increase two to five times within the next 70 years? So, if you think that summers have become hotter in the state, you're right.
Climate change has intensified Midwest summers while also bringing heavier downpours. However, it's also possible that your woes are due to your AC not working properly. It may not be providing enough cool air to lower the temperature inside your home.
The question now is, what exactly can lead to this kind of air conditioner failure? If your AC stopped working, does it mean you need to get a new HVAC system? We'll answer all these questions in this post, so be sure to read until the end!
Interruptions in the Power Supply
If your air conditioner isn't turning on at all, the first thing to check is the power supply.
For room or wall air conditioners, inspect the electrical cord. Someone may have accidentally disconnected it. For both room and central air conditioners, check if the circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown.
If your AC stopped working due to a tripped breaker, you only need to reset the breaker switch. Note that central ACs, seeing as they consume a huge amount of energy, have their own breaker switch. You may also have an individual panel specifically for your central air conditioner.
In either case, you just need to slide or flip the switch back to the "ON" position. This should supply power back to your air conditioner.
A blown fuse, on the other hand, will show up as a discolored (brown or purple) section of glass. A melted metal piece inside the fuse also indicates a burned out fuse. You'd need to have this replaced to get your AC back to working order.
If none of these happened, your AC's motor or thermostat is likely acting up. A thermostat is easy to replace, but if it's the motor, you need to get emergency AC repair. A busted motor will need a replacement for the air conditioner to work again.
You should avoid turning the AC on if you suspect a faulty motor. Forcing the motor to run in its already-poor state will only overheat it. This may then result in irreversible damage to your air conditioner’s engine.
Depending on the extent of the damage, your local Missouri technicians may still be able to fix and save your AC. However, be sure to act fast and schedule service ASAP.
Filthy Air Filter
The State of Missouri used to be the 15th most polluted state in the US. The good news is, it's gone a long way since then, with the state's stricter air pollution monitoring.
Despite these improvements though, St. Louis, MO still got a failing grade in the 2019 State of the Air report. The city has a lot left to do to reduce its level of ozone pollution.
That said, you should be doing your part in keeping your home free of air pollutants. One way to do this is to inspect your air conditioner's filter at least once a month. This way, you'll know if they've already accumulated more debris than they can handle.
One way to gauge the need for a fresh filter is to raise it against the light. If the light no longer penetrates the mesh, take that as a sign you need to wash or change the filter. A clogged filter is the most likely reason your air conditioner is working but not cooling.
Dirt and debris build-up, after all, restricts your AC's airflow. As a result, less air passes through and into your cooling system. As such, the air conditioner has less air to cool and circulate around your home.
More than that, a clogged filter is also a culprit behind your AC's increased energy use.
Your air conditioner's motor will try to compensate by working harder to draw in and pump out more air. Also, since the AC blows less cooled air into your home, the thermostat will "instruct" your AC to work harder. This increased workload translates to increased energy use and cooling bills.
Blocked Outdoor HVAC Unit
If your AC has weak airflow or isn't producing cool enough air, take a look at the outdoor unit. Obstructions on the outdoor unit is another possible culprit behind a faulty AC. Leaves, overgrown grass, and even trash may have piled up near or right beside the outdoor HVAC unit.
Either way, these obstructions can restrict the amount of air that your cooling unit can draw in. Get rid of the debris and make sure that there's a clearance of at least two feet on all sides of the unit. This will let it "breathe" more easily, which in turn also helps you and your loved ones enjoy conditioned air.
The thermostat "reads" the temperature inside your home. It then relays this message to the AC and tells it that it needs to lower the temp by a few degrees.
So, if your thermostat is faulty, then it may keep giving bad readings to your AC. This, in turn, can make your AC provide less cooling power. Depending on the thermostat you have, it may even be the culprit behind your AC not turning on.
Before you panic, try putting in new batteries in the thermostat first. Reset the device and then set it again to your desired temperature. Wait for a few minutes to see if your AC will now meet your desired indoor temperature.
If not, or the thermostat still doesn't power on, you may already need to change it. In this case, consider investing in a programmable thermostat.
Only 25 million US homes have such a device installed, and you want to be one of them. This way, you'll save money by letting the thermostat automatically adjust the temperature. This is a must-have if your home usually remains empty throughout the day.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
The evaporator coil of an air conditioner absorbs heat from the air. As it does this job, condensation naturally occurs and forms on the coils. This isn't usually an issue, but if you add inadequate airflow to the mix, then the coils may end up frozen.
Your AC may still turn on even with frozen evaporator coils. However, it won't be able to provide you with cooled air.
If you find these coils frozen, turn your air conditioner off right away. Let the ice thaw and make sure you clean the coils. You should also perform the first two steps above to ensure the coils will get enough airflow.
Once the ice has melted and the coils are no longer cold, turn your AC back on. Wait for a few minutes to see if the condition has improved. If not, it’s possible that the coils have already sustained serious damage.
In this case, it’s time to contact professional HVAC repair technicians. The earlier you get your AC inspected and fixed, the less likely you’d need to get the entire unit replaced.
Low Refrigerant Levels
Since the 1970s, a hole in the ozone that covers Antarctica has been opening during spring. Some of the sections of this hole represent as much as a 65% reduction in the ozone levels.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are some of the biggest contributors to ozone depletion. Yes, these are the same stuff emitted by the R-22 refrigerant used in older air conditioners.
That's why as of January 1, 2020, the US EPA has phased out the production of R-22, or Freon. This means that there won't be any new R-22 supplies manufactured.
This can be a problem if you have an older AC which could now be low on Freon. It's even worse if you have an air conditioner leaking R-22 into the environment. Low Freon levels or R-22 leaks will render your AC unable to cool the air inside your home.
You can still get your system's refrigerant levels recharged, but expect your bill to be high. The most practical thing to do is to invest in a new air conditioner.
Address These Common Culprits Behind an AC Not Working Properly ASAP
There you have it, the top possible reasons behind your AC not working right or not giving you cool enough air. Hopefully, the issue is only with a tripped breaker. If this isn't the cause of your air conditioner woes though, then it's best to call up the pros.
If the troubleshooting steps above don't work, we here at Crystal Heating & Cooling can help. Schedule professional AC repairs with us as soon as possible so we can fix all those problems for you!
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