How to Troubleshoot Common AC Problems
At JK Mechanical, we believe in working together through regular maintenance, expert service, and smart system design to try and prevent problems before they start, or catch a small issue before it turns into a bigger—and more costly—issue. And while there’s never a good time for your air conditioner to break down, it tends to be when we rely on them most: the hottest time of the year. Today we are sharing a few of the most common air conditioner issues we see during a summer heat wave, and what to do if they happen to your system:
Ice on the Indoor or Outdoor Unit
On a hot summer day, it might seem like some extra ice is a good thing. However, a frosty indoor or outdoor unit or excess dripping/condensation is a sign that something isn’t right with your HVAC system, and can cause your unit to shut down. While an icy unit can be a symptom of a few different issues, the most common causes are a dirty air filter or a refrigerant issue. If the system is still running, turn off at the thermostat to allow the
system time to defrost. Check your air filter, and change it if it’s visibly dirty. If your AC still isn’t working after that, leave the system off and call JK Mechanical for service.
To prevent freezing in the future, be sure and schedule regular maintenance and change your air filter regularly, typically every 1-3 months for most homes and systems.
Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air/Not Cooling
Is your AC blowing hot air when it should be cool? First, check your thermostat to be sure it’s set to AUTO or COOLING, rather than HEAT. If the thermostat is set correctly but your system isn’t reaching the right temperature, there are a number of potential causes from a refrigerant issue, dirt or obstruction, and more. A service call will be needed to determine and fix the root issue.
Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On
If your AC isn’t turning on at all and you’ve checked your thermostat settings (or if the thermostat isn’t working either), the next step is to check the circuit breaker for your system and be sure it hasn’t tripped. Go to your home’s main electrical panel and check for circuit breakers that aren’t in the ON position. If your circuit breakers are clearly labeled, look specifically for one labeled “air conditioner” or “AC”. If the breaker is “tripped” or in the OFF position, flip it to ON and try running your AC again. Hopefully, this fixes the issue, and your AC will run. However, if it trips the breaker again, this is a sign of a larger electrical issue. Leave it turned off and call JK Mechanical for service.
You can expect a certain amount of noise from your AC or heat pump during cooling season as the condenser works to keep you cool. However, if you hear a noise out of the usual such as a whining sound, grating sound, or clunking sound, this can be a warning sign of a bigger issue such as a motor or fan issue. If left unchecked, that small noise can turn into a major failure. Though not necessarily an emergency, we recommend scheduling a service call and letting a professional technician take a look.
Higher than Normal Utility Bill
Unfortunately, thanks to rising utility costs, most homeowners are seeing higher than normal utility bills this summer. However, if your electricity usage is suddenly much higher than usual, this is a sign that something isn’t working quite right. In some cases, higher power bills are a sign that your air conditioner is reaching the end of its lifespan. In other cases, it’s a sign that something—a dirty filter or coil, obstructed airflow, improper sizing or settings, etc.—is causing your system to run harder than it needs to and is driving up your power bill. If this happens, mention it to your JK service technician at your next Precision Tune-Up. The technician will give your system a thorough cleaning and offer perspective on your utility costs. For more information about how to save money on your AC costs this summer, click here.
Whether you are ready to replace your HVAC system or are looking for reliable service to get the most from your investment, the JK team is here to help. Schedule your PTU online or contact us below for your complimentary, no-pressure replacement quote.