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On a hot summer day, many households rely on their air conditioner to keep them cool and content. With the kids home all day for summer vacation, maintaining a cool temperature is just as important as keeping them entertained. Sometimes, even at night where the air is cooler, it’s still vital that the air conditioner is on if you want your entire family to get proper sleep for a vacation or work tomorrow. Yet, there can be occasions where the air inside your house just won’t get cool enough.
More often than not, this seems to happen right in the middle of the hottest month of the year where everyone needs to be cool or else no one will get a lick of sleep. Pools and cold water bottles can only do so much before you’re dealing with heat again and the air conditioner still won’t cool properly.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to try and troubleshoot the problem. This article covers some of the most common reasons and what you can do to try and fix the issue yourself. If nothing else works, you can connect with an HVAC repair company – click here to learn more about the services they can offer to repair your air conditioner when it isn’t cooling properly.
Most air conditioner systems are made up out of a few key parts, one of which is an outdoor condenser. This condenser typically has a large coil that wraps around the outside of the unit, with a series of thin fin-like slats packed close to each other along the length of it. One possible reason that the air conditioner isn’t properly cooling your home is that something is blocking the coil or its fins.
Sand, dirt, grass and other types of debris can build up in between the slats over time and clog the condenser. If not cleaned regularly, this buildup can lead to low amounts of cool air from the system, reduce the air conditioner’s energy efficiency, or even cause damage to the system and shut down. In order to efficiently cool down your home, the condenser’s coils release the hot air drawn in outside the house, and a dirty coil interferes with this process.
The method to check and fix this issue is, thankfully, rather simple. If it’s plugged into an electrical source, carefully unplug it before starting to clean the condenser unit. From there, clear out any debris before vacuuming the coils with a brush attachment or simply brush away all visible debris. If needed, you can also gently rinse the coils with a hose. If cleaning the condenser unit still doesn’t work, it’s best to call a technician.
Another potential reason that the air conditioner isn’t cooling well is that the system’s air filter needs to be replaced. The filter is usually set up around or in the indoor air handler to catch any dust, sand or other sediments from entering the air in your home. Additionally, the air filter keeps any dirt from the house from interfering with the parts inside the system itself, keeping it running at max efficiency.
If the filter is dirty and clogged, it can reduce your home’s overall air flow and how well the air conditioner can cool the house. To make matters worse, a dirty air filter can lead to the air quality in your home dropping, meaning that illnesses and asthma attacks are more than likely going to increase.
Before checking the air filter, make sure to turn the system off. After that, find where in the indoor unit your air filter is and remove it from its housing. If it’s far too dirty, simply purchase a similar sized and graded filter and replace the existing one. If you find it’s clean enough to be put back, you might need to call a professional or look into the problem a little more.
Similar to the air conditioner’s condenser, the indoor evaporator unit also contains a coil. When it comes to using a heat pump or another type of fan coil system to cool your house, these coils are more than likely to be found inside a cabinet. Its primary use is to draw in warm or hot indoor air to remove the heat before releasing the now cool air back into the house. The heat is then released outside your home. If the indoor air is cold enough, the resulting condensation can freeze and negatively affect how your air conditioner works.
Depending on the type of system you have, this issue can be solved rather easily. Some evaporator units for systems like mini splits tend to have the coils in easy to find locations. From there, all that’s needed is to unplug the evaporator unit and remove the ice – either by letting it melt on its own or by gently removing it yourself. Once that’s done, dry the coils and plug it back into the power source.
If your air conditioner’s coils aren’t in clear view, the best thing to do is to call a professional. Typically, there are a few signs that let you know that there is ice on the coils, even if they’re hidden. Besides a decrease in cooling, your utility bills will also be higher, and ice may also start forming on any metal tubing coming from the unit. Calling a professional will help you solve the problem without causing any accidental damage.
If your thermostat is working fine but the air just isn’t cool enough, there can be many potential reasons that your air conditioner itself might not be working as efficiently as it should be. Your outdoor condenser unit might be blocked or the coils inside it might be clogged with sand or other debris. Ice might be forming on your indoor unit’s coils and reducing the amount of heat that’s being taken in from inside the house. It could even be something as simple as needing a new air filter. However, if none of these solutions fix the problem, it’s always the best choice to call a technician to find and then fix it for you.