7 Probable Reasons Why Your AC Is Not Working

Around the world, temperatures are soaring. So much so that in England this November, a country synonymous with grey, wet weather, they are experiencing a so-called ‘Indian summer’ heatwave. In times like these, with temperatures on the rise, air-conditioning units are more needed than ever. Air-conditioning units, however, like every piece of tech equipment, can break down and stop working. It is essential that should your air-conditioning unit begin to fail you that you identify the problem and resolve it quickly, lest you be caught in the midst of a heatwave.

Did you know that early artificial cooling start with chemical reactions? Benjamin Franklin and chemist John Hadley discovered in the 18th century that liquid evaporation reduced temperature even below the freezing point.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a publishing company commissioned engineer Willis Carrier to deal with a humidity problem in their building. He successfully created a system to control humidity and realized the potential of his system. He later kept working on his invention to improve it and commercialize it, naming his system “apparatus for treating air”.  Willis Carrier then rightfully earned the title of the Father of air conditioning.

This page will tell you seven probable reasons why your air-conditioning unit is not working so that you can properly identify the cause of your air-conditioning unit’s failure. Let’s find out what those seven are, shall we?

Blocked Drains

The water and moisture that your air-conditioning unit removes from the air have to go somewhere; that somewhere is in your drain. Quite frequently, blockages occur in the drainpipes of your air-conditioning unit. When this happens, it can be a mild inconvenience, for your unit can briefly stop working. It is easily repaired, however. When searching for tradespeople to unblock your drains, only hire the best. You can gauge the professionalism of a tradesperson by reading their customers reviews thoroughly. That said, you may even be able to repair it yourself, although this is not recommended, for you could damage your unit irrevocably.

More so, here are the signs of a blocked drain line:

  • AC system turns off or shuts off
  • Standing water near the indoor unit
  • AC system is not cooling your home
  • Water damage in areas near the indoor unit
  • Musty, moldy smell near your indoor unit or in the air from the registers/vents

Frozen Coils

Your air-conditioning unit’s evaporator coil is filled with refrigerant, which absorbs heat from the air. These coils need warm air to work properly, despite the fact they themselves are cold. However, when the airflow around your evaporator coil gets too cold, ice can build up on the outside of the coil, which means you will only get warm air [if any] coming out of your air-conditioning unit. This is a job for a technician, and it is best you do not attempt to repair this yourself, for you can damage your unit.

Unsure if you have a frozen coil? Here are some signs to watch for

  • AC unit runs but doesn’t emit cold air
  • Ice is visible on the indoor or outdoor coils
  • Visible extra moisture/condensation around your AC system or home

Low Refrigerant

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the refrigerant absorbs heat. If your air-conditioning unit develops a leak in the refrigerant lines [which can happen and does], you can wind up with there being too little refrigerant in your unit, and not enough to cool the air. Unfortunately, this is not just a matter of draining and replacing your refrigerant, and rather, a trained technician will need to come out to identify, treat, and repair the leaks. It can be very expensive, so it is best not to attempt it yourself, lest you cost yourself more money.

In addition, if the refrigerant level is too low, the air conditioner won’t be able to transfer enough heat through the inside coil during each cycle, which will result in issues with the home’s cooling system. Under more severe circumstances, the unit will not be able to produce any cold air at all, potentially causing warm air to blow from the supply vents instead.

Dirty Coils

There are two coils in your air conditioning system. When these coils malfunction, it loses a lot of cooling efficiency.

  • Evaporator coil: The evaporator coil is in the indoor unit. The refrigerant in the coil evaporates as hot air passes through the system. Before the air is transferred to the outdoor unit, this cools it.
  • Condenser coil: Once the refrigerant condenses once more, the condenser coil of the outdoor unit releases heat from the air. Your condenser unit’s ability to emit heat may be hampered by debris.

Thus, performance decreases significantly when your AC coils are dirty. Your unit can no longer cool air efficiently with a layer of dirt buildup on the indoor coil. 

Your unit’s condenser coils can get dirty quite easily. The condenser coils, which are based outdoors, remove indoor heat by pushing it outdoors. Dirt and grime can quickly accumulate, courtesy of air pollution and dust. When your coils become dirty, heat transfer cannot work, which means your unit is forced into overdrive. Over time, if not treated, your unit can begin to break down completely and may need to be replaced.

Fan Failure

The fan inside your air-conditioning unit blows indoor air over your unit’s evaporator coil to cool the air; another fan blows outdoor air over the condenser to push out the absorbed indoor heat. If either of those fans begins to break down, whether it be because of dirt, a faulty motor, poor lubrication, or worn-down belts, you can end up having very poor airflow and air-conditioning unit problems. This problem, over time, can contribute to compressor and motor failure, which cannot be repaired, and will mean you need to completely replace your air-conditioning unit.

More so, here are some common signs and symptoms of a bad AC fan motor. 

  • AC Fan Doesn’t Start. The fan does not start even when the AC is on.
  • AC Fan Doesn’t Stop. Even after turning off the AC, your fan continues to run.
  • Slow Rotating Blades. When the fan is turned on, the blades rotate quite slowly.
  • Outside Fan Blades Are Still. You should hear the compressor running and see the fan blades moving if your air conditioner is on. There is a problem if the AC is on and the fan blades are not spinning.
  • Noises of Rattling, Humming, and Buzzing. Your AC fan motor is probably acting up if you hear rattling coming from your condenser unit when the fan goes on. A noisy AC fan motor that is buzzing or humming may be a sign that the motor blades are broken.
  • AC Runs Sporadically. Your air conditioner may be experiencing intermittent cuts in performance because of an overheated motor.
  • No Cold Airflow. You might have a damaged blower motor if you’ve discovered that your air conditioner is not blowing out any chilly air. 

You might avoid a future nightmare by paying close attention to the signs of a faulty AC motor. Taking care of your AC issues as soon as possible may also help you and your loved ones save a lot of money.

Leaking Ductwork

The ductwork that runs through your home and distributes cool air can develop holes, through the negligence of the installation team, or rodents and birds. That air can wind up in the walls of your home, which will not keep you cool, nor benefit you in the slightest. This will mean your air-conditioning unit has to work much harder to cool your home and will be a detriment to your energy bill. To save yourself money, if you notice the air not distributing freely, contact a technician to identify whether or not there is any leaks or holes in your ductwork.

Because these structures are often out of sight, finding leaky ducts can be challenging. Yet, there are a few common signs of leaky air ducts that might clue you in.

  • The house is dusty.
  • Uneven temperatures throughout the house
  • Reduced indoor air quality

Mould, Dirt, and Grime

Mould, dirt, and grime can build up inside your unit if not cleaned regularly. While this will not impede your unit’s performance, it can be a detriment to your health, and it can make you very unwell. If you notice allergies or illness occurring when your unit is on, then it may be time to give your unit a deep clean.

With the help of this page, you now know a few ways to identify and solve problems with your air-conditioning unit. Air-conditioning units a great way to keep cool during long, hot summers, but only if they are working!