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The Five Most Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

air conditioner fan unit on wall

AC Troubleshooting Tips for Homeowners

The last thing you want to do is deal with an air conditioner problem in the middle of a heatwave. But sometimes, it happens. You go to turn on your AC, andandhellip;nothing. If this has happens to you, Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar is here to help. Below we go over five of the most common air conditioning repair problems and what you can do to resolve them.

#1: Your AC Doesn't Turn On

This is the most common and the most frustrating AC problem. And it's so frustrating because several different issues can cause it. We recommend following the checklist below when it comes to troubleshooting.

What to check when your AC won't turn on:

  • Is your system on the right setting? Check that it is on "coolandquot; and not "heatandquot; or "fan."
  • Is the thermostat set to the correct temperature?
  • Is the thermostat in a cooler part of the house and possibly getting an inaccurate temperature reading?
  • Are your vents/registers open and not blocked?
  • Did you trip a circuit breaker?
  • Is your condenser unit unplugged?
  • Do you see any leaks or other damage to any part of the AC?

If your AC still won't turn on after going through this checklist, it is time to call in the Valley AC repair team. Unfortunately, your problem may be larger than something you can easily fix yourself.

#2: You Don't Feel Cold Air

You hear your AC turn on, but you don't feel any air coming from your vents. Alternatively, you do feel air, but it is either not cool or warm. When troubleshooting the cause of this, you will go through similar steps as above, checking that your thermostat is on the right setting (and not on "heatandquot; or "fanandquot;) and make sure the thermostat is set to the correct temperature. You should also check your air filters, as sometimes clogged or excessively dirty filters can result in reduced cooling.

Additionally, you will want to look for signs of a refrigerant leak or a frozen evaporator coil. If you don't see signs of either of these, you may have a blocked condenser unit. If it is one of these problems, you will need one of our AC repair technicians to help solve the problem.

#3: Thermostat Issues

Sometimes, the thermostat is the problem and not the AC itself. Bad temperature readings, dead batteries, damaged sensors and malfunctioning software can all cause your thermostat to act up, leading to issues with the AC. Review this checklist for troubleshooting a thermostat issue - and if you can't figure it out, give us a call!

Thermostat repair checklist:

  • Is the thermostat in the sun and getting an inaccurate temperature reading?
  • Is the thermostat in a room that is much cooler or much warmer than the rest of the house?
  • Is the thermostat reading a temperature that is different from what it actually is - indicating a sensor problem?
  • Is there power going to the thermostat? Does it need new batteries?
  • Is the thermostat set on eco or vacation mode?
  • Is the thermostat locked?
  • Is your thermostat schedule set up correctly?

You should also check to see if anyone else in your household may have changed the thermostat's settings or schedule without letting you know..

#4: AC Is Running Constantly

Having an AC that is constantly running or is short cycling (turning off and on repeatedly) is almost as frustrating as one that won't turn on at all. Typically, when an AC is running continuously, the problem is that the system has lost efficiency and is struggling to maintain the temperature you want. Often, this can be resolved by scheduling a maintenance visit. However, in some cases, it is also a sign that the AC is reaching the end of its lifespan and may need replacing.

Other things to check:

  • Are your air filters clean?
  • Is your thermostat set at a reasonable temperature or have you set it too low?
  • Is the thermostat malfunctioning?
  • Are there leaves and debris around the condenser unit?

#5: Strange Smells Coming from Your Vents

Maybe your AC is running and you're getting cool air, but it comes with a horrible smell. If you suddenly start smelling foul odors when you turn on your AC, that is a sure sign that something is wrong.

Common causes of bad smells coming from your ductwork include:

  • Wiring issues with your AC motor (burning smell)
  • Poor or improper installation (burning or chemical smell)
  • Mold growing in your vents (musty smell)
  • Refrigerant leak (chemical smell)
  • Dirty air filters (dusty smell)
  • Pests in your ductwork (decaying or other foul smell)

In situations where you are dealing with bad odors coming from your ductwork or air conditioner, you need to call us as soon as possible. In general, you will need the help of our professional AC repair team to solve most of the above-mentioned problems. Additionally, some of these, such as poor installation, faulty wiring, or mold growth, can lead to a hazardous situation for you and your family. The sooner you reach out to a professional in this case, the better.

Having trouble with your AC? Valley can help! Give us a call at (408) 868-5500 or send us a message online to schedule a repair appointment.

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