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Common Problems That Can Keep Your Air Conditioner From Operating Properly

If your air conditioner isn’t performing as it should, or maybe won’t turn on at all, don’t panic. Not every air conditioning problem is due to an expensive breakdown or failure.

In fact, there is a good possibility the cause of your trouble is nothing more than a minor issue that you can resolve easily and inexpensively. Below are some of these common problems and what can be done about them.

Air Conditioner Won‘t Blow Cold Air

If your air conditioner turns on at the thermostat, but only blows warm or uncooled air from the vents, one common cause is an incorrectly set thermostat. Older thermostats that operated using analog controls have been supplanted by digital devices; while digital thermostats possess a lot of useful features that are convenient and help cut cooling costs, they are more complex and more prone to user setting errors.

For example, the typical digital thermostat contains fan settings that allow users to turn the fan on automatically or manually. These settings are often labeled ‘ON’ or ‘MAN’ for manual control with ‘AUTO’ being a common automatic control indicator.

If your air conditioner is producing continuous air that is uncooled, verify the fan setting is on ‘AUTO’ instead of ‘ON’. The ‘AUTO’ setting signals the system to blow air only when the compressor is circulating refrigerant through the evaporator coil.

Likewise, the ‘ON’ setting forces the blower to force air through the vents regardless of whether the cooling function is working. That means the air is likely to be uncomfortably warm unless the outside ambient temperature is fairly cool. The ‘ON’ setting is appropriate when continuous airflow is desirable, such as when you are attempting to dry out wet carpeting.

Air Conditioner Won’t Power On

Another potentially frightening problem is when an air conditioner won’t turn on at all. However, first explore several relatively minor causes.

For example, the air conditioner won’t respond at all to thermostat input if the breaker at the main electrical panel has tripped. A tripped breaker is a response to a power overload or other electrical discrepancy and protects the air conditioner as well as your home from destructive or dangerous electrical surges.

Another possible reason your air conditioner won’t power on is due to a clogged condensate drain. Condensate drains serve an important role by removing extracted water from the air conditioner. In some areas, air conditioners can generate 20 gallons of condensate per day. This water must be permitted to drain freely, or the backup can cause extensive and costly damage to your home.

As a fail-safe mechanism, condensate drains, including collection trays, are often equipped with a sensor that prevents the air conditioner from turning on if moisture is detected. Fortunately, a simple, fast cleaning will often remove clogs in the condensate drain network and restore operation of your system. Contact your local air conditioning specialist for assistance in cleaning a clogged condensate drainage system.

Outdoor Condenser/Compressor Unit Fails to Operate

In some cases, the inside controls of your air conditioner appear to work correctly, but the outside until fails to come on at all. A common cause of this particular problem is a failed start/run capacitor.

The start/run capacitor is important to the function of the air conditioner because it maintains a high current reserve for use with the condenser fan and compressor motor. Without the capacitor, the system would likely be unable to provide enough “kick” to these heavy duty components. Start/run capacitors are typically located in the outdoor unit adjacent to other electronics and electrical controls.

Start/run capacitors are fairly inexpensive components and will typically need only a minimal amount of service time for replacement, thus keeping your repair costs down. Be sure never to attempt servicing the start/run capacitor yourself, however, as the current can cause a dangerous electrical shock.

If you live in the greater Huntsville area, be sure to contact Alabama Climate Control for assistance with your malfunctioning air conditioner. The professionals at Alabama Climate Control are ready to serve you and address your system’s needs.

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