How to Fix an Air Conditioner

We all say it nearly every year, but this year felt like one of the hottest and most humid summers we’ve had in a while! Sure, it makes trips to the lake a lot of fun, but the hot weather can wreak havoc on your home’s air conditioner. Even if your AC is working fine right now there could be issues creeping up in the background just waiting to compound into a bigger problem.

If you suspect there might be a problem with your air conditioner and you’d like to take a crack at fixing it yourself, consider these helpful insights on how to fix an air conditioner.

Common problems in mini split air conditioners

Ductless mini split air conditioners are excellent compact units that deliver impressive relief from the summer heat! They’re also beloved for their small size and because it’s easy to access the unit to assess any potential problems. If you notice your mini split AC isn’t cooling as well as it used to, it may be due to one of these common mini split air conditioner problems:

Refrigerant leak. Leaking refrigerant is a common problem across all types of air conditioners, including mini splits. Leaks are tricky to diagnose because unless they are advanced or large leaks, it can be difficult to actually see the leaky fluid. Most homeowners will hear or feel the problem before actually spotting a leak. If your mini split is making hissing noises, or you notice a sudden decrease in cooling output, you may have a leak.

The mini split blower may be broken. The blower is powered by a small motor which can become worn out or less effective over time. When a blower motor fails, cooling output is diminished and the evaporator coils can start to freeze over.

Condensate line clog. Ductless mini split ACs have a condensate line that is run through the wall and to the outdoors. Because it is exposed to outdoor elements, mold and bacteria might grow and clog the condensate line and may even damage your walls. This type of problem typically evolves over time, so if you notice your mini split seems to work less efficiently with each passing month or year, it may be time to have a professional inspect your condensate lines for clogs.

Common problems in central air conditioners

Central air conditioners are true powerhouses with the ability to efficiently and effectively cool your entire home even in the hottest months. With all of that cooling power comes a long list of potential problems including issues with collapsed duct work, dirty outdoor AC units, frozen evaporator coils, water leaks and more.

Some homeowners may even be the cause of the problem! It’s a common misconception that you should close supply vents in rooms that are not being used. This can actually cause duct work problems and put undue strain on your AC unit as it struggles to push air through limited spaces. The same can be said for furniture, rugs or other obstructions in front of ground level supply vents. To reduce strain on your central AC system, make sure all vents are open and clear of obstructions.

How do I fix a leaking air conditioner?

A leaking air conditioner could be a sign of several common problems, or may even be something as ordinary as a condensation reaction to extreme heat. Before you crack open your tool box and look for a solution, here are some common causes of leaking central air conditioners.

Check for a clogged air filter

Clogged air filters are the most common cause of a leaking air conditioner, and thankfully something you should be able to resolve on your own by taking proactive steps to maintain your AC unit. You should replace your air filters every month to protect against clogs and to improve the air quality in your home.

As air filters become dirty and ineffective, dust, dander and other airborne particles can pile up and put strain on your air conditioner. The AC will struggle to maintain temperature, causing the evaporator coils to freeze up. When the coils thaw, moisture can drip off of them and lead to water damage behind your walls if left untreated.

If your air filters are clean and you’re still experiencing leaks, you may have a cracked overflow pan.

Fixing a cracked overflow pan

Overflow pans are located beneath the evaporator coils and are used to catch condensation produced from the coils. It’s normal for an overflow pan to hold small amounts of condensation, especially during hot summer months or high usage of the air conditioner. If you notice water leaking around the area of the overflow pan, you may have a crack in the pan. You can use epoxy to patch a visible crack, but the easiest and most effective way to solve the problem is to replace the overflow pan. Overflow pans can be purchased at home improvement stores.

If you notice an abnormal amount of water pooling in the overflow pan, you may have a clog between the overflow pan and the drain line. We do not recommend trying to fix a clogged condensate drain line on your own, so call us right away at 262-677-3477 for assistance and advice.

How do I fix a frozen air conditioner?

If you notice your air conditioner is not putting out an adequate amount of cool air, you may have a frozen AC unit. Common causes include poor or obstructed air flow, low refrigerant, or mechanical failure.

Here are some ways to assess the issue before taking action.

Make sure you have turned off your AC before inspecting the unit for problems. Check the air filters in your home and replace them if they are dirty (or if it has been 30 days since you last replaced them). If your filters are clean, check the air conditioner coils next. If you notice the coils are dusty or dirty, carefully wipe them down with a warm damp cloth. Use only water when wiping down the coils, do not use household cleaners! You can also use canned or compressed air to reach space between coils.

If your coils are clean and the problem persists, you may need to check your duct work. Collapsed duct work can obstruct airflow, or you may have a buildup of debris. Don’t risk injuring yourself if your duct work is not easily accessible! Give us a call right away at 262-677-3477. Our trained technicians have special tools that can inspect your duct work safely and easily.

How much does it cost to fix an air conditioner?

The cost of fixing an air conditioner can vary depending on the type of unit (mini split, central AC, etc.) and the extent of the damage. Typically, if the cost to repair an air conditioner exceeds 50% of the cost of a new air conditioner, it makes more financial sense to replace the broken unit. We can help you weigh your options and determine if air conditioner repair is the right solution, or if you should consider installing a new energy efficient model.

Jackson Hardware Heating and Air Conditioning has been a leader in affordable air conditioner repair and service since 1919. We understand that many homeowners don’t have extra cash on hand for emergency repairs, so we do our best to find the most efficient and affordable solution to get your air conditioner back to working order. Customers trust us because we always provide transparent pricing with no hidden fees.

We’re available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 262-677-3477. We can help you diagnose and even resolve some issues over the phone, free of charge. We believe it’s just the right thing to do! Call us today for fast and friendly help today.

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