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How to Troubleshoot Common AC Issues

Couple in living room with air conditioner on

From the summer sun to the winter cold, your HVAC unit works hard throughout the year to keep you and your family comfortable. Because air conditioners do their thing in the background, it’s easy to forget that AC maintenance is necessary to keep them going.

The average central air conditioning unit is made up of many parts and pieces, and that means there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Have you heard strange sounds, like clicking or thumping? Have you experienced issues with it turning itself off and on? Or have you noticed the presence of a strange smell around your home lately?

Whether or not you can fix it yourself, it’s helpful to be aware of some common AC issues so you can do some troubleshooting. However, if you think you might be dealing with a bigger problem, it’s best to call in the experts at United Home Services. They have the professional know-how and experience to make short work of any and all air conditioning ailments!

Girl overheating in living room where AC maintenance is required

It Won’t Turn On

You might think there’s a major problem if you can’t turn your air conditioner on. However, you’re in luck! If you’re dealing with this AC maintenance issue, it could point to one of the following problems:

  • Old Batteries – Check the batteries in your thermostat and ensure they’ve still got some juice left. If not, you’ll want to replace them with a new set and see if anything changes.
  • Thermostat Setting – It might sound silly but a thermostat that isn’t at the right setting is one of the most common AC issues. Many people forget to change it along with the seasons. Before making any assumptions, check your thermostat to ensure it’s set to cooling mode.  
  • Tripped Breaker – If you’ve checked your batteries and thermostat and all is good, your last option is a tripped breaker. Head to your electrical panel and flip the switch to turn it off and on. If checking the thermostat and batteries doesn’t work, this should do the trick!

Air conditioner with blue and red color tint

There’s No Cold Air

A pretty common air conditioner issue is that it won’t do what it’s supposed to do: push cool air through your home. Luckily, this is usually an easy fix and simply requires a little AC maintenance.

If you’ve noticed issues with cool air flow, it’s probably time to replace your air conditioner’s filter. Whether you have some at home or have to make a trip to the hardware store, it’s best not to put this off.

Many people neglect to change their air filters consistently. However, they should be replaced approximately every three months to ensure good air quality around your home and proper functioning of your AC unit.

It’s easy to put off an inspection, but timely maintenance means you won’t need to rely on unforeseen AC repair services!

Have You Heard Hissing?

If you’ve heard a hissing sound around your home lately, it may not be your imagination. In fact, this can point to common AC issues that don’t take a lot of elbow grease to fix.

If there are holes or cracks in your AC coils that circulate refrigerant, this may be creating a hissing sound as it leaks. When it’s a bigger problem, you may hear a gurgling sound instead.

In addition, if you’ve noticed erratic temperature shifts around your home, this is another sign that refrigerant may be leaking. Unfortunately, this means that your air conditioner unit is operating at low efficiency and using a lot of excess power.

Be sure that your unit is checked for any refrigerant leaks during routine AC maintenance services. If you need help with air conditioner installation or AC repair, be sure to reach out to the professional team at United Home Services!

Have You Heard Clicking?

Air conditioners can make a variety of sounds when they’re powering on or off that are completely normal. However, the recurrence of some can be cause for concern.

If you’ve heard clicking, it can point to one of the following common AC issues:

  • Relay Issue – Constant clicking may mean there’s an issue with your HVAC’s relay process. While a click may occur when you adjust your settings, it may be broken if it persists.  
  • Electrical Issues – If there are issues with the functioning of your electrical system, it may be causing the relay problem with your air conditioning unit.
  • The Contactor – This important part is the link between your thermostat and your air conditioner’s compressor unit. If the clicking isn’t caused by your relay or electrical system, this part may be damaged and in need of replacement.

Water on hardwood floor

There’s a Water Leak

Have you noticed water pooling around the air conditioning unit that goes into your home?

If you have, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn off your AC so you can avoid any water damage. Water leaks can be an expensive fix and should be avoided at all costs.

For the homeowner who likes DIY maintenance, you may want to try pulling out the wet-dry vacuum and seeing if this will clear up the leak.

However, if the water leak is more serious and has been caused by a clogged drain line, it may lead to a water backup in your home. For the inexperienced handyperson, it may be a good idea to call in the professionals who can run through the AC maintenance checklist.

Man on couch looking at a paper bill in surprise

Are Your Energy Bills High?

It’s easy enough to chalk a higher energy bill up to colder weather or someone playing around with the thermostat. But if you’ve been experiencing this issue for a while, it may point to issues with your outdoor AC unit.

It may be outside but it’s important not to forget about your outdoor condenser unit. Because it’s accessible to the elements, it’s easy for dirt, debris, and leaves to build up around your unit and impact its ability to function. If you’ve noticed a pileup of grass or leaves near it, this is probably causing the issue.

When you complete routine central AC maintenance, don’t forget to check your condenser unit! Be sure to remove any dirt or buildup by hosing it down, and remove any grass, weeds, or branches that are within two feet to avoid common AC issues.

Is There a Strange Smell?

If you’ve noticed a musty smell in your home or the presence of dust, there’s a good chance that it’s time for a little AC maintenance.

The appearance of dust points to ducts that are clogged with dirt and other debris that needs to be cleaned away. This will also lead to uneven cooling since air will have to work its ways around the obstructions.

If you’ve noticed a strange smell, it may point to the presence of mold in your ducts. If this is the case, you’ll want to contact the HVAC professionals as soon as possible to remedy the problem.

Dust, dirt, and mold circulating through your home can undoubtedly cause health problems for your family. That’s why it’s important to schedule AC repair with a certified HVAC professional as soon as possible if you’ve come across these issues.

Person turning off a switch in a lit-up room

Is It Turning On and Off?

It’s more than a minor nuisance if you’re dealing with hot weather and your air conditioner is turning off and on. Luckily, it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of AC maintenance to solve this issue.

If you’ve noticed it on more than a couple occasions, it may point to a problem with your thermostat sensor. Because the sensor needs to be placed close to the evaporator coil to measure the temperature, its functioning can be impacted if it’s touching the evaporator coil.

While it’s important that the sensor is kept close so it can effectively cool, make sure it’s not touching anything so you can read the temperature accurately.

Have You Noticed Rattling or Screeching?

You may know now that an air conditioner can make a lot of noises when it’s on the fritz. In fact, noises are one of the most common AC issues. And of course, different noises mean different things, whether hissing or clicking.

If your AC unit is making screeching or squealing sounds, a belt replacement might be in order. Likewise, rattling sounds that don’t go away could point to a problem with the fans, the motor, or the compressors.

If you’ve done all the minor troubleshooting and haven’t found any issues, one of these things will likely be the culprit. But if you’re unable to diagnose the issue further, it may be time to call in the AC repair experts.

An air conditioner will only be able to go the distance if it’s well-maintained. That means any strange noises should be dealt with as soon as they arise.

Reach Out for Professional AC Maintenance Services!

Your air conditioner may be one of the things in your home that you can take for granted. However, it can cause a lot of discomfort for your family if you need it in a pinch. 

That’s why, whether you’re a handyperson or not, it’s a good idea to know a few things that might be the cause of the problem. After all, replacing an air filter or clearing away the debris around your condenser unit are easy enough. But if you do need more extensive labor for your air conditioning unit, it’s best to leave it to the experts.

If you’re in need of AC maintenance in Los Angeles, contact the professionals at United Home Services for assistance. With locations across the country that can expertly serve you, be sure to reach out today:

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