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Why Doesn’t My AC Work?


Air Conditioners, Home Comfort, Maintenance

We’ve all been there, tossing and turning during the hottest summer nights and everything you do to cool off isn’t working. This feeling of restl...

Posted by Ryan | April 27, 2022

We’ve all been there, tossing and turning during the hottest summer nights and everything you do to cool off isn’t working. This feeling of restlessness can only be amplified when your AC doesn’t work.

If you’re continuously turning down your thermostat to cool down your air space and nothing is happening, it’s time to call an AC specialist.

But this blog will help you identify some things that might be causing your air conditioner to struggle. Let’s learn what to look for and what you can do to help your cooling system pump a little bit easier.

When you’re convinced that your air conditioner needs some professional TLC, there’s only one team to call: Action Furnace. We’ve been repairing air conditioning systems since 1975. We’ll find out what’s wrong with your AC and turn your home back into a place of comfort.

Can I Tell If My AC Is About to Stop Working?

There are several reasons why your air conditioner is operating but not decreasing the temperature in your home. This can range from basic issues like an incorrectly adjusted thermostat or a dirty filter, to more complicated situations requiring component replacement.

Generally, if your system doesn’t cool your home like it used to, you’ve got a problem. Rising energy bills are also an indicator that your AC output is going in the wrong direction.

It’s always better to solve air conditioning issues before your system totally stops working. Let’s discuss some potential problems you can look into on your own, before calling an Action Furnace AC expert.

Your Thermostat is Set Incorrectly

Your thermostat is an important part of your air conditioner. It’s how the system determines when to turn on and begin cooling your home. Your unit will not turn on when you want it to or switch off when the room is suitably cooled if the thermostat is calibrated incorrectly.

Broken thermostat…also a problem.

If you notice your AC isn’t starting up at the temperature you’ve set it to, or that it isn’t blowing cool air when expected, it could be a thermostat issue. Homes with older thermostats can always benefit from an upgrade to a smart thermostat.

Water pooling on floor near AC unit.

Time to Ditch the Dirty Air Filter

Your air conditioner may have an air filter in or near the indoor air handler unit. As dirt, dust, and other airborne particles enter the air handler unit, the filter captures them. It keeps the system’s components cleaner and more efficient, and also keeps the air in your home cleaner.

A clogged air filter obstructs airflow and prevents the proper cooling of your home. It can even force the system to shut down completely in extreme circumstances.

If your thermostat is working properly but you still don’t have cool air, look for your system’s air filter. Switch off your AC, remove the filter and inspect it. In general, air filters should be swapped out every 3 months. In areas with poor indoor air quality (IAQ), this may need to occur more often.

If your central air conditioner still doesn’t chill your home after you’ve confirmed your air filter is clean or replaced a dirty filter, you’ll need to dig a little further to find the source of the problem.

Blocked AC Condenser Unit

Your central air conditioning system probably has an outdoor condenser unit. The condenser unit’s exterior contains a big outside coil that wraps the majority of the way around the unit.

The coil is made up of many thin metal “fins” that are very closely spaced. If your air conditioner is operating but not lowering the temperature inside, a clogged or obstructed condenser coil could be the cause.

The condenser fan sucks air into the outdoor unit through the condenser coil to extract heat energy from your home. Dirt, grass, and other flying debris can clog the coil by accumulating between the fins. A dirty coil can result in lower energy efficiency, a shortage of cool air at the registers, or, in the worst-case scenario, a full system shutdown or compressor failure due to overuse.

Clearing dirt, carefully vacuuming the coil with a brush attachment, or gently washing the coil with a hose are all options for cleaning. If your system is still not cooling, it’s time to call the pros at Action Furnace.

You’ve Got a Refrigerant Leak

Chemical refrigerant is essential to the cooling process in an air conditioner. It changes from liquid to gaseous form as it passes through your system’s indoor and outdoor coils, taking heat energy and humidity from indoor air and releasing it outside.

A refrigerant leak can cause your AC system to stop blowing cold air. A loss of refrigerant may also cause a damaged or failing compressor and or complete system shutdown.

Leaks usually occur around coils or valves in your AC system. You can use an electronic leak detector to try and determine this yourself. Or get an HVAC specialist from Action Furnace to assess the problem efficiently and effectively.

A Note About AC Refrigerants: The R-22 Ban

R-22 (also known as Freon) was introduced in the 1950s and quickly became the standard refrigerant for most AC systems. Research in the 1980s determined it was one of many substances that contributed to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone. This eventually led to the refrigerant being banned for production and import on January 1, 2020.

Because of this change in product policy, the cost of R-22 has increased a lot in recent years. But new air conditioners are using alternative, more eco-friendly refrigerants. R-22 will only be more difficult to obtain for maintenance in the future, so homeowners with older AC units may want to consider a replacement.

Our HVAC technicians can take a look at your system and provide pricing options for repairs and replacements. We’ll also keep you informed of any rebate programs in your region for eco-friendly energy upgrades.

Broken AC unit covered in black mold and leaking water.

Your Undersized Air Conditioner Can’t Keep Up

Air conditioners are sized in terms of the volume of cooling they offer. So asking an undersized air conditioner to keep your entire home cool on a hot day may be a lot to ask.

Although the rating information on the cabinet panel may help you calculate the size of your AC unit, it will be tough to tell whether it is the “appropriate size” for your home. Sizing an AC system for your home depends on a variety of parameters, including square footage, building and insulation quality, local climate, and more.

A credible AC installation should always make sure the right size system is selected for your living space. Our cooling experts can evaluate your air conditioning struggles and let you know if the size of your unit is the real problem.

Certified To Keep You Comfortable

Why doesn’t your AC work? Maybe it’s because you’ve been neglecting your home’s cooling system! Make sure to stay current with annual HVAC maintenance and AC Tune-Ups.

Action Furnace makes it easy with a Comfort Club Membership. Annual air conditioner tune-ups are included, which means we spot trouble before your cooling system stops working altogether.

So make sure your thermostat is dialled in and your AC air filter is nice and clean. Clean away debris and muck clogging your outdoor AC unit. Still no cool airflow? Call Action Furnace. Let us get on top of your AC problems before the hottest days of the year make their way to Alberta this summer.

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Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.

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