On a southern summer day, your central AC unit is your lifeline. To prevent your home from becoming too warm and toasty, it’s important to be aware of the most common air conditioner repairs to keep you and your family comfortable when the temperatures start to rise.
Common AC Repairs for Homeowners
Many of the common air conditioner repairs among Kentucky and Indiana homeowners stem from these symptoms:
- The unit won’t turn on at all or will only hum with no fan function.
- Odd and loud noises or vibration while running.
- Blowing weak air or warm air.
- Condensation or leakage around the base unit.
Most common air conditioner problems can be repaired easily to keep your home and family comfortable, and save you money, too!
If Your AC Unit Isn’t Cooling Properly
It doesn’t take long for your living room to feel like a sauna when your central AC unit isn’t cooling properly. If you notice that your AC unit is running, and the temperature is still rising, it’s important to check the refrigerant, sensor, thermostat, drainage, and/or filter.
Refrigerant, most often referred to as Freon, is a strong chemical that is responsible for cooling down warm air before helping your HVAC system direct cool air into your home. Sometimes, your system can develop a leak from improper installation, poor maintenance, or faulty refrigerant charging. You want to address these types of leaks immediately because refrigerant can be hazardous to humans, pets, and the environment. If you notice a leak in your system, it’s best to call a professional because of the hazardous nature of the fluid.
Most central air conditioners feature some type of temperature sensor. This measures the temperature of the air coming into the evaporator coil to keep your home at the desired temperature. If the sensor is knocked out of position, the air conditioner can’t tell how hot or cool the room is. This can cause it to either cycle constantly and overwork, shut down completely, or behave erratically.
The thermostat is a small box in the middle of your living space that allows you to set the desired temperature of your home. The thermostat detects the temperature of the room and compares it to the desired temperature setting. If the room is too warm or too cold, the thermostat requests heat or air from the central AC unit, depending on the season. If the thermostat is not reading temperature correctly, it causes a communication breakdown and your AC unit won’t respond.
The humidity of Kentucky means that your air conditioner has to work extra hard. As the demand on the air conditioner increases, so does the demand on your condensate system. As warm air passes over the evaporator coil, it is cooled and in turn, creates condensation. Throughout the day, it drips, and is collected in a pan and drained from the air conditioning unit. However, if you have a drainage problem, it can cause the unit to shut down. Drain problems can also cause health problems for your family, or damage to your home, and should be addressed quickly.
This is the number one cause of common air conditioner repairs. It’s also the easiest to repair. All central AC units have some type of filter. The filter is responsible to keep the air in your home clean. Over time, it becomes dirty and clogged, requiring your system to work harder than it should. Just like replacing your car filters to protect the engine, a clean HVAC air filter protects your furnace system from becoming damaged and, ultimately, failing entirely.
If Your AC Unit Isn’t Turning On…
Most air conditioners are designed to offer cool air throughout your home for 10-20 years. However, if your air conditioner won’t turn on in the middle of summer, that feeling of dread sets in almost immediately. While some common air conditioner repair problems must be handled by a professional, there are several things you can do to identify and solve common air conditioner repairs on your own.
Electric Control Failure
Problems with the wiring in your unit or the wiring that runs from your unit to an outlet are one of the leading causes of air conditioner breakdowns. First, check the breaker in your power box and check nearby outlets to ensure it’s an AC problem and not an electrical problem. Remember that it is always necessary to cut power off to your unit before inspecting it for wiring-related problems. If your central unit won’t turn on at all, and the electricity in the home is working, you may have a faulty motor. This doesn’t mean you need to replace your entire system. A motor replacement is a fairly common repair that can be done by any HVAC professional.
A faulty thermostat may be the culprit if your unit is not turning on at all. This is an easy situation to diagnose. If you suspect that your thermostat is bad, simply try turning the AC on from the main unit itself. If the central unit will turn on manually, you are likely suffering from a thermostat problem. This can be solved by simply replacing the thermostat unit and reestablishing a strong connection.
If Your AC Unit Is Experiencing Limited Airflow
You can tell the unit is turning on, you can tell it’s producing cold air, but it’s still not cooling your space? This is probably due to limited airflow. Limited airflow is usually caused by a duct issue or a dirty filter.
If you have weak AC airflow in only one or two rooms in your home, it’s probably a ductwork problem. Dampers are essentially valves in your ducts. If they get closed, or partially closed, you may experience weak airflow. To check your dampers, go into your utility room and look for your central HVAC plenum. This is a big, plain, metal box on or near your unit. You should see a bunch of ducts coming out of it, all with levers. These are the dampers to your system. They should all be in the ON position. If they are not, that’s an indication of a closed damper. Simply flip the lever and it should open the duct and produce increased airflow.
Leaking air ducts are another common cause of weak AC airflow. To check for a leaky duct, shine a flashlight in one of your vents and see if you can see any light coming through. If you can, call an HVAC contractor to come out and seal them up, as duct sealing will improve your air conditioner airflow.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of changing your air filter. The purpose of the filters is to catch this dust and debris so you’re not breathing it in every day. This dust and debris builds up and slows down airflow. No matter how clean you keep your house, it’s so important to change your filters every month. Otherwise, they will become so clogged that air is simply not going to be able to get through at all.
Average Costs of Repairs
The average cost of common air conditioner repairs depends a lot on your existing equipment, the type of repair, and parts needed. Some fixes are quick and easy and can be completed in a couple of hours with minimal cost. In other cases, components may need to be replaced and replacement parts may need to be ordered, which increases the overall cost.
On average, the costs for common air conditioner repairs run homeowners about $300. Common AC costs for central cooling system repairs include:
- Replace condensate drain tube – About $20
- Replace condensate drain pump – $240 to $450
- Replace drain pans – $250 to $575
- Flush drain line – $75 to $250
- Recharge refrigerant – $250 to $750
- Repair refrigerant leak – $200 to $1,500
- Replace compressor – $1,900
- Repair outdoor fan motor – $200 to $650
- Replace breakers, relays, or fuses – $75 to $290
- Replace condenser coil – $1,900 to $2,900
Keep in mind that in addition to the cost estimates above, most HVAC contractors charge a service fee or diagnostic that covers time and labor. This is usually $50-$100 for most air conditioner repairs. If your repair is after hours, on a weekend, or on a holiday, you may expect increased fees.
AC Unit Emergencies
If your central AC unit seems to be working great and is all-of-the-sudden making loud noises, or producing funny smells, it’s important to check the unit immediately. Some symptoms may be a simple fix, while others can be potentially dangerous to your home and family.
If you hear your AC unit screeching, turn it off immediately. This is typically either from a loose fan belt (which is an easy fix), or a high-pressure compressor (which is a more serious problem). Either way, a high-pitched screeching sound needs the attention of a professional. Other loud noises could be a banging sound, hissing noise, or constant loud humming. All of these are abnormal and indicate that something is wrong on the inside of the system. It is not advised to try and repair noise problems on your own. You should always contact an expert in order to have repairs fixed properly, safely, and professionally.
If you smell something burning, shut off your air conditioner. Any type of funny smell, especially burning, is most likely the sign of an electrical problem. If you have a gas-powered system, be aware of the “rotten egg” smell, which can be a sign of a gas leak. Any foul smell from your unit should be taken seriously and handled by a professional immediately.
Loss of Airflow
A sudden loss of air flow can be an indicator of something more serious. If you’ve checked your ductwork and filters as discussed above, and you can’t find any apparent thermostat or electrical cause for the loss of power, it could be something more extensive. It’s best to turn off the unit completely and call an AC professional right away.
If you suspect any of these AC emergencies in your unit, it’s best to call a professional as soon as possible. These are not situations that are DIY friendly. Keep your home and family safe and away from the hazard until it can be repaired by a professional.
Working With an HVAC Pro
Solving air conditioner repairs quickly is absolutely essential, especially in warm spring and summer months. At My Trusted Contractor, we focus on providing for the central air conditioning needs for both residential and commercial customers throughout Kentucky and Indiana.
How do you know if you need a quick fix to an AC unit that won’t start or repair a serious leakage repair? Give us a call. We can help with both common air conditioner repairs and emergency repairs, day or night. Your comfort is our top priority. Find a local HVAC contractor near you today!