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Troubleshooting An AC System That Isn’t Cooling

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As summer approaches for Illinois residents, you might be planning for your favorite outdoor activities. However, your air conditioner warrants a bit of review to ensure that it is ready for action on warmer days in the Lake Forest area. One of the most common air conditioning issues requiring repair during the summer is failure of the AC system to cool the home. Some causes are minor and can be resolved quickly. However, any AC repair involving complex system components requires technical support that can be provided by an HVAC professional.

Simple AC Issues

Before you worry about a repair call, you should take the time needed to check areas that could be resolved in just a couple of minutes. These include:

  • Thermostat settings – verify that your controls are correctly set. Buttons can be accidentally switched, causing your HVAC system to heat rather than cool. A button change could also cause the fan to blow without cooling activity. If auto is selected, verify that the call for cooling is lower than the current room temperature.
  • Thermostat batteries – a weak or dead battery could prevent your system’s operation. A battery tester or fresh batteries can provide an assessment of this issue.
  • Tripped switch – your fuse or control box may provide a simple resolution of the problem. If the fuse or circuit breaker for your air conditioning unit has tripped, switch it back on to see if the equipment will operate correctly. Repeated instances of a tripped switch could indicate the need for professional assistance.
  • Air filter – one of the simplest AC maintenance tasks is changing the filter, but this is also a need that can be easily ignored. A clogged filter can restrict air movement and affect system operations. Make a change if you discover a dirty filter.

Troubleshooting Symptoms

If checking basic control and filter issues does not resolve an AC problem, then you may want to investigate the symptoms demonstrated by your unit. Air flow and air temperature can provide helpful clues about a malfunction. Take note of whether any air is blowing when the system settings indicate that the unit is operating. Additionally, pay attention to the strength and temperature of the air stream.

A lack of airflow in all rooms could reflect a problem in a main duct or with the fan. A broken fan could prevent treated air from being distributed to the rest of the home. A major blockage in the ducts could also prevent cooled air from being properly distributed. If cool air reaches some rooms but not others, there could be a blockage or damage in just a portion of the duct system. In some cases, toys or clothing items can fall into a duct area, especially if the vent can be removed. This type of blockage could be visible and might be easily remedied. However, remote damage in the duct system requires an HVAC technician’s expertise.

Airflow can also be affected by a dirty air filter or dirty evaporator coils. If you notice a weak flow of air and have changed your filter, you may need to schedule AC maintenance. An HVAC technician can clean your evaporator coils along with other important system parts. This should increase the strength of your airstream, and the clean coils should also produce cooler air. If you have a good flow of air that is cool but not cold, dirty coils are potentially at fault.

A strong flow of air that is not cool at all could indicate a refrigerant problem. If your system transitions from effective cooling to not cooling at all in a very short period, you could have a major problem in the refrigerant lines. Refrigerant issues can be evaluated during a maintenance or repair visit.

Managing AC Repair and Maintenance Needs

Ireland Heating and Air Conditioning offers emergency repair service on a 24-7 basis. We also provide ongoing system support through AC maintenance. You can read more about our air conditioning solutions, or call our office in Lake Forest at 847-388-0108 to schedule service today.