Air Conditioner Not Working

Is Your Air Conditioner not Working (Central Air)?

It happens at the worst time right? You have all sorts of tasks to complete and people to see. Today is warmer than most and you start to hear more banter in the office. Someone screams out in terror “THE AIR CONDITIONER IS NOT WORKING!” You’ve got this, you search for air conditioner not working, and find these awesome tips!

Symptom: You can feel air blowing, but it is warm

Check the filters. If you haven’t changed them in a while, (more than three months) they are dirty and the they are restricting air flow. Replace your air filter. In a central air or split system, you can find the air filters in the return duct before it connects to your furnace. If your unit is vertical, the air filter is in the duct that connects at the base of your furnace. If your unit is horizontal, look for the gas pipe connection. This is the base and this is the side of the return air duct.

Isometric drawing of an air conditioner. It highlights the return duct and gas line.

Check the condenser. This unit is outside. It might be on the ground or on the roof. If you see debris in the fins of the condenser, get a garden hose and a brush. Brush the fins gently, they are sharp and if you bend them you are restricting air flow. If ice is forming around the refrigerant lines and your unit is clean you will need to call a HVAC service technician.

Check the Thermostat. Do this before calling for help. Someone could have adjusted the settings. You want to make sure:

The thermostat works. If it is digital, you will know if it does or not have power. If the thermostat is dial, turn the thermostat’s temperature up until you hear the air conditioner turn off.

The thermostat is in cooling mode. Is it that time of the year when the temperatures are all over the place? Someone might have gotten cold the day before and turned on the heat.

Symptom: The Unit is Clean, the Filters are clear, and it is still warm

Check for obstructions. Were there recent changes to your building? Did you have an event? HVAC systems need air to work. Find the return air register. For a central air system, this is the largest grill in the biggest room. Remove all obstructions like: furniture, plants and debris.

Open all the diffusers. Find all the vents the system is serving and make sure they are open. If they are not, it is harder to keep all the spaces are cold. If you have done all of these steps, it may be time to call a service technician. Your unit could be too small for the space or it needs service.

Symptom: There is water everywhere

To avoid any more damage, you’ll need to turn off your unit, find your thermostat and switch it to off. More than likely, the condensate drain has a clog. You can use a wet vac and a snake to clear the obstructions. You can turn your air conditioner back on. If that does not work, there is a leak in the drain pipe or pan. You can replace this yourself or call for help.

Symptom: Your Air Conditioner will not turn on

Check the breaker. Lightning storms or other power surges can trip shut the unit off. Again, make sure your thermostat is set to on. If all of these are true, something is wrong with the capacitor or compressor.  If you’ve made this far and the your air conditioner is not working, you are going to need help from a service technician.

To prevent costly breakdowns, enroll in maintenance program. The payback is high, the programs give you peace of mind, and your unit will always work!