7 Common Central Air Conditioner Issues and How to Fix Them


Air conditioners are by far one of the most appreciated modern conveniences for ensuring the health and comfort of you and your household. On a hot summer day, we all breathe a sigh of relief when the cool air begins issuing from the air vents.

The flip side of this convenience is the frustration when your air conditioner refuses to behave as intended.

Desperately needing to cool down your home when your A/C has stopped working is a frustration our HVAC team is familiar with. We repair air conditioners for clients across Oak Point and the surrounding areas, so we’re deeply familiar with the most common problems air conditioners encounter.

In this blog post, we’ll share the A/C issues we regularly encounter, so you can do some basic troubleshooting of your air conditioner when it unexpectedly fails.

What is a Central Air Conditioner?

First things first—let’s define the system we’ll be discussing in this post.

Central air is the common term for air conditioning systems that are integrated throughout your home. Rather than a single unit placed in a window, central air uses a complex system of fans, compressors, refrigerants, coils, and ducts to cool down the air in your home. It’s controlled through a thermostat that regulates the temperature.

Central air systems can be either a split system comprising indoor and outdoor components or a packaged system containing only outdoor components to save on space.

Now, let’s move on to talking about the most common problems.

Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

Most likely, there’s a connection issue with your thermostat.

Thermostats are like any other electrical appliance or component—occasionally, they can develop connectivity issues due to tripped switches or broken or frayed wiring. The good news is that your air conditioner itself is fine, but the bad news is that this isn’t a problem you should try to fix on your own.

Due to the potential hazards of tampering with electrical components, your best option is to call an HVAC company to diagnose and repair your issue. If it turns out to be something other than the thermostat, they’ll be able to tell you right away.

Your Air Conditioner Won’t Cycle Off

Ideally, your thermostat can detect when your home is at your desired temperature and shut off your system when this temperature is reached. Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way.

This issue could have several causes. The most easily fixed is that your filters need to be cleaned or replaced because they’re built up so much dust and dirt that the air can’t get through. Some super handy homeowners can perform this task themselves, but many will call an HVAC pro.

The least easily fixed is that your A/C unit is simply too small for the square footage it’s trying to cool and needs to be upgraded with a new energy-efficient model.

The cost of a new air conditioning system can range anywhere from $4,100 to over $14,000. The cost will depend on the square footage of your home, the type of system, the need to expand ductwork, and many more factors.

Your A/C Is On, But There’s No Cold Air

Again, there are a variety of reasons why this could be happening, and they start with a filter in need of cleaning or replacement.

No cold air could also result from a refrigerant leak or a mechanical issue involving the unit itself or the ductwork. These more advanced issues will require a professional fix. Refrigerant is a potentially harmful chemical, and fiddling around with the mechanical parts of your A/C will likely damage it and almost certainly void the warranty.

There’s a Puddle of Water Under Your Air Con Unit

If this is a rare occurrence that only happens when your A/C is operating heavily on sweltering and humid days, there’s probably nothing that abnormal about it. Air conditioners use refrigerant and evaporator coils to remove humidity—moisture—from hot air and drain it outside the building. A small amount of water is, therefore, expected.

A large amount of water or water where it’s not expected could be a sign that the drain is clogged, the condensate pump isn’t working, or the coils are frozen. These are all mechanical issues that require a professional to sort them out.

There’s a Really Bad Smell Coming from Your A/C

Bad smells coming from your air vents while your air conditioner is running are generally not a good sign.

Because central air systems circulate the same air through your home, they can sometimes cause a bad smell to proliferate. For example, the odor of someone smoking in one room could spread throughout the whole house through your central air.

However, air conditioners can cause a bad smell when there are mechanical issues, such as burnt-out components, leaking refrigerant, and other problems. These are significant concerns that mean you should shut off your A/C and call a pro right away.

Your Air Conditioner Is Making a Loud Noise

It’s normal to hear your air conditioner make a small noise when it comes on. A click when it turns on, a constant low whir, or an occasional gurgle are all completely normal.

The concern is if you hear screeching noises or loud bangs. These should not be ignored as they mean something is quite wrong. Note the sound and where it seems to be coming from, and then call an HVAC company to describe the noise.

Your Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping a Circuit Breaker

Constantly tripping a breaker is a clear sign of an issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

As your A/C draws on power, like any other electrical appliance, it can occasionally trip a breaker if it places too high a demand on your electrical system. This is often the result of your air conditioner working harder than it should for a variety of reasons.

It could be that your filter is too dirty, and the A/C is working overtime to try and pump air through it. Possibly, an internal piece of the mechanism has worn out, and the machine is trying to compensate. Finally, there could be a fault in the wiring that will require complex repairs.

Still Mystified About Your Air Con?

If you’re still unsure about what’s wrong with your air conditioner, or you know exactly what’s the matter but can’t fix it yourself, call on our HVAC team at Oak Point Heating and Air LLC.

You can reach us at (940) 208-4300 or check out our site for detailed information about our air conditioning repair services.