“Why isn’t my air conditioner working?” It’s one of the most common questions HVAC professionals hear, especially during the heat of summer. It’s hard to know without inspecting the AC unit, but the issue probably isn’t what you think. Many homeowners are surprised to learn that most AC cooling problems are caused by airflow issues and part failures.
Most people don’t know exactly how their air conditioning unit works, which leads to a lot of misconceptions when cold air fails to appear on demand. Have you heard of any of these common AC myths?
The AC Needs More Refrigerant
If your air conditioner is not working, it’s probably not because it needs more refrigerant. The refrigerant is charged when it’s installed, and it should never need any more for as long as the air conditioning unit lasts.
There are just two exceptions to this rule: the refrigerant was not charged properly, or there is a leak. For the most part, though, your refrigerant should never have to be refilled, so if you’re experiencing cooling issues, that’s probably not the problem.
The AC Can Go as Low as You Set It
If you set the AC to 60 degrees, your AC will cool the air to that temperature, right? Not necessarily. Your AC works by cooling air 15-20 degrees at a time, so it’s better to turn on the AC before it gets too hot indoors. Otherwise, you’re going to stress out the AC unit, causing it to work overtime to cool down your house. This is not good for your unit, as it causes immense strain.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind. If it’s 85 degrees in the house, it’s going to be hard to get the indoor air below 65 or even 70 degrees. In fact, it’s recommended that you keep your thermostat set above 70 degrees. Trying to push your AC unit below 70 degrees Fahrenheit could cause the air conditioner coils to freeze, which could lead to total system failure. So be gentle on your AC system if you want it to last a long time.
The AC Doesn’t Need Maintenance
If you’re wondering why your air conditioner isn’t working, it’s time to ask yourself whether it’s been maintained properly. When was the last time you changed the air filter? When air filters are not replaced regularly, it adds excess strain, causing airflow issues. This can cause the system to shut down. Depending on how often you use your AC, you should check the filter weekly to ensure it’s not too dirty to cause issues with airflow.
On top of that, you should have your AC unit inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year. Regular maintenance can prevent major issues.
The AC Only Affects Temperature
Why isn’t your air conditioner working? Maybe you’re not taking humidity into consideration. Your air conditioner doesn’t affect just the temperature of a room—it also impacts humidity levels. And conversely, the humidity in the air of your home affects the efficiency of your air conditioner. If the humidity is too high, decreasing the temperature can become more difficult. Fortunately, this isn’t usually much of an issue in Utah, since we’re ranked as one of the least humid states most of the time.
The Thermostat’s Location Is Not Important
A thermostat’s location can definitely affect the temperature reading—and thus the functionality of your system. This is because thermostats measure the temperature of ambient air, so the location of the thermostat can be a factor. If your thermostat is located in a spot that’s warmer or cooler than the rest of the house, the AC unit is going to turn off when it meets the temperature requirements in that spot. The unit doesn’t have a way to measure the temp in the rest of the house.
This is also why it’s important not to have anything that generates heat too close to the thermostat. A space heater or hot appliance can skew the temperature readings the thermostat takes.
Contact Us Today
When your air conditioner is not working, there are a number of potential reasons for the issue. With so many misconceptions, finding the problem on your own can be almost impossible. Get help from the pros at Absolute Air. We have more than 20 years of experience helping Utah residents with their HVAC issues. Contact Absolute Air for help with your heating and cooling needs.