When you live in Florida, your air conditioner is a lifeline. Not only do you need it to feel comfortable inside your home, it also improves indoor air quality and prevents mold growth. So if you get home from a long day at work, only to find that your precious machine is blowing warm air, it understandably causes concern. How can you tell whether the issue has an easy fix or whether it’s time to call an HVAC technician?
9 Reasons Your AC is Blowing Warm Air
There are several reasons why an air conditioner may not cool the air. Some can be easily fixed at home, while others are more serious and require the help of an HVAC professional.
1. The Thermostat Fan is Set to ON
Common sense dictates that if the thermostat is on, the AC should be working properly. However, the ON setting means that the fan will run constantly, regardless of whether the air conditioner is cooling air. Meanwhile, the AUTO setting ensures that the fan only turns on when the AC cycles on to cool your home. In addition to keeping your home more comfortable, the AUTO setting is also more energy-efficient — since you don’t have a system continuously running. This setting also allows more time for moisture absorbed from indoor air to drip into the drip pan and to be filtered outside of your home.
2. Clogged Air Filters
If your air filters are dirty, the caked dust and debris will block the airflow. This, in turn, causes condensation from the humidity inside your home to freeze inside the air conditioner. So, your unit is running, but the cold air is blocked. We recommend changing your air filters every one to three months, depending on your household circumstances — such as the square footage of your home, how many people live with you, whether you have any pets, whether there are any allergy sufferers or smokers in your household, if you like to burn candles, if you use it year-round, and the pollution level in your geographical location.
3. Dirty Evaporator Coils
When you remove the front cover of the inside unit of your AC, the metal slats you see exposed are called the evaporator coils. If they are covered with layers of dust, they block efficient airflow and affect the air conditioner’s ability to remove as much humidity from the air indoors. As a result, you end up with warm air blowing out of the vents. To clean them, shut off the AC — do so at the thermostat and the breaker panel, to be on the safe side. Remove the front panel and spray the coils with canned condensed air.
4. Clogged Condensate Line
Air conditioners work by absorbing the warm air inside your home, removing the humidity, and cooling it before blowing it back out through the return vents. The water from the humidity falls into what’s called a drip pan. Once the drip pan is full, the water is drained outside your home through what’s called a condensate line. This is a PVC pipe, and as such, it can become full of sludge and mold if it’s not cleaned regularly. Once a month, turn off the air conditioner, then open the drain line’s cap, slowly pour a cup of distilled white vinegar or bleach, and let the solution sit for 30 minutes. This will dilute any clogs inside the pipe. Once the half-hour is up, turn the air conditioner back on.
5. Leaky or Dirty Air Ducts
Your home’s air ducts are essential for efficient airflow. Generally, you should have them cleaned professionally every three to five years. Failing to do so could lead to them becoming clogged with dust bunnies, growing mold, or sprouting leaks — which would make it easier for insects and/or rodents to make them their home. Things to consider when knowing when it’s time to get them cleaned include how many people live in your home, whether anyone suffers from allergies or smokes indoors, whether you have any pets, you burn candles regularly, or if you’ve recently had a home renovation. Also, look for telltale signs other than warm air, such as increased energy bills, mold on the furnace, and your home always being dusty despite cleaning it often.
6. Refrigerant Leak
Refrigerant is another word for coolant. However, unlike what’s used for motor vehicles, an air conditioner only needs to replace its refrigerant if there’s a leak. This is an issue that requires immediate emergency assistance from a certified HVAC technician. This is because extended exposure to this gas can lead to poisoning. If you think you may have a refrigerant leak, in addition to warm air, you’ll notice frost forming on the condenser unit (the big box outside your home), your home will feel humid inside, and you are likely to hear a hissing sound. In addition, you and/or your family may experience irritated eyes, a sore throat, headaches, and dizziness. If this is the case, don’t wait it out. Call a technician immediately.
7. Faulty Compressor
Refrigerant only works when the compressor transforms it from low-pressure refrigerant into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. When the compressor is not working properly, your air conditioner will make rattling or screeching sounds and blow warm air. And, if you put your hands up to the air vents, you’ll also notice a diminished airflow. Since the compressor is one of the most important components of your air conditioner, this is not something you can fix on your own. Call an experienced HVAC technician to address the issue. Do not put it on the back burner, as waiting could result in additional damage to your air conditioner.
8. It’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner
The average lifespan of a split unit or central air conditioning system is 15 to 20 years — 10 years if it’s a window unit. Since five years is a significant window, you can do things such as replace your air filters regularly and have routine maintenance checks to make it last towards the higher end of that range. If you’ve failed to do so in the past, be aware of the possibility that your AC may not last as long. If purchasing a new system is not currently in your budget, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan.
9. Condenser Unit Problems
Your condenser unit is the equipment that’s outside your home. Since it’s outside, there are several things that could cause issues. Make sure there’s nothing visibly blocking or affecting the system like dirt, leaves, tall grass, debris, or something else. If there is something blocking the system, remove the item(s). If something is wrong with the unit, you’ll hear strange sounds come from it. Listen for odd sounds coming from your AC unit.
AC Service in Brevard County
At Colman, we understand that sometimes, AC issues happen during the most inconvenient times. This is why we have a 24/7 AC emergency line. Call us if you need assistance ASAP or to schedule routine HVAC maintenance to prevent issues during the summer.
24-HR Emergency Service: (321) 269-4565