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My AC Runs But Isn't Cold - What's Up?
Posted: August 20, 2020 by Andy

If your AC is running but isn't cooling, it could be a simple, no-cost fix - or it could be an expensive one!

Picture this: it's a hot summer day (we've had a lot of those this year), and you realize that the air coming from your home's registers is warm. What gives? Your top rated Northeast Ohio repair company Hey Neighbor has some useful tips on how to deal with a central AC system that's running but not cooling. Also, if you need to call in the professionals, we have you covered with fast 24-hour service!

We know how irritating it is when you encounter a problem with your air conditioner. It always happens at the worst possible time, right? Before you stress out, here are some things you should check before you call in our AC pros!

An incorrectly-set thermostat

While this may seem like too easy of a fix, sometimes the cause of your AC system running but not cooling is just the result of accidentally switching the thermostat's fan setting from Auto to On. When the fan switch is set to automatic, the thermostat turns on the air conditioning when your home's indoor temperature rises above the preset temperature. If the switch is set to On, your AC blows air through your duct system, but no cooling takes place most of the time. Take a moment to verify the switch is set to Auto.

A dirty filter

If you can't remember the last time you replaced the filter in your HVAC system, it's probably filthy, which, in turn, negatively affects airflow. When a filter gets clogged with dust and pet dander, your AC system isn't able to draw adequate air, and as a result, only a minimal amount of air flows out into your home. Inspect your air filter, and if you notice dust and debris, replace it. But if it isn't dirty, then the problem lies elsewhere.

A plugged condensation drain

Part of your air conditioner's job is to remove humidity from the air in your home, and that moisture has to go somewhere. This is where the condensation drain comes into play - it directs accumulated water away from your HVAC unit - to a floor drain or the outside of your home, depending on your system's configuration. Over time, a condensation drain is susceptible to blockages such as mold or algae growth. When this happens, some systems will stop cooling, while others will shut down altogether.

If you think a clogged drain might be the issue, check it visually. If you see an obstruction, carefully clear it out with something small, such as the end of a screwdriver. If there's a clog in the drain hose, suction on the end of the line will usually remove it. A wet/dry vacuum is generally sufficient to clear the clog.

ProTip: After removing algae or a mold clog from your system's condensation drain, pour some diluted white vinegar into the condensation pan below the evaporator coils in the blower unit. Vinegar kills residual mold buildup and helps prevent future clogs.

Faulty electrical wiring

Nearly 85% of all HVAC repairs stem from electrical issues, so ensure that you visually inspect all of the wiring in and around your unit, especially the wiring connected to an outlet. Reset any tripped breakers. If one or more trip again, it's time to call an electrician.

Leaky ductwork

The ducts snaking through your home deliver cooled air where you need it most. If your ductwork is old, it may be separated or cracked. Inspect all duct seals and joints to ensure that your ductwork is efficiently distributing cold air throughout your house. If you notice anything amiss with your ductwork, it's time to call in one of our friendly HVAC experts to inspect and replace that leaky, old ductwork.

Outside condenser issues

If the AC unit outside your home (the condenser) is dirty or covered in debris, you'll need to tidy it up so it can effectively release any heat buildup. Otherwise, it'll struggle to cool your home. After you've removed any debris and overgrown plant life, the next step is to use a garden hose and gently spray the unit's exterior. Be very careful to avoid bending the aluminum fins inside the unit with water from the hose.

Know when it's time to call the HVAC pros

If you've done the DIY steps above and your AC system still isn't cooling, it could be due to a refrigerant (Freon or Puron) leak or a failing compressor unit. Refrigerant is federally regulated and may only be handled by a trained and certified HVAC professional, like our techs at Hey Neighbor. Unfortunately, a failing compressor usually means it's time for a new AC, especially if your central air conditioning system is ten years old or more.

AC issues needing professional attention

These problems must be addressed only by professionals, so make the call - don't attempt to fix them on your own!

A broken condenser fan. Your outside unit's fan dissipates the accumulated heat. Without a properly working fan, your AC system isn't able to cool your home.

Low refrigerant levels. Refrigerant is the liquid in your system that absorbs heat from your home and cools it. If you see ice on the refrigerant line or hear a hissing sound, you probably have a leak. If you notice either of these things, turn your AC off immediately and call the pros at Hey Neighbor. If you keep your system turned on, it could damage your compressor, or worse.

A faulty compressor. Your AC system's compressor is its heart. It moves refrigerant between your inside and outside units, and without that movement, you have no cooling. Unfortunately, compressor repair can be expensive, and it's best to have one of our expert techs in for a visit if you suspect that your compressor is the culprit.

Being northeast Ohio residents ourselves, we know how aggravating it can be to be without cool air, especially during Ohio's muggy summer months. If you're suffering due to your AC running but not cooling, and you can't find an easy solution like the ones described above, give the pros at Hey Neighbor a call - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we'll get your house back to cool in no time! Call us today at 877-247-7661 to schedule a quick and easy appointment!

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