Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

If your air conditioner is not cooling like it used to then you should turn the thermostat off and check a couple of things.  The reason why you want to do this is because you can cause damage to your compressor and may end up with a big block of ice on your evaporator coil and then you may have to wait a few hours before the ice melts to have the system diagnosed.  Here are some things you should do.

1.  Turn off the thermostat

2.  Check to see if you have a dirty filter.  If the filter is very dirty, then that can cause the evaporator temperature to go below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and even if it is at  31 degrees and running for a long time you will get ice on that coil.  If the filter is really dirty it will also not allow a lot of air through and may not blow out well.  If you can go to where your evaporator coil is, most of the time it is in the attic or a closet here in Texas, then you might be able to see if ice is coming out where the copper lines are.  If there is ice then you should wait a few hours for it to melt. If the filter is very dirty then after replacing it turn the fan switch to ON but leave the the air conditioner off and if you can feel the air blowing well then you most likely don’t have ice but if it isn’t coming out strong turn the fan switch back to AUTO and give the system a few hours so the ice can melt.  After waiting an hour turn the fan switch back to ON if it comes out strongly then most likely the ice melted and if not turn the fan switch back to OFF and give it more time.  If after a few hours it is still coming out weak then you may have a very dirty evaporator coil.

If the filter is clean it could just mean you are a bit low on refrigerant.

3.  Go check the condenser outside to see if it is running even though the thermostat is off and the inside unit is not running.  If the condenser is running at this time then shut it off at the breaker.  If you don’t the technician will be able to fix the problem, because it means the contactor welded itself in the closed position, but you will have a big block of ice on the evaporator coil and will have to wait for that to melt, which means at least a few hours of not running it.

If the system isn’t cooling well it could be the compressor isn’t running or the fan motor isn’t running while the compressor is running, but it would turn off when you shut the thermostat off so you wont see this problem if you shut the thermostat off and go outside..  If it is one of those issues, then it could mean the capacitor is bad (this is the problem in many cases). When it gets very hot capacitors are more prone to failure.

The reason you don’t want to have the system running when it isn’t cooling well, besides the ice issue, is part of the job of the refrigerant is to cool the compressor and if it is low then it isn’t cooling the compressor well and can cause damage to the compressor.  It may not fail the next day but it will lessen it’s life.

Published in: on July 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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