Troubleshooting Breakdowns in Air Conditioning Systems

Air conditioning systems keep our homes cool, but sometimes they break down. Breakdowns happen for many reasons like dirty filters or broken parts. Dirty HVAC filters can cause problems in the cooling process.

If a thermostat does not work right, it may also lead to breakdowns. Sometimes the issue is with the evaporator coil inside your AC unit.

The condenser coils outside can get dirty too. This makes your energy bills go up because your system has to work harder. Refrigerant leaks make it hard for your AC to cool down your house and need fixing by experts fast.

Water can leak if the drainage lines get blocked, and that’s bad for both air conditioners and furnaces. Capacitors help start motors in your system; when these go wrong, everything might stop working well.

Having an expert check your AC regularly helps stop breaks before they happen and makes things last longer. Logan Services offers help with fixing and looking after HVAC systems that you can reach online or by phone.

Now let’s find out how to spot common air conditioner troubles and fix them!

Common Causes of Air Conditioning System Breakdowns

Understanding the root causes of malfunctions in your air conditioning system is crucial for prompt and effective repairs. A myriad of issues, ranging from simple filter blockages to complex electrical failures, can disrupt the comfort and efficiency of your climate control.

Dirty HVAC Filter

A dirty air filter in your HVAC system blocks airflow and makes the unit work harder. This can cause overheating and lead to a breakdown. Over time, dust and dirt clog the filter, reducing indoor air quality.

Your energy bills may go up as your system strains to push air through.

It’s easy to fix this problem: just replace or clean the air filters regularly. This simple step keeps your air conditioning unit running smoothly. It also improves energy efficiency and keeps utility bills lower.

Remember, a clean filter is key for a healthy heating and cooling system.

Thermostat Malfunction

Moving on from filter issues, a faulty thermostat can cause your air conditioning system to act up. It’s the brain of your HVAC system, telling it when to turn on and off. If it breaks down, your air conditioner might not start at all or could run non-stop.

Simple problems like dead batteries in a thermostat are easy to fix; just replace them. However, if the issue is with the wiring or the thermostat sensor itself, you might need help from an expert.

Check if your thermostat is set correctly before calling for help. Make sure it’s switched to ‘cool’ mode and that the temperature setting is lower than room temperature. If these settings are correct but there’s still trouble, your thermostat may be misreading temperatures or losing connection with other parts of your HVAC system.

Regular maintenance by hvac technicians can prevent such malfunctions and save energy consumption in your home’s heating and air conditioning systems.

Evaporator Coil Issues

Dust and dirt can build up on your air conditioner’s evaporator coil. This coil needs to stay clean to absorb heat well. If it gets dirty, your AC won’t cool the house properly. Mold might grow there too, making the air in your home not good to breathe.

A technician should check and clean the coil if it has a lot of dirt on it. Regular cleaning stops bigger problems with your AC system later on. Next, let’s look at why keeping condenser coils clean is crucial for your AC to work right.

Dirty AC Condenser Coils

Moving from the evaporator coil, another culprit for AC troubles is the condenser coils. Air conditioning units need clean condenser coils to get rid of heat. If these coils are dirty, they can’t do their job well.

This makes your AC work harder and leads to higher bills and poor cooling.

Dirt on the condenser coils blocks air flow and traps heat. To avoid this, keep your unit free from debris like leaves and dirt. Regular cleaning helps, but sometimes chemicals are needed for tough buildup.

An HVAC technician can do a deep clean if necessary. Keeping these coils clean is key to an efficient system and lower energy costs.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are a serious problem for air conditioners. They can cause your system to stop cooling properly. If you suspect a leak, the air around your AC might feel warm instead of cool.

Your energy bills could also go up because the system has to work harder.

A professional should fix refrigerant leaks. Leak testing is key to finding where the problem is. An expert HVAC technician knows how to do this safely and repair it correctly. Trying to fix leaks on your own can be dangerous and might make things worse.

It’s best to call in an expert if you think there’s a leak in your system.

Clogged Drainage Line

A clogged drainage line in your air conditioning system can cause big problems. Dirt and algae build up in the condensate drain over time. This stops water from flowing out of your AC system.

Water that can’t escape may lead to leaks inside your house. It might damage walls, floors or even parts of your AC like the furnace.

To prevent a blocked drain line, check and clean it regularly. You should clear out any dirt or mildew to stop water leakage. Watch for signs of trouble like a musty smell or damp patches near the unit.

These could be early warnings of a blockage forming in the drainage line. Regular maintenance keeps everything running smoothly and extends the life of your HVAC systems.

Bad Capacitor

After fixing a clogged drainage line, it’s smart to check the capacitor. This is an electrical component in air conditioners that helps start and run the fan motors and compressor.

Capacitors store energy and give a boost to these motors during startup. If your AC is running inefficiently or not at all, the culprit might be a bad capacitor.

A failing capacitor may lead to symptoms like humming noises from the condenser unit, the air conditioner taking too long to start, or it might stop working completely. To keep your cooling system in top shape, get a qualified electrician to inspect your AC’s capacitors regularly.

This can help you avoid electric control failure and maintain consistent comfort levels through heat and humidity.

Burnt Out or Pitted Contactor

Your AC might stop working if the contactor burns out or gets pitted. This small part is critical because it connects electricity to the compressor and fan motor. Think of it as a bridge for power.

If this bridge breaks down, your system won’t get the voltage it needs to run smoothly. A burnt contactor often happens after lots of use over time. It’s a sign that your AC has been working hard.

Check for any dark marks or wear on the contactor. These are signs you may need a new one. Replacing a bad contactor will help restore proper power flow to your air conditioning unit, making sure cool air keeps coming through your vents on those hot days.

Keep an eye out for issues with cooling performance and listen for strange sounds from your AC unit – these could be clues pointing toward a problematic contactor in need of attention.

Troubleshooting: Common Problems and Solutions

Delving into the realm of troubleshooting, this section will guide you through a series of prevalent issues faced by air conditioning systems and provide effective solutions. Empower yourself with practical steps to resolve everything from persistent water leaks to handling a damaged compressor, ensuring your environment remains comfortably cool.

Water Leak (Indoors and Outdoors)

Water leaks from air conditioners can cause real headaches. They often signal trouble in the system and need quick action to prevent damage.

  1. Check for clogs in the drainage pipe. Blockages force water back into the house or pool around the unit.
  2. Inspect the condensate pan for cracks or holes that could let water escape.
  3. Make sure that the air filters are clean. Dirty air filters block airflow, leading to frozen evaporator coils that melt and drip water.
  4. Look at your thermostat settings. An incorrect temperature can make your AC work too hard and create excess condensation.
  5. Examine the refrigerant levels, as low refrigerant can lower pressure, causing coils to freeze and then leak water when they thaw.
  6. Ensure proper installation of room air conditioners to avoid tilting, which can lead to indoor leaks.
  7. For central air conditioning systems, check ductwork connections for any signs of moisture that may indicate a leak.

AC Refrigerant Leak

An AC refrigerant leak can lead to a warm house and high humidity. It’s crucial to fix leaks for your air conditioner to work well.

  • Look for signs of a leak, like hissing noises or ice on the compressor.
  • Check the AC lines for any visible damage or wear.
  • Use soap bubbles on the pipes; bubbles can show where the leak is.
  • Turn off the system right away if you spot a leak.
  • Keep windows open to let out any trapped gases until help arrives.
  • Call an HVAC expert to test for leaks and fix them safely.
  • After repairs, ask your technician to check for proper heat exchange function.
  • Prevent future problems by scheduling regular maintenance checks.

Damaged Compressor

A damaged compressor often means big trouble for your air conditioner. The compressor is like the heart of the system, pushing refrigerant through the cooling cycle.

  • Check for power problems first. Look at circuit breakers and fuses to make sure there’s electricity.
  • Listen for unusual noises coming from the compressor unit. Buzzing or rattling may suggest damage or loose parts.
  • Feel if the outside unit is hotter than usual, which can indicate overheating.
  • Notice if your AC struggles to cool down the room. This could mean the compressor isn’t working right.
  • Examine wires and electrical components near the compressor for signs of wear or damage.
  • Keep an eye out for any errors on your thermostat display that relate to compressor function.
  • Observe if your energy bills are going up without a clear reason – it might be due to a failing compressor working harder than normal.
  • Regularly clean around the outdoor unit to prevent airflow blockages that can strain the compressor.
  • Replace thermostat batteries often so that all controls run smoothly and protect the compressor from irregular cycles.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

A frozen evaporator coil can stop your central air conditioner from cooling your home. It happens when the coil gets too cold and ice forms on it.

  • Check the airflow: Make sure nothing blocks the air ducts. Good airflow keeps the coil at the right temperature.
  • Look at the filter: A dirty HVAC filter can reduce airflow. Replace it with a clean one every few months to prevent freezing.
  • Inspect for leaks: Refrigerant leaks can make coils too cold. If you see ice, call a technician to fix any leaks and refill the refrigerant.
  • Keep vents open: Closed vents hurt airflow and may lead to ice forming on coils. Open all vents in your house for better air movement.
  • Set thermostat controls correctly: An incorrect setting on your smart thermostat could cause freezing. Use the recommended settings for energy saving and comfort.
  • Regular maintenance matters: Have a professional service your central air conditioner annually. They check parts like coils to prevent issues.


Troubleshooting your air conditioning system helps keep your home cool and comfy. Regular checks can spot dirty filters, low refrigerant, or drainage problems early on. Remember to clean coils and replace parts when needed to avoid big issues.

Don’t wait for a total breakdown; tackle AC troubles as they arise to save time and money. For expert help, reach out to HVAC technicians who can get your system running smoothly again.

Should you require further insight, explore the pros and cons of opting for ducted air conditioning here.


1. What should I check if my central air conditioning isn’t cooling properly?

First, ensure the thermostat is set correctly and has working battery power. Then, check for any drainage problems that might be affecting your A/C unit.

2. Why is my air conditioner making strange noises?

Strange noises from an air-conditioned system often point to a mechanical issue within the heat pump or other components of the HVAC system.

3. Can I fix common AC issues by myself?

Some AC problems like replacing filters or cleaning vents can be done on your own. However, for more complex issues with acs, it’s best to call a professional.

4. How do I know when my air conditioning needs servicing?

Regular checks are important. If you notice it’s not as cool as usual or there are odd sounds coming from the system, it may need a professional look-over.

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