8 Common Air Conditioner Problems and How to Fix Them

Air conditioning replacement

Air conditioners are essential parts of our homes. The air conditioning helps us stay comfortable during the summer by cooling down the rooms. But they don’t always last forever. Sometimes, they start malfunctioning without warning. It is important to have some basic knowledge of how to fix an AC if it’s not cooling properly.

Maintenance is required from time to time for air conditioning systems. The good thing about these systems is that they are easily repairable. But sometimes, they fail unexpectedly. And if you try fixing them yourself, you might damage them further without having proper knowledge.

So, before calling a repairman, check out the possible causes of air conditioning system failure and learn how to fix them properly. 

Here are the eight common air conditioner problems and how to fix them.

1. Not Cooling Properly

The problem is that sometimes, even though your air conditioning unit seems to be working perfectly, it isn’t really cooling anything down. If you feel warm air instead of cold coming from your AC vents, you know there’s a problem. Check the following things first to see if the problem is related to anything:

  • Faulty thermostat
  • Broken fan motor
  • Tripped circuit breaker
  • Ice build-up
  • Low refrigerant levels or leaks

How to Fix:

The filters trap dirt and debris from entering the cooling system, keeping it running smoothly. Clogged ducts and reduced airflow can be prevented by regularly changing them.

When you purchase a new air conditioner, the manufacturer recommends replacing the filters every three months. It’s recommended to service your air conditioner once in 6 months.

2. Refrigerant or Water Leaks

It’s not uncommon for an air conditioning system to leak refrigerant or water. This can cause damage to the system and lead to costly repairs. If you notice any signs of leaks, you should take action immediately.

Condensate is the water that your air conditioner cools down and releases into the air, which is visible when you see moisture on the outside of your unit. Excessive condensation can mean there’s a leak in the system. There are some quick tests you can run on your a/c unit to find out where this leak is and then determine if it is a big problem or just a small leak that can be fixed easily.

How to Fix:

You must clear the blockage in your unit’s drain pipe if you are experiencing water leaks. A wet and dry vacuum can be used to remove any blockages, including dust and grime accumulation. 

You’ll have to swap out the condensate pump if that’s the problem. Do not attempt to repair a refrigerant leak on your own as doing so can be hazardous due to the toxicity and flammability of the chemicals used. For this, consult the professionals.

Related: The Top 5 Benefits of Regular HVAC AC Repair and Maintenance

3. Blocked or Damaged Filters and Coil

Air filters are designed to trap particles such as pollen, dust, and other airborne contaminants. They are usually washable and replaceable. Depending on the type of filter, the recommended replacement interval will vary.

Filters must be cleaned on a regular basis because if you don’t keep your coils and air filters clean, your compressor or fans could fail before they should.

A damaged filter or blocked coil will prevent the proper flow of cool air through the system. You should take steps to prevent either of these things from happening.

How to Fix:

The filters inside your indoor unit must be removed, which requires opening the front panel. To get rid of any extra dust or dirt that may have become trapped, give them a good brushing and shaking, as well as a short washing (if your filters are washable). 

The most effective way to remove clogged dust and other icky substances is to vacuum on low power with an attachment tool. Checking your air filter on a monthly basis is recommended. It will help ensure the smooth and efficient operation of your air conditioner.

4. Air Condition Unit Is Unplugged

Sometimes the wiring itself becomes the problem rather than the air conditioner. Ensure that the device is plugged in before anything else! 

While this could be a silly issue, occasionally the plug might come unplugged entirely. Before you start to get concerned, make sure you check the plugs first because they can easily become an unnoticed issue.

How to Fix:

Simply make sure that every plug is connected to the appropriate power sockets on your circuit (based on the AC model). Check out the manual, sometimes referred to as the Wiring Rules, for more details on how your air conditioning system is wired. This document outlines the prerequisites and instructions for installing electrical devices, such as air conditioners.

5. Excessive Ice Build-up

The trouble for many households with air conditioners is ice build-up. Ice may accumulate inside the device and slow down cooling if the air compressor belt suffers damage. Turn off the appliance and lift the cover to check for any ice buildup on or behind the filter to determine whether this is the case.

If you notice that your air conditioner has ice build-up in its coils, then you need to call an HVAC technician right away. Ice build-up will prevent the air conditioner from operating properly and could lead to more severe problems.

How to Fix:

An ice build-up on a cooling system can cause significant damage. If left untreated, it can result in expensive repairs or even total failure of your cooling system.

Ice buildup on your air conditioner cannot be removed with a magic trick. All you can do is wait until the ice has melted away. Based on the size of the ice buildup, this could take up to a day.

6. Thermostat Is Out of Place

The thermostat controls the amount of heat the system produces. If the thermostat isn’t working properly, the air conditioner won’t turn off when it gets too hot. In some cases, the thermostat has been damaged or disconnected.

If you notice that the temperature setting on your aircon is not where it should be, then it might be because the thermostat has issues. You should check the thermostat and the airflow to make sure they are set correctly.

Thermostat sensors, which are built into room air conditioners and are found beneath the control panel, are used to gauge how hot the air is being blown out by the device. If your thermostat isn’t blowing cold air, the sensor won’t work.

How to Fix:

A professional’s expertise is required to set it back in the proper position. Additionally, verify the thermostat controller’s status. The thermostat on your controller might need to be set to “cool” if it is set to “on,” otherwise, simply lower the temperature.

7. Blown Circuit Breakers & Fuses

When the air conditioner fuses or circuit breakers blow, it means that there is a problem with the electrical wiring inside the unit. Consequently, a professional should be contacted in order to diagnose and repair the problem.

The air conditioner frequently stops operating because of fuses and circuit breakers. When the air conditioner is shared with other equipment like refrigerators or microwaves in older homes, it is typical for the circuits to be overloaded. 

How to Fix:

Identify whether the circuit breaker has tripped or the fuse has blown. A blown fuse needs to be replaced immediately, while a tripped switch in your home’s meter box can simply be switched back into place.

8. Wrong Setting

It’s not uncommon for people to leave their air conditioner set at a temperature that is too high. This can cause damage to the compressor and other parts of the system. Additionally, it wastes energy and money when the unit is not in use.

How to Fix:

The important thing is to adjust your control to the proper temperature. Ensure the ‘cooling’ mode is set on your air conditioner’s controller if it is blowing air, but not cold. 

The word ‘cold’ or ‘cool’ usually appears with a snowflake symbol. You should make sure the unit detects the need for cooling if it’s already in this mode. 

During a hot day, lowering the temperature to 16°C will let you decide whether the air feels cool or not. You can then set it to an ideal temperature of 24°C. This also applies to heating; if during the winter, you use the air conditioner to heat your home yet it is blowing cool air, you will need to check the temperature.


Homeowners often encounter air conditioner problems. They require regular maintenance to ensure proper operation. The most common problems include a blocked filter or water leaking.

If you’ve recently had professionals assess your air conditioner’s health and they haven’t been able to fix the issues, perhaps you should consider buying a new unit. Most air conditioners are claimed by manufacturers to last around 9 to 10 years.

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