Jul 10

Why Is My AC Compressor Working But Not Cooling?

image of a homeowner feeling hot due to air conditioner that is blowing warm air

Excessive heat can drain our energy, making even the simplest tasks challenging. Air conditioners are our go-to solution for escaping the heat and finding comfort during scorching summer days. However, there are instances when these units consume power without effectively cooling our homes. This leaves us puzzled and searching for solutions. Fortunately, with expert assistance, air conditioning systems can be swiftly restored to optimal functionality. This article aims to address a common question, “Why is the AC compressor working but not cooling?”. By exploring this phenomenon, we can uncover the underlying causes and find suitable remedies to ensure a refreshing indoor environment.

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Why Is My AC Compressor Working But Not Cooling?

Air conditioning systems have multiple components collaborating to deliver the desired cooling effects. When one of these components fails or malfunctions, it can trigger a chain reaction, resulting in various issues. Identifying the underlying cause of failure to resolve these problems is crucial. Homeowners can observe their cooling system for valuable clues to aid the diagnostic process. 

If you don’t have the time, training, or expertise, seeking the assistance of a professional HVAC technician is always a reliable option. Certified air conditioning technicians leverage their knowledge and experience to provide effective, long-term solutions. Now, let’s delve into some common causes of air conditioning problems.

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Blocked Air Conditioner Condenser

Within a central air conditioning system, an outdoor condenser unit features a sizable coil. This coil comprises closely spaced, thin metal fins. During regular operation, condenser fans draw air into the outdoor unit, allowing it to pass through the coil and remove heat from the home. However, blades of grass, dirt, and other debris can become trapped between the fins, impeding this heat removal process. 

A dirty air conditioner coil exhibits reduced energy efficiency, leading to inadequate cool air flow from the registers. To address this issue, clean the coil using a brush and vacuum. If the problem persists, call an HVAC expert for further assistance. It is worth noting that scheduling an annual air conditioner tune-up includes a comprehensive system cleaning, which promotes efficient and optimal operation.

Related Article: Tell-Tale Signs of An Overcharged Air Conditioner

Incorrect Thermostat Setup

image of a homeowner looking at thermostat due to air conditoner not cooling

Rather than assuming a component failure, consider the possibility that the air conditioning system is operating normally. Sometimes, the issue can be attributed to incorrect settings. 

To troubleshoot this, start by examining the thermostat settings. Make sure that they are correctly configured. Adjust the temperature settings by either changing the numbers or moving the dial to a cooler setting. Give the system a few minutes to respond and see if there is any improvement. Someone may have altered the settings while you were away. If you notice a drop in temperature and the space becomes cooler, you have successfully resolved the problem. 

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Related Article: Smoke Coming From Vents When AC Is On

Dirty HVAC Air Filter

image of a dirty air filter for home hvac system

The air filter in an air conditioner plays a vital role in maintaining excellent indoor air quality. It allows air to pass through the cooling system while preventing the entry of dirt, pollutants, allergens, and pathogens. By capturing these particles, the filter keeps the system’s components clean, enabling them to operate more efficiently and have a longer lifespan. 

However, over time, the accumulated dirt on the filter can restrict airflow and hinder the system’s efficiency. As a result, the air conditioner may struggle to cool the home effectively. Homeowners should consider checking if replacing the HVAC filter resolves the issue. This is a relatively inexpensive and simple task that can be done to improve the system’s performance.

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Related Article: Why Is My Air Conditioner Running In Short Bursts?

Frozen AC Evaporator Coil

The indoor cooling system unit contains an essential component called the evaporator coil. This coil plays a crucial role in the cooling process by allowing warm indoor air to pass through, transferring heat to the refrigerant, and reducing humidity in the environment. As a result, cooler air is distributed indoors, enhancing the comfort of the occupants. 

However, frozen evaporator coils disrupt this mechanism, preventing the air conditioner from generating cold air effectively. Several indicators can help identify this issue, including frost on the copper refrigerant tubing of the air conditioner, increased energy bills, frost on the outdoor unit, excessive condensate drainage, and insufficient cooling. 

Attempting DIY solutions to address frozen evaporator coils can be challenging due to limited accessibility. Instead, seek the assistance of an HVAC professional with the necessary expertise to diagnose and resolve the problem effectively.

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Air Conditioner Refrigerant Leak

image of hvac contractor performing refrigerant refill on air conditioner

The refrigerant in an air conditioner is a vital substance that circulates throughout the system, traveling from the outdoor to the indoor unit and back. Along this journey, it undergoes state changes from liquid to gas while also experiencing fluctuations in temperature as it absorbs heat indoors and releases it outdoors. This chemical is crucial for the cooling process, and it is essential to maintain an adequate amount of refrigerant within the system. 

Over time, leaks can develop along the tubing, gradually reducing the refrigerant level. This diminishes the air conditioner’s ability to cool the home effectively and can even strain the system, potentially causing compressor failure. To address this issue, contact an HVAC contractor to inspect the refrigerant level and add more if necessary. This task is typically performed during an air conditioner inspection to ensure optimal performance.

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Undersized Air Conditioning Unit

Each air conditioning system possesses a specific cooling capacity that should align with the requirements of your home. Installing an air conditioner that is appropriately sized for your space is crucial. If an undersized air conditioner is chosen, it may struggle to provide sufficient cooling, particularly during the peak of summer when temperatures are at their highest, and the demand on the system is at its maximum. 

To assess the adequacy of your AC unit, you can check the rating located at the back and use general guidelines to estimate its suitability. However, a better approach would be to consult an HVAC professional who can perform scientific load calculations. Ideally, this should have been conducted by your air conditioner installation company during the initial installation process to ensure proper sizing. Seeking professional assistance will help determine if your current air conditioner is appropriately sized for your home’s cooling needs.

Related Article: 5 Most Common Thermostat Problems Impacting Your Comfort

Leaky HVAC Ducts

The ducts play a crucial role in distributing the conditioned air to different rooms in the house. However, leaks along these pathways can result in uneven cooling, where certain rooms struggle to reach the desired temperature while others remain adequately cooled. These leaks can allow cold air to escape, diminishing the effectiveness of the cooling process. Warm air may infiltrate the ducts if they pass through warmer spaces such as the attic, leading to the discharge of warm air instead of cold air from the vents. As a result, room temperatures may rise rather than decrease as desired. 

Repairing these leaks can be challenging due to the invisible nature of air, requiring specialized techniques to locate and seal all the leaks effectively. Seek the assistance of an experienced HVAC technician who can skillfully address these issues and ensure proper duct sealing to restore optimal cooling performance throughout your home.

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Dirty Or Blocked Cooling Registers 

Over time, HVAC registers can accumulate dirt and debris, impeding the airflow. Homeowners need to clean these registers to avoid potential issues regularly. Placing furniture or other objects can block the airflow from the registers, causing restricted airflow throughout the space. You can immediately improve the airflow by rearranging furniture and ensuring unobstructed access to the registers. Vacuuming the registers to remove dirt and clean the surfaces can also help enhance the airflow. However, not all registers are dishwasher safe, so check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting to wash them in the dishwasher.

Related Article: How to Choose an Air Filter When You Have a Pet

Excessive Heat From The Sun

homeowner closing curtain to block the sun

During the summer, the sun’s intensity can make maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature challenging. Make sure you have an appropriately-sized and powerful air conditioner to counteract the heat effectively. It is also essential to check if sunlight is directly hitting the thermostat, as this can cause the thermostat’s sensors to inaccurately detect higher temperatures than actual, leading to unnecessary strain on the system. To prevent this, draw window shades or use blinds to block out the sunlight and reduce the overall heat load in your home, allowing the air conditioner to work more efficiently.

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Poor HVAC Unit Maintenance

To ensure optimal performance, air conditioners require regular maintenance and care. While homeowners can easily handle tasks like exterior cleaning and filter replacement, more complex maintenance tasks should be entrusted to trained HVAC technicians. By scheduling a professional system tune-up once or twice a year, these experts can thoroughly inspect your air conditioner, identify any potential issues, and address them before they worsen. This proactive approach to maintenance helps prevent costly repairs down the line and ensures that your air conditioner continues to operate efficiently.

Related Article: Top 6 Benefits Of Getting An Annual Air Conditioner Tune-Up

Exterior Air Conditioner Fan Motor Issues

The outdoor unit of an AC system is equipped with a fan motor that plays a crucial role in expelling heat from your home. If the fan motor encounters issues or malfunctions, it can lead to overheating of the compressor. The system may shut down abruptly as a protective measure to prevent further damage. Address this problem promptly to avoid exacerbating the situation. Seek the assistance of HVAC professionals because they have the technical expertise and training to diagnose and resolve fan motor issues, ensuring the proper functioning of your air conditioning system.

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Ensuring a comfortable and cool home environment is a priority for everyone. While air conditioners are designed to keep us cool, issues like insufficient cooling can arise. The aforementioned checklist can assist you in the preliminary assessment of the problem. Schedule annual air conditioner tune-ups to proactively prevent such cooling issues from occurring. If your troubleshooting efforts yield no results, seek the help of HVAC technicians for prompt and effective resolution. These professionals will accurately diagnose the problem, offer long-lasting solutions, and provide valuable advice at a fair price.

Related Article: Why Is HVAC Airflow So Important For My Home?

Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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At Skylands Energy Service, we offer top-notch heating and cooling services across multiple counties in New Jersey, including Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Warren. Our team comprises highly skilled and certified technicians who provide exceptional HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. With their extensive knowledge, training, and experience, you can trust that your HVAC system will receive the proper care.

Skylands Energy Service is committed to delivering the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our maintenance services are designed to enhance comfort, improve energy efficiency, safety, and reduce heating and cooling expenses. Whether you require HVAC repairs or a replacement system, we can recommend the best options that suit your home and budget. We stand behind our HVAC work and offer a satisfaction guarantee.

To schedule a maintenance or service appointment, contact Skylands Energy Service today. We also offer free, in-home estimates to help make smart decisions about your HVAC needs.

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