Why does your AC seem to act up on the hottest days when you need it the most?
It’s not because your AC has a personal vendetta against you (although, getting regular maintenance checks can help ensure your AC unit not give you the “cold shoulder” as often). ACs often have issues on the hottest days because they’re working overtime. And on those days if there are any problems with your system, they’ll most likely worsen.
ACs are complex units so there are actually a number of reasons they could be running but not cooling your home. We’re going to take a look at some of the simpler solutions that you can do on your own, then we’ll talk about signs that you need to call for some back up.
This happens more often than you think. Oftentimes the “problem” with your AC has nothing to do with the unit, it’s the thermostat setting that needs to be addressed. Before you do anything else, make sure your thermostat is set to “Cool” and the fan is set to “Auto.” You can be on the extra safe side and turn your thermostat off then turn it to Cool again. If this solves the problem, congratulations! If not, move on to the next DIY step.
Your HVAC unit has a filter that traps dirt, dust and other particles before they enter the unit and get blown throughout your house. If your filter is clogged, the air can’t move through freely. First, turn off your system. Then inspect your filter to see if it’s extra dirty. You should also check to ensure that you have the right filter for your unit. This includes the right size and MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). Contact the manufacturer if you’re not sure what filter your system needs.
Your outside unit could be another culprit for AC issues. Physically inspect your unit to see if grass, leaves or other debris are clogging the coils. If you see debris, first turn off the unit, then gently clear away debris by hand. You can also gently vacuum with a brush attachment and spray with a hose using very light pressure. Be very cautious here, both for your own safety and for the delicate coils, fins and other moving pieces of the unit.
A lot of AC units run on two separate circuit breakers, one for the outside unit and one for the inside unit. If this is the case for you, the outside unit could be tripped while the inside unit is still running but only blowing warm air. Check the circuit breaker to see if it’s tripped. If it is, simply reset it. But if it continues to trip, don’t attempt to reset it again. This could be a sign you have bigger electrical issues.
When you need to call for help
If you have tried all of the above and your AC is still not cooling your house, it’s time to call in the professionals. There could be a refrigerant leak, a bad compressor, leaky ductwork, a damaged heat pump, frozen evaporator coils or your AC may be undersized for your home.
These aren’t DIY fixes, unfortunately. But no need to stress, we’ve got you covered!
Stay cool this summer…