When you turn the thermostat down to 74, you expect your home to eventually reach that temperature. What if the temperature just hovers around, say 78 degrees? If the air conditioner is blowing cold air but your home is never reaching your chosen temperature, you have a problem. It may not be a difficult problem to fix, but nonetheless, you need to give your air conditioner some attention before matters get worse.
The following five problems are often to blame when an air conditioner fails to achieve your chosen temperature.
1. Dirty Filter
A dirty filter is the simplest explanation, but it's also common. Homeowners often forget to change their filters as often as recommended for the type of AC unit and filter used. A dirty filter causes resistance and impedes air circulation. As a result, the AC coils may hyper-cool and develop ice buildup, rather than circulating cooled air through your home. The air conditioner may also short-cycle, meaning it turns on and off frequently rather than continuing to cool until the thermostat setting is reached.
As soon as you notice your AC unit is struggling to achieve your desired temperature, change the filter and see if that makes a difference. Set a reminder in your phone so you remember to change your filter in the future.
2. Plants Around the Air Conditioner
Your outdoor condenser unit needs to draw air in from around itself in order to cool your home. If you have plants growing too close to your condenser, they will obstruct airflow and stop the AC unit from doing its job effectively.
Bushes and shrubs often become overgrown and impede airflow unbeknownst to homeowners. Trim back your bushes and clear away any other debris. Leave at least a few feet of space on all sides of the unit.
3. Coolant Leaks
Your air conditioner cycles a refrigerant liquid through its coils. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air, cooling the air before it is recirculated through your home. If some of this refrigerant leaks out of the coils, the air conditioner may still cool the air somewhat, but the unit may struggle to get the air as cool as it needs to be to reach your thermostat setting.
Some additional signs you have a coolant leak include ice buildup on your AC coils, increasing energy bills, and hissing noises coming from your air conditioner. An HVAC professional may recommend repairing the leak and topping off your coolant, or they may recommend replacing your air conditioner. The best solution depends on your air conditioner's age and the extent of the leak.
4. Thermostat Connectivity Issues
The problem might be with the thermostat, rather than with your air conditioner itself. If you have a battery-powered thermostat, try changing the batteries. Sometimes, thermostats start behaving strangely when the batteries run low. The wiring that comes into the back of the thermostat may also be loose, which is a problem your HVAC contractor can quickly solve.
5. An Undersized Unit
If nothing particularly seems to be amiss with your air conditioner or thermostat, the problem might be that your air conditioner is not large enough for your home. You may only notice problems achieving your desired temperature on the hottest days when your AC unit particularly struggles to keep up. This happens often in homes where the owners have added rooms but failed to install a larger air conditioner to meet the increased cooling demands.If your home is not getting as cool as you would like, start by checking the air filter and removing plants from around your outdoor condenser. If these measures do not fix the problem, call a reliable HVAC technician. Carter's Air Conditioning Service is here to help.