Common Air Conditioner Problems And How To Fix Them: A Detailed Guide

Air conditioners (ACs) are a marvel of modern engineering, providing a blissful oasis of cool air in the heat of summer. Aside from comfortable temperatures, they can help reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses like dehydration and heat stroke. They can also help you stay productive during hot days by making it much easier to concentrate.

However, like all mechanical devices, your AC can occasionally run into issues. These issues can range from minor annoyances to serious mechanical failures. Because of this, it’s crucial for homeowners to understand AC problems.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through some of the most common air conditioner issues and offer advice on fixing them. Read on to learn more.

The Fan Is Not Working Properly

Among various possible malfunctions, one that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late is when the air conditioner fan is not working. This issue can lead to several uncomfortable and inconvenient situations. Generally, the fan is a critical component in the AC system. It blows air, cooled within the unit, throughout the home. If the fan ceases to operate, the AC might continue to cool the air. However, without circulation, this cool air will not be efficiently distributed. As a result, the indoors can become warm and stuffy.

To troubleshoot a non-working fan, you should keep the following steps in mind:

  • Ensure the thermostat is set to a temperature below room temperature and that the fan setting is set to “Auto.”
  • Then, check the air filter. If the filter is dirty, it’ll restrict airflow and prevent the fan from spinning properly. As such, remove the filter and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions or replace it with a new one.
  • If the filter is clean, the next thing to check is the circuit breaker. It may have tripped, which prevents the fan from getting power. So, go to your breaker box and flip it back to the “on” position to function properly.
  • Then, visually inspect the fan for any apparent signs of damage. If the fan blades don’t spin freely when nudged, this indicates a problem with the motor or the capacitor. To check the capacitor, you’ll need a multimeter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test the capacitor. If the capacitor is faulty, it’ll need to be replaced. The motor should also be replaced if it’s defective.

These are some ways to address a non-working AC fan. However, it’s important to note that while DIY fixes can resolve some of these issues, most will likely require the expertise of a professional HVAC technician. Their specialization in air conditioner repairs allows them to do the job more efficiently and safely.

Refrigerant Is Leaking

A refrigerant leak is another common problem with AC systems. The refrigerant is a crucial substance that absorbs heat from the indoor air and releases it outside, cooling your home. If the refrigerant starts to leak, the AC can’t cool the air effectively. Some symptoms of a refrigerant leak include a sudden drop in cooling efficiency, ice build-up on the evaporator coils, and hissing or bubbling noise from the unit.

To fix this, the following steps need to be performed:

  • First, find the leak by looking for oily residue around the refrigerant line, evaporator coils, or other parts of the system. A soap and water solution can be used to determine the leak. If bubbles form, this indicates the site of the leak.
  • Once identified, the leak should be repaired. If you need a temporary solution, you can use a refrigerant leak sealant or tape to seal the leak. However, if you want a permanent way to resolve the problem, it’s best to call a certified professional. In this case, the technician may employ some repair methods, such as soldering or brazing the copper tubing or replacing a damaged component.

Considering these things, you can address refrigerant leaks right away to prevent more extensive damage to your AC system.

The Air Conditioner Is Running On And Off

Another common issue is an AC that constantly runs or cycles on and off rapidly. The causes could include an incorrectly sized system (either too big or too small for the space it’s cooling), a malfunctioning thermostat, clogged coils, or low refrigerant levels.

To address this problem, you may need to do the following:

  • Adjust the thermostat settings or recalibrate it.
  • Clean the condenser coils every year or two.

However, if the problem persists, a professional may have to check for refrigerant leaks or evaluate if the system’s size is appropriate for the space.

Remember, it’s essential to correct this issue promptly, as a constantly cycling air conditioner can lead to increased wear and tear on the system, resulting in its reduced lifespan.

Poor Air Flow

Many AC users frequently face the problem of poor airflow. Factors such as a dirty filter, obstructed return air ducts, or blocked vents could be responsible. This can lead to increased energy bills and potential system damage.

To fix poor airflow, some troubleshooting steps should be kept in mind. These include:

  • Clean or replace the filter at least once every three months or more often if the system is used heavily.
  • Clean the condenser coils every year or two.
  • Ensure all vents and ducts are clear of any obstruction, such as furniture or curtains.

However, consulting an HVAC professional is recommended for more complex issues like damaged ductwork.


Like all essential home appliances, the air conditioning system is crucial to a family’s comfort, health, and safety. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your AC for a long time, remember the information mentioned above to identify some common problems and how to fix them. By quickly recognizing and addressing these issues, you can save time and money and prevent minor issues from escalating into major system failures.