My AC is Blowing Hot Air...What is the Problem?

With summer’s sometimes scorching temperatures, your family depends on your AC for cool and dependable comfort. So what should you do if you notice that this vital home appliance is blowing warm air instead of the cool, conditioned air you so desperately need? The first thing is to NOT panic!

Understandably, you may be worried that you’re going to have to shell out a lot of money to get the problem taken care of, and there’s no telling when you’ll be able to get a trusted cooling repair provider to your home since most HVAC companies are booked solid this time of year. Fortunately, you may be able to fix this problem on your own.

Take a look at your thermostat

Before trying any of our other troubleshooting tips for your AC problem, check your thermostat. You’d be surprised how many times the “fix” to this common cooling issue is just to set the thermostat to “COOL.” If you have kiddos in your home, their curious hands may have accidentally switched the thermostat to “OFF,” or they may have set the temperature to a much less desirable number than what you’re used to.

If you’ve ensured that your thermostat has the correct settings, check the batteries. It may be time to replace them — especially if you’ve noticed that your home feels warmer than usual. This symptom could mean that your thermostat isn’t sending the right signals to your AC to tell it when to cycle on or off. Other common warning signs that your thermostat needs fresh batteries are if the display is dim or difficult to read, or if you have a touch screen device that isn’t as responsive as usual.

Check your circuit-breaker

After making sure that your thermostat is on the correct settings and has new or functioning batteries in place, check your circuit-breaker. Look to see if anything that could cut off the power to your air conditioner has been tripped. To restore power to your AC, flip the tripped breaker back to the ‘ON’ position. If you have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker, check to see if the fuse that provides power to your air conditioner is blown. If it is, you will need to replace it.

Many homeowners question why the breaker to their air conditioner has been tripped, or why the fuse for the unit has been blown. Your AC uses a substantial amount of electricity, and if the demand by the unit reaches a higher amount than usual, the power to the unit may be shut “off” as a safety precaution.

Have you replaced your air filter lately?

Another common cause of an AC blowing hot air is a dirty air filter. If you don’t replace the filter on a routine basis (once per month is recommended), then the dust, dirt, and other airborne contaminants caught by the filter could actually also lead to a dirty evaporator coil. When the coil is full of dust, this can restrict airflow to and from the unit. As a result, ice may form on the coils themselves, preventing the proper overall operation of your air conditioner.

To fix the problem, shut off your AC and install a new air filter that is the correct size and MERV-rating for your cooling system’s needs. Before powering the unit back on, wait for the ice on your evaporator coils to thaw. Once the ice is no longer visible on the coils, turn the power back on for your AC. This should take care of the issue and you’ll feel cool air blowing from your air conditioner once again. Also, make a habit of changing your air filter on a regular basis going forward!

Is there clearance around your outdoor unit?

After checking your thermostat, circuit breaker/fuse box, and evaporator coils, the next troubleshooting tip is to look at the condenser — the outdoor part of your air conditioning system. If you have bushes, tree limbs, bikes, lawnmowers, etc. less than two feet away from the unit, it can restrict air flow to and from the system.

To take care of the issue, shut off power to your AC and remove anything that’s too close to the condenser. Once you’ve finished trimming bushes or tree limbs and putting outdoor items into a storage shed or the garage, turn on the power to the system — you should notice a change in your indoor air temperature fairly quickly.

Low refrigerant

Not resolved yet? Your unit may be low on refrigerant. This is something that will need to be handled by a cooling professional. A repair technician should check for refrigerant leaks in your system and fix them before adding more.

Don’t forget!

To ensure the efficient operation of your family’s air conditioner all season long, schedule an annual maintenance appointment. That’s when a technician will thoroughly check and clean all working components in your system. He or she will make sure that everything is working as it should, and they can also detect problems early and take care of them before they result in a breakdown.

At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer an affordable Cooling Maintenance Plan. When you’re enrolled, you’re entitled to an air conditioner maintenance appointment each year. To see if the plan is available in your area, visit us online and enter your ZIP code. Available plans and pricing specific to your location will appear. Have questions or concerns? Feel free to chat with a customer service representative by calling us or clicking the Click to Chat tab on the right side of the page.