Most people look forward to summer. The sun stays up later, the flowers are blooming, and the temperature is warm. While most people enjoy outdoor activities during the summer months, sometimes the humidity and heat are too much. Sensitive groups like infants and the elderly are susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke, and their need for a comfortable, cool place to live during the hot summer heat is paramount. Even if a person only wants a cool place to relax to escape the blazing sun at the end of the day, air conditioning has become a necessity for many homeowners. So when they find that their air conditioner is not cooling their house correctly, they become concerned about what is happening with their unit. 

Some Possible Issues

Many things could be causing the issue, so becoming familiar with the A/C unit and common reasons for malfunctions can help homeowners get their homes cooler faster and more cost-effectively. Below is an overview of the things that may cause an A/C to blow out warm air and what can be done about it. 

A Lack of Power

Occasionally, the outdoor unit can lose power while the indoor unit does not. If there was a recent storm or another electrical issue that resulted in a power surge, it could cause the breaker to trip, resulting in a loss of power. Fortunately, this is the circuit breaker protecting the unit and is relatively easy to fix.

Homeowners should check the electrical box for a tripped breaker. They should reset the breaker and turn the A/C unit back on. That should fix the issue, but if they find it still doesn’t turn on, then the system sustained more damage than previously thought. In this case, it is necessary to call a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) company to assess the damage.

The Wrong Thermostat Setting

As simple as it may seem, an incorrect thermostat setting is often the cause of an air conditioner blowing out warm air. Summer is a busy time for most people, and sometimes the summer heat takes them by surprise. One week a person may have felt like it was early spring with cold, wet, blustery weather, and the next week they are reaching for their summer clothes. In these situations, it’s easy to overlook the small details involved in transitioning a house from winter heat to summer air conditioning. 

The first step in handling a malfunctioning air conditioner is to check if the thermostat is set to “heat” or “cool.” Also, the unit should be set to “auto” rather than “on.” The “on” setting makes the air conditioner blowers run continuously, even if the unit is not producing cold air. This makes it seem as if the air conditioner is blowing out warm air when actually, it’s just on the wrong setting.

A Frozen Evaporator Coil

For those who have checked their thermostat and found that it is still blowing warm air, there may be another issue. Though it may seem counterintuitive, a frozen evaporator coil actually impedes the flow of cool air. When this happens, the running motor blows warm air into the home. The main reason that evaporator coils freeze is an air filter clogged with dust and debris.

Air filters need to be changed regularly, usually every 30-60 days. One can tell if the air filter needs to be replaced by holding it up the light and checking to see if any beams pass through the filter. If there is barely any light passing through, then the filter should be replaced.

There are a few things one can do to try to fix frozen evaporator coils. They should turn the A/C unit off and change the filter. The A/C should remain off until enough time has passed that the coils can thaw. If the A/C still does not work after turning it back on, the homeowner should turn it off again and call an HVAC professional to check for a refrigerant leak immediately. 

A Clogged Unit

For homeowners with an outdoor air conditioning unit, it is crucial to perform regular maintenance to be sure it isn’t clogged with dirt and debris. An outdoor air conditioning unit absorbs heat from the inside of the house. After this heat is removed, the hot air is sent over to the outdoor air conditioning unit. There, a condenser fan blows the air over outdoor coils and releases that heat outdoors.

When the outdoor unit is clogged, airflow is interrupted, and it takes much longer for the outdoor coils to release the heat. This situation causes the air being blown indoors to come out warmer. This costs homeowners money in lost energy in addition to their home not being cool. To prevent this, homeowners can schedule a time for an HVAC tech to perform maintenance on their unit. Additionally, they should make sure the area around the unit is clear of plants and other things that might clog the unit.

The Refrigerant is Low

More often than not, the reason for an A/C that is blowing warm air is the refrigerant is low. Refrigerant, usually freon, works to cool a home by changing from liquid to gas and back again. It absorbs the heat inside and uses the process of switching from gas to liquid to release heat outside. The refrigerant level should remain constant unless there is a leak present.

 Since refrigerant is a dangerous chemical, homeowners must this taken care of by a qualified HVAC technician, unless they have training in how to fix it themselves. Homeowners should schedule regular A/C tune-ups to be performed by a trained HVAC technician before the warm weather returns.

One can tell a leak is present if, in addition to the A/C blowing warm air, they notice a hissing sound, or the refrigerant line has ice on it. In this case, it is critical to call an HVAC technician immediately, as prolonged leaks can result in damage to the entire unit. 

A Leak in the Air Duct

The air duct system of an air conditioning unit carries cold air from the unit to the registers in the room that is being cooled. This system needs to be completely sealed for it to work correctly. The constant heating and cooling involved in the air conditioning process mean the parts involved are continually expanding and contracting. This movement often results in small cracks or holes in the duct system, resulting in a loss of efficiency.

One can tell if their air ducts are leaking a few different ways, including the following:

High Utility Bills

When there are holes present in the duct system, cold air can be blown into unintended areas, such as the walls around the house, the attic, or the basement. The result is the air conditioner unit working extra to cool the home to the settings dictated by the thermostat. When this happens, homeowners will often notice a significant spike in their electric bill.

Uneven Cooling

When there are holes present in the duct system, cold air can be blown into unintended areas, such as the walls around the house, the attic, or the basement. The result is the air conditioner unit working extra to cool the home to the settings dictated by the thermostat. When this happens, homeowners will often notice a significant spike in their electric bill.

Excess Dust in the Home

If there is a lot of dust present in the home in spite of consistent cleaning efforts, it may be a sign of a leak in the ducts. When the air conditioner on while a duct leak is present, the system will suck up dust and dirt from the areas around the duct and blast it into one’s home. The increased dust not only makes one’s home look dirty, but it can cause a person to have allergy attacks.  

How to Find a Quality HVAC Company

Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent major A/C malfunctions. No matter what the state of one’s air conditioner is, homeowners need to find quality HVAC services to repair and maintain their unit. A quick search for “AC repair near me” can yield an overwhelming number of results. To help widdle down the list, here are a few tips:

Ask for Recommendations

The best place to start when searching for an HVAC company is asking one’s family and friends. A recommendation from someone that the homeowner trusts if often more useful than any other source of information. This way, they can get a first-hand testimonial that tells them how professional and fast a company is, as well as what they may cost. 

Check Reviews

The digital age has made it incredibly easy to research a company before choosing who to call. Most businesses have at least one forum on which they receive public reviews, such as through Google. Checking these reviews gives an at-a-glance picture of the quality of service a homeowner can expect. Additionally, seeing if the HVAC company quickly and professionally responds to any negative reviews shows them how well they handle customer service.

Check Licensing and Memberships

Licensed HVAC technicians are required to undergo specialized training. Most companies display their state licensure on their website, which makes this a natural step. Homeowners may also verify whether a business holds other certifications, such as North American Technician Excellence, or if they are a member of different industry associations such as the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. These associations hold their members to even higher standards than what is necessary to obtain an HVAC license. 

Check the Business History

Sometimes it may seem as though businesses pop up quickly and close down just as fast. No one wants to be stuck with shoddy work because the company that performed the service closed down after the job was complete. To avoid this, homeowners should check to see how long the HVAC company has been in business. The longer a business has been operating, the longer it has endured fluctuating economic environments. Also, it is reasonable to assume that companies that have been open for many years have a good reputation with their customers.

Ask Questions

A person may have researched their issue before calling a technician, but there are always gaps in the information available online. An HVAC technician should be able to answer any questions that the homeowner has about their A/C unit. Asking lots of questions can give a person some insight into how much their technician knows and can teach them a bit more about how to prevent issues in the future.

Get a Quote

Homeowners need to ask for a quote before hiring an HVAC company to perform service on the A/C unit. The best price available does not always mean the best work, so a low cost should not be the deciding factor on whom a homeowner hires. Using recommendations, reviews, and business history in conjunction with a quote shows a person which business provides the best services for the most reasonable price. This way, homeowners can get the quality work they need without spending a fortune.

Nothing is worse than being stuck in a home without air conditioning on a sweltering mid-summer day. There are lots of reasons why one’s air conditioner may not be blowing cold air. Familiarizing oneself with the potential causes can help homeowners get their unit in working condition quickly so they can get back to cooling off in their home.

When the fix isn’t simple enough to be done at home, quality HVAC technicians are available to assess and fix the issue quickly. Of course, regular preventative maintenance by a qualified professional is always the best way to avoid these issues.