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Common A/C Problems and How to Fix Them

Improper operation is the primary cause of air conditioner problems. When using your HVAC system, make sure that all your windows and doors are closed. The other common problems associated with malfunctioning air conditioners are faulty installations, poor service procedures, and inadequate maintenance.

Top Air Conditioning Problems


If you are low on refrigerant, your A/C was either undercharged to begin with or you have a leak. Since refrigerant runs in a closed system, there should be not reason to add more refrigerant unless there is a leak. If it leaks, simply adding refrigerant is only a temporary solution. A trained technician should fix any leak, test the repair, and then charge the system with the correct amount of refrigerant.

Having the correct amount of refrigerant, neither over nor undercharged, is essential for an efficient HVAC system. Hire a pro when it comes to finding and fixing refrigerant leaks.


The best thing you can do to maintain your air conditioner is to remember to replace your air filter every 30-90 days. This prevents airflow problems, which could lead to a dirty, overworked system and frozen evaporator coils. Newer HVAC systems have a safety shut-off mechanism if the air filter gets too clogged. If your A/C won’t start up, check the air filter first.


If your A/C frequently starts and stops, you may have an oversized system. Unfortunately, over half of all new HVAC systems fail to live up to manufacturer efficiency ratings due to improper installation. When you next schedule your HVAC tune-up, make sure your technician checks all electrical connections and contacts.


If you are having problems with you room air conditioner, you may want to check the thermostat sensor, located behind the access panel. This sensor measures the temperature of the return air coming through your evaporator coil. If this sensor gets knocked out of place, your A/C might begin cycling frequently and behaving unpredictably. Watch this video to get your thermostat sensor back into place and working again:


When it’s humid (which is always in Houston), check the condensate drain to make sure it isn’t clogged and is draining correctly. You will need a wet/dry vac or hire a professional to do a complete declining of your condensate drain line. Watch this video to learn how to DIY clean your condensate drain line:

To prevent clogs and other buildups in your condensate drain line, take a cup of bleach and pour it down the drain line, located near the AC. This will help kill and breakdown any algae, mold, or other buildup. Watch this Today’s Homeowner video for a more thorough explanation.

For more information on troubleshooting air conditioning problems and conducting your own HVAC DIY maintenance, consult this energy.gov infographic:

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Don’t forget to schedule your furnace tune-up before the weather cools down. September is National Furnace Tune-Up after al! Our lines are open 24/7 at (713) 364-0226.