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6 Problems You May Have With Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioning provides a great way to beat the summer heat, so issues with your A/C unit can be a huge inconvenience. As a homeowner with an air conditioned home, it’s good to be able to identify warning signs of potential air conditioning problems and get your system serviced as soon as possible. Here are six problems you could run into with your central air conditioning.


A cooling system can cause several odors that are an indicator of a potential problem somewhere in the system. These are two common causes of odors.

Clogged Condensation Pan

Is there a mold smell coming from the vents when the air conditioner is turned on? The smell could be due to an issue with a plugged drain in the condensate pan, which collects water that drips off the condenser coil. Fixing the issue will require unclogging the drain and cleaning it with a diluted bleach solution.

Failing Motor

If there is a burning smell coming from the vents, there could be an issue with the furnace blower motor. The motor’s bearings may just need additional lubrication. It is important however to have this inspected soon to ensure a simple solution doesn’t turn into a more costly repair.

Air Temperature

Most homeowners discover a problem with their air conditioning because it is no longer producing cold air. This issue typically means there is a problem related to refrigerant.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

If the indoor or evaporator coil is frozen, this could be a sign of various issues. You may think that a frozen coil will produce cooler air, but a frozen coil actually reduces air flow through your system.

The first step if you know your coil is frozen or you are noticing water around your furnace is to turn to system off and to fan only. This will allow the evaporator coil to defrost. Once defrosted check your furnace filter to make sure it is either new or not too dirty. A dirty filter can restrict the air flowing through the system. Also inspect the furnace cabinet as best as you can to ensure no cabinet insulation has come loose and obstructed airflow. If everything appears clear you can turn the system back on. If the air isn’t cold at that point, further investigation by a professional is recommended.

Refrigerant Leak

A lack of cool air could also be due to a refrigerant leak. The refrigerant system consists of copper tubing and coils that can corrode or form a leak over time, causing a significant loss of pressure. If an air conditioning system is low on refrigerant it can cause components to fail or a difference in temperature within the lines causing ice formation. It is not uncommon to find ice forming on the outdoor condenser, refrigerant lines or indoor evaporator coil when a refrigerant leak is present.

An HVAC technician will need to pressure test the coolant lines to verify whether they are capable of holding Freon. If a leak is found, the lines will need to be repaired or coils replaced.

If the problem is left unchecked the air conditioner’s compressor could be damaged as well.

Lack of Power

You can resolve most issues with the air conditioner losing power on your own by checking a couple of the system’s parts.

Circuit Breaker Tripping

Your home’s air conditioning is most likely on its own electrical circuit in the circuit breaker. If that circuit gets tripped, nothing else in your home will turn off, so it may not be obvious at first that there is a problem. The circuit breaker for the air conditioner may be located in your house, but it could also be next to the condenser outside. Be sure to check both places.

If the breaker continues to trip there is more of an issue and a professional should be called. There could be various issue including, but limited to, one of the panels breakers, an electrical component within the air conditioner or the A/C unit’s compressor failing.

Faulty Thermostat

Your thermostat controls your air conditioner, telling it to turn on and off according to a schedule or according to temperature settings. If something is wrong with the thermostat, the air conditioner will not receive the signal to run as it is intended to.

If your thermostat is powered by batteries, check to make sure the batteries do not need replaced. Having a working display may not be enough to verify that the thermostat is working properly. If the set thermostat temperature settings are not being satisfied, the wiring may need to be tested. This will ensure that there is no interruption in the signal being sent to the condenser and the blower.

Bad Furnace Circuit Board

There is more to the communication than just the thermostat. There are circuit boards in both your furnace and air conditioner that relay the thermostats call for cooling. If a circuit board is faulty your air conditioner may not operate and leave your home without cooling.

The above list consists of some of the most common issues we see and does not cover every one of the issues that could be affecting your comfort level. Should you find your air conditioning failing, we advise having your air conditioner repaired by a professionally trained technician. Bryant Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical & Plumbing has trusted service technicians with the training and tools to help.