Swaim Electric Blog

10 Common Air Conditioning Problems and How to Fix Them Before Spring Hits

Air Conditioning Problems
As winter bids its chilly farewell and the warm embrace of spring beckons, homeowners across the country turn their attention to preparing their homes for the seasonal switch. Among the most vital components of that transition is the air conditioning system. Neglecting to address potential AC issues before the mercury starts to rise can result in uncomfortable living conditions, unexpected repair costs, and even the complete shutdown of your cooling unit.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the ten most common air conditioning problems and provide you with practical, step-by-step solutions to ensure that your AC runs smoothly as spring arrives. It’s time to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Renew Your Home’s Air Conditioning System

Spring is not only a time of rejuvenation in nature but also the perfect time to renew your home’s air conditioning system. Summer’s swelter is just around the corner, and with it, the need for functional and efficient AC. Taking proactive steps to address potential issues before they escalate can save you time, stress, and money.

The first step in this process is understanding the warning signs of a troubled AC unit. Oftentimes, the symptoms of a malfunction are subtle and easy to overlook. Regular maintenance and familiarization with your home’s air conditioning system can make all the difference in how smoothly things operate.

Common Air Conditioning Problems

1. Air Filter Issues

Dirty or clogged air filters are one of the most prevalent issues homeowners face with their air conditioning systems. A neglected filter can lead to decreased airflow, which in turn reduces the system’s efficiency and can cause the evaporator coil to freeze.


  • Uneven cooling in the home
  • Increased energy bills
  • Visible dust and dirt on the filter


  • Check your air filter monthly
  • Replace or clean your filter as needed—this could range from every 1 to 3 months, depending on the type of filter and your home environment
  • Consider upgrading to a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to improve air quality

2. Refrigerant Leaks

Low refrigerant levels are often caused by leaks. This issue affects the AC’s ability to cool the air and can lead to frost or icing on the coil. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it’s crucial to address it promptly as the chemicals involved can be harmful to the environment and your health.


  • Hissing or bubbling noises near the AC unit
  • Warm air blowing from the vents
  • Visible frost or ice buildup on the unit


  • Schedule a professional to inspect and repair the leak
  • NEVER try to handle refrigerant leaks yourself—it requires a licensed technician

3. Thermostat Malfunction

The thermostat acts as the command center for your air conditioning system. Malfunctions can lead to inaccurate temperature readings, causing your AC to run erratically or inefficiently.


  • AC not turning on or off when it should
  • Temperature swings that don’t correspond to thermostat settings


  • Replace your thermostat batteries yearly
  • Keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid temperature reading inaccuracies
  • If problems persist, call a technician to recalibrate or replace the unit

4. Electrical Problems

Frayed wires, worn-out contacts, and old capacitors can all lead to electrical problems that cause your AC to function poorly or not at all.


  • Frequent circuit breaker trips
  • AC not starting
  • Electrical burning smell near the unit


  • Regular professional inspections can catch and fix electrical issues before they cause a breakdown
  • Under no circumstances should homeowners attempt to fix electrical problems—they are extremely dangerous

5. Frozen Coils

When airflow is restricted or refrigerant levels are low, the evaporator coils can freeze. If this happens, it’s important to turn the AC off to prevent further damage and allow the ice to thaw before restarting.


  • Limited or no airflow from the vents
  • Reduced or no cooling in your home


  • Check and replace your air filter
  • Schedule an inspection with an HVAC technician, like Swaim Electric, to identify the root cause and make repairs

6. Fan Issues

Your AC unit has two fans, which work to keep air flowing properly. Issues with either fan can lead to serious problems with your air conditioner, including poor or no cooling.


  • AC unit is running, but the air is not cool
  • Weak air circulation through the vents


  • Inspect the fan blades for damage and debris
  • Ensure that the fans are oiled and well-maintained
  • For internal fan issues, call a professional to diagnose and repair the problem

7. Drainage Problems

The drain line removes excess moisture from the air. If it becomes clogged, water can back up into your home, causing water damage, mold, or even an electrical short in your AC unit.


  • Water around the furnace or inside the AC unit
  • Moldy or musty odors near the HVAC system


  • Inspect the drain line and pan for clogs or damage
  • Clear out any debris and consider adding an algaecide treatment to prevent future blockages
  • Regularly clean the drain line during maintenance checks

8. Capacitor Failure

Capacitors store energy and release power when the motors need to start or keep running. A failing capacitor can halt your AC’s operation entirely.


  • AC unit takes a long time to start or does not start at all
  • Clicking sounds when the unit tries to turn on


  • Call a professional to test and replace the faulty capacitor
  • Regularly have the capacitor inspected for bulges, rust, or leaking oil

9. Sensor Troubles

The thermostat sensor measures the air temperature as it enters the evaporator coil. If out of position, the sensor can cause your AC to start and stop erratically or cycle frequently.


  • Short cycling of the cooling process
  • Home temperature doesn’t match the thermostat setting


  • Gently adjust the sensor so that it is positioned near the coil, but not touching it
  • Use a level to check the alignment and then tighten the sensor in place

10. Ductwork Concerns

Leaky or poorly insulated ducts can lead to significant energy loss and reduced cooling effectiveness.


  • Higher-than-usual energy bills
  • Rooms that are difficult to keep cool


  • Check your ducts for leaks and seal them with mastic sealant or metal-backed tape
  • Insulate any exposed ducts in unconditioned spaces like the attic or crawlspace

Preventive Maintenance Tips

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to a system as important as your air conditioning. Here are some additional tips to help avoid future problems:

  • Schedule a Professional Inspection: Yearly check-ups by an HVAC technician can catch and fix issues before they lead to a breakdown.
  • Invest in a Maintenance Program: Many HVAC companies offer service plans that include regular maintenance as well as discounts on repairs.
  • Keep the Area Around Your AC Clear: Debris and overgrown vegetation can obstruct airflow, reduce efficiency, and cause damage. Keep a clear space of at least two feet around the unit.

AC Troubleshooting by Swaim Electric

Spring is an excellent time to give your home’s air conditioning system the attention it deserves. Remember, addressing these ten common problems now can mean the difference between a relaxing, worry-free summer and a season spent without the reliable comfort of a functioning AC unit. Take the time to inspect and, if needed, repair your air conditioning system with these simple tips and enjoy the warmer months in a cool, comfortable home. It’s your oasis during the spring and summer heatwaves, and ensuring it’s ready to perform should be at the top of your seasonal checklist. If in doubt, consult with a professional, and never hesitate to reach out for help when faced with more complex AC issues. Your home and your wallet will thank you. Contact Swaim Electric today for all your AC troubleshooting, maintenance, and installation needs.

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