Most Common Air Conditioner Problems and Solutions

Most Common Air Conditioner Problems and Solutions

Understanding the causes of air conditioner problems is crucial for effective solutions. In this comprehensive guide, we address common issues and their respective solutions.

If your air conditioner breaks down, and you are looking for professional help in Los Angeles and surrounding areas then call Alturas Contractors. We’ll get your air conditioner back up and running so you can get back to feeling comfortable. Our excellent HVAC services have been recognized by both customers and industry groups.

10 Air Conditioner Problems and Solutions

Read over some common AC problems and solutions to get your air conditioner running in the perfect condition.

Indoor Leakage

If you notice water leaking from your air conditioner’s indoor unit, it may be due to a clogged condensate drain caused by algae or fungi. Additionally, a broken condensate pump can contribute to this issue.

Solution of Indoor Leakage

Call a certified technician to unclog the condensate pipe or replace the condensate pump. DIY solutions include using a wet or dry vacuum to unclog the pipe or pouring vinegar into the drain line to eliminate algae or fungi.

Outdoor Leakage

A puddle of water outside your house, under the air conditioner compressor, can be caused by various factors such as dry air filters, broken condensation pans, bad AC seals, or improper installation.

Solution of Outdoor Leakage

Turn off the air conditioner and disconnect the power supply. To address this issue, you may need to contact a technician, but there are some tasks you can perform before seeking professional help.

AC Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant leaks can reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency and have harmful effects on the environment. Minor leaks can be fixed by topping up the refrigerant and applying minor repairs, but major faults may require replacing the entire refrigerant line.

Solution for AC Refrigerant Leakage

Detect and analyze the leaks at home, and either patch them up yourself or call a professional technician to fix them.

Related: Health Dangers That AC Refrigerant Leaks Can Cause

Dirty AC Filter

Like any other filter, an air conditioner filter also performs an important role in the functioning of the whole Air conditioning unit, filters help keep the airflow clean and nearly free from any sort of dust and debris. A clogged air filter would drastically slow down the airflow which results in decreasing the efficiency of your whole air conditioning system. A dirty filter would also reduce the ability of the system to cool the air effectively.

Solution for a dirty AC filter

Check and clean the air filter regularly. Smart AC controllers can help monitor the filter status. Cleaning the filter every two weeks and replacing it every two months during peak seasons is recommended.

Damaged Compressor

We all know that one of the most important AC components is the compressor which helps the refrigerants to carry out heat exchange as well as regulates the AC pressure. All these conditions like dirty coils, changes in refrigerant levels, and lack of lubrication can be the reason for AC compressor failure.

In case there is not enough refrigerant, there are chances that the compressor will become hot and stop functioning. If there is more refrigerant than there should be then the excess refrigerant can lead to increased pressure in the unit, which will also cause it to fail and stop working.

Solution for a damaged compressor

Contact your local air conditioning service to assess the damage. In severe cases, replacing the compressor may be necessary.

Fault in Capacitor

Many times, if you turn on and off your AC abruptly there are high chances that it invites a capacitor issue. A capacitor is a very important part of any air conditioning unit and is responsible for giving the motor that initial push that needs to get started. During the extreme summer heat, and when it’s the time that your AC has to work hard, there are high chance that the capacitor can overheat. Also, power fluctuations and frequent changes in the thermostat setting can damage your capacitor.

Solution for faulty capacitor

You can contact a professional technician to get your capacitor checked. Sadly, you cannot repair or replace it on your own as there is a risk of an electric shock.

AC Making Weird Sounds

In case you notice weird and loud AC noises that are coming from your unit, be aware it might be a signal of some problem. The sounds might seem annoying, but in actuality, they are helping you to figure out what is wrong with your system before this AC issue gets even worse.

All these different noises might indicate a different AC problem such as

  • A grinding sound points toward the compressor or motor failure.
  • A clicking sound may indicate an obstruction in the AC fan or a capacitor issue.
  • A bubbling noise is produced due to a refrigerant leak or excess moisture in your unit. 

Solution for AC noises

Never ignore the AC noise issue and immediately contact an HVAC professional. Any technician will help you in figuring out what the sound means and fix the underlying issue.

AC Tripping Circuit Breaker

In case your circuit breaker keeps tripping frequently, it can indicate several issues that include power surge, capacitor failure, dirty filter or coils, low refrigerant levels, compressor failure, and all the issues with the circuit breaker itself. After you notice this problem you must turn off the AC and don’t try to reset the breaker as it can cause a fire.


Unfortunately, there is no DIY solution for this problem. You would have to contact a professional as a circuit breaker involves electrical components and can get dangerous.

Bad Smells From AC

  • A bitter smell from your air conditioner can be due to mold growth.
  • A fire-like smell would indicate that some electrical components are burning inside your system.
  • A gas smell would indicate leakage of Methyl Mercaptan, which can be dangerous.
  • A rotten egg smell can indicate birds and insects have gotten into your system and may have died, causing this weird smell.

Solution for AC smell

You must thoroughly clean your air conditioner when taking it out after some time. For any sort of electrical issues and gas leakage issues, you must always call a professional for all sorts of repairs.

Electric Control Failure

Many times you tend to turn your air conditioner on and off so much that the compressor and fan of the system wear out. The compressor, condenser motor, and blower motor are connected, making a connection to start the unit. A disruption in the connection due to corrosion of wires or the terminals can prevent the compressor and motor from turning on. Power surges can also result in electrical failure. Acid can build up in your unit as a result of electrical failure, which causes further air conditioner problems.

Solution for a failure in electric control

To determine this air condoning unit problem, you must check the electrical connection, and if you cannot resolve the issue yourself, you can seek professional help at any time. A professional technician would detect the acid build-up during tune-ups as it is a major sign of an electrical issue. Regular AC maintenance can help prevent this and many other issues in the future.

FAQs about Common Air Conditioner Problems

Why is my AC suddenly not cold?

First, check your filters and coils for dirt and debris that may be impeding airflow. Once you’ve cleaned the filters and coils, run the air conditioner with just the fan so that the ice accumulation can melt off. If the AC still doesn’t blow cold air, it could be that refrigerant levels are too low.

What is the most common thing to go out on an AC unit?

The most common issue that can cause an AC unit to malfunction or stop working is a refrigerant leak.

How do I check my AC refrigerant level?

Checking AC refrigerant levels requires specialized tools and should be performed by a professional HVAC technician. They use pressure gauges to measure the refrigerant levels accurately. Attempting to check refrigerant levels without proper knowledge and equipment can lead to inaccurate readings and potential damage to the system.

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