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What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Isn't Cooling Properly

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It's one of the biggest fears of many homeowners—you finally decide to turn the air conditioner on for the summer, but when you do, it doesn't start to cool your home. Before you panic, stop, and take a deep breath. There are many possible fixes that stop way short of having to buy a completely new air conditioner.

1. Check the Filters

While this step may seem obvious, the simple truth is that many homeowners don't take care of their air filters. Running your air conditioner with a dirty air filter is exactly like running a sprinkler with a kinked hose.

If your air flow is weak, change the filter and set your phone to remind you to change it monthly. If this doesn't solve the problem, make sure your air conditioner doesn't have a second or third filter you don't know about. Some units have one by the intake vent and by the blower unit, or you might have two or more intake vents with filters throughout your home.

2. Clean the Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coils are the giant piece of metal inside your air conditioner that actually cool the air. They work by allowing air to pass between the gaps as refrigerant cools the coils.

If your evaporator coils are dirty, less air will be able to pass through to be cooled, and your air conditioner won't put out as much cold air. Home improvement stores sell a spray to use for cleaning, but a deeper clean requires an HVAC professional to take apart your system.

3. Clean the Blower Wheel

The blower wheel is the fan that moves air through your air conditioning system. Unlike a ceiling fan, it's blades are very close together.

Over time, the blower wheel can become caked with dust that fills the spaces between the blades and prevents the air from passing through. Some air conditioning systems have a door where you can easily access the blower wheel to remove it and clean it with a hose. Other systems will have to be taken apart by a professional.

4. Have the Refrigerant Levels Checked

If the air flow is strong, but the air isn't cold, you may have low refrigerant. Due to EPA regulations, only an HVAC professional can work with the refrigerant.

If you do need a refrigerant charge, it's because there's a leak in the system. Make sure your contractor fixes the leak before they recharge your unit.

To learn more about why your air conditioner might not be cooling properly, contact a local HVAC contractor today.