One thing we can say about our Houston weather is that it is never predictable. One day it will be hot and humid and the next morning it will be freezing. Let’s face it, as Houstonians, we are all well aware that our summer starts a little earlier and lasts a little longer than summers in other places. And because we get a few extra months of heat we need to make sure our AC system is in top shape to keep us cool all summer long. If you haven’t had an annual AC inspection or tune up, you should know what the symptoms are for real problems with your air condition. Read on to learn about the most common AC problems, what causes them, and what you can do to fix them yourself.

Certain rooms are not cooling

If you notice that a room inside your home is not cooling evenly, the first thing you need to look at is the size of the room. For example, if the main bedroom is not cooling and it has higher ceilings than other rooms in the house and only one air vent, the problem could simply be that the room is too large. The more cubic feet your AC unit has to cool means the harder it has to work and the longer it will take to cool a room. To solve this problem, you could keep your AC system running longer to cool the whole room, or you could install another vent into the room to enable the room to cool faster. Another solution is to install a mini-split system. The expert technicians at JW East specialize in mini-split installation and recommend them to all customers who are experiencing this issue. 

Another thing to check in this situation is the duct damper. A damper is a device within the duct system that helps control air flow into particular areas of the home and can also prevent air from entering specific areas. If the room that is not cooling has a damper inside the vent, it could be the reason for the lack of airflow. Another option is to install duct dampers in rooms that are smaller and cool easily, that way, more air will flow into the room that isn’t receiving much air instead of flowing into the rooms that cool without a problem. 

Unit blowing warm air

While there could be many reasons for your AC system to be blowing warm air, there are a few things you can check yourself before having to call in the professionals. First, check and make sure your AC settings are correct. It is easy to change the temperature and forget to change the switch from “heat” to “cool.”

If that is not the reason, the next thing to check would be the air filters. Air filters should be changed once every thirty days in order to have optimal conditions for your AC unit. Clogged and dirty filters restrict the air flow and also fill your air with contaminants and bacteria. 

It is also important to check that the outdoor unit is operating correctly and to make sure all wires of the unit are in place and haven’t been cut. Accidents do happen with the outdoor component of your AC system. For example, mowing over the wires or the pet dog chewing on them. This can cause the outdoor unit not to turn on and will end up blowing warm air inside the home. In this case, you have figured out the problem and the next step would be to call the professionals to have them come and rewire your outdoor unit. 

Refrigerant Leaks

Having refrigerant leaking from anywhere in your system is not a good thing because it causes wear on your system and also makes the unit blow hot air. If you are experiencing this, an important question to ask yourself is, how old is my AC unit? 

Overall age is a common cause of refrigerant leakage. The average lifespan on an AC unit is 10-12 years, but more on the 12 year side if the unit has been properly maintained. If it is aged, you will start to notice warmer air and higher utility bills. The unit loses 3% of its efficiency every year it runs.

If your unit is not that old and you think your problem has to do with a refrigerant leak, it could be due to improper installation where parts of the system were not completely sealed together. Or, the leak could be caused because of the vibration of the system. While in use, the system is constantly in motion. The movement itself is capable of causing small leaks in the lines of your system. The best thing to do in this situation would be to call a professional. 

Noisy Equipment

While excessively noisy equipment could be caused by many things, there is a very common culprit that should be checked before a professional is called.

You want to look to make sure there is nothing sitting on or near the unit. A lot of people tend to store things in the attic right next to the AC system. The unit has a high-speed blower that comes on and if you have a box or crate that is sitting next to it, things start to rattle and make loud noises. The same thing goes for the unit in the backyard. People store things next to the outdoor unit in the winter and when it comes time to use the unit, they experience noise. Other possibilities could be an off-balanced rotor motor, motor wheel, or fan blade. And for most of us in that situation, the wise thing to do would be to call a professional. 

Clogged drain lines

Cleaning the drain lines of your AC unit is something that everyone can do themselves to prevent clogs. Many germs and contaminants grow in drain lines because of the moisture inside, especially algae. It’s important to keep lines clear so that your unit functions properly and everyone inside the home is breathing clean air. 

Algae lives in cold, wet, dark places and is constantly growing along with other bacteria in your system’s drain lines. In the winter when the system is off, no water goes through the line and the algae lays dormant. If you pour 1 cup of bleach down the drain lines twice a year it will clean the lines, prevent them from clogging up, and can save you from having to make a service call.

Although most of us are not AC experts, it is good to know there are things we can do ourselves to fix simple air conditioning problems. But when those larger problems do arise, it’s good to know the experts at JW East Mechanical are right around the corner and ready to fix any problem that may come your way.