7333 Oak Ridge Hwy Knoxville, TN 37931

Solved: Common Air Conditioner Problems and Quick Fixes

Get your cool air flowing again with these easy solutions for typical air conditioning problems around the house.

There's nothing worse than walking into a hot, stuffy home when your air conditioner isn't working properly. Before you start sweating and call for emergency repairs, there are some common AC issues you may be able to troubleshoot yourself.

While major AC repairs are best left to professionals, homeowners can often resolve simple air conditioning snags with some basic DIY steps. At Keith Powell Heating and Cooling, we get countless calls each summer for issues with quick, no-cost fixes.

From units not turning on at all to rooms that won't cool evenly, we're sharing our top solutions for annoying AC woes. Check out these helpful tips before scheduling service!

The AC Won't Turn On

Thermostat Settings

It may sound obvious, but many "broken" air conditioners are really just thermostats in need of a quick reset or setting adjustment. First, check that your thermostat is set to "COOL" mode and the temperature is set below the ambient room temperature.

If using a programmable thermostat, make sure its schedule is synced to your current schedule and cooling preferences. You'd be surprised how many service calls we've made just to reprogram an out-of-sync thermostat!

Power and Circuit Check

Next, ensure your AC is receiving adequate electrical power. Check if the condenser unit's power disconnect switch is flipped to "ON" and for any tripped circuit breakers. You should also replace thermostat batteries if the display is blank or unresponsive.

Last summer, my uncle thought his brand-new air conditioner stopped working on the hottest day of the year. After frantically calling us, we realized the unit's circuit breaker was just tripped from the high cooling demand. A simple reset had his system cooling again within minutes!

Poor Air Flow

Clogged Air Filters

When was the last time you changed your air conditioner's air filter? Clogged, dirty filters make it much harder for your system to circulate cool air efficiently. Fresh filters should be installed every 1-3 months.

The simple fix here is to purchase the correct-sized replacement filters and properly insert/secure them based on manufacturer instructions. Pro tip: Buy filters in multi-packs and set calendar reminders so you never forget to swap.

Blocked Air Vents

Obstructing supply vents and return air grilles with furniture or other objects is a surefire way to create cooling imbalances and stress your air conditioning system. Walk through each room making sure vents are clear and unblocked.

You should also vacuum vent covers of any built-up dust, pet hair or debris. Small items can fall through grille openings too, so give the area a quick visual inspection before checking the next room.

The Condenser Unit

Even if your indoor components are well-maintained, accumulated dirt and debris around the outdoor condenser unit can wreak havoc on cooling performance. Use a shop vac and brush to clear away dry leaves, grass clippings, weeds or other yard waste obstructing the unit.

After cleaning, inspect the condenser fan/fins and use a garden hose to gently rinse off any remaining grime from between the coil fins. Just be careful not to bend the fins during the process.

My neighbor's son learned this lesson the hard way, accidentally kicking a basketball into the side of their condenser at the start of the summer. The bent fins majorly disrupted heat dissipation and airflow until a tech could repair the damage.

Uneven Cooling or Warm Rooms

Ductwork Inspection

When only certain rooms or areas of the home suffer cooling deficiencies, the ductwork air distribution system is often the culprit. Leaky joints, disconnected branches, tangled insulation, and other duct defects can redirect cool airflow before it reaches supply vents.

If you have an accessible ductwork system, do a basic visual inspection for any obvious breaks or separated duct joints. You can also try feeling for air leaks around duct connection points using an incense stick or smoke pencil.

Insulation and Sealing

Poor insulation or air infiltration in your home can overtax the capacity of even the newest, most efficient air conditioning systems. Attics, crawlspaces, and exterior walls lacking adequate insulation increase cooling demands.

Similarly, gaps around doors/windows, plumbing penetrations, etc. allow precious cooled air to escape and hot outdoor air to enter the home. Proper air sealing and insulation help maintain your home's "cold envelope" and take stress off the AC system.

My father-in-law was constantly frustrated that his home office never seemed to cool properly in the summer. Sure enough, the room's only supply vent was completely obscured by an overstuffed chair - no wonder it felt like a sauna! Sometimes simple lifestyle adjustments resolve stubborn cooling woes.

When to Call the Pros at Keith Powell Heating and Cooling

While the DIY solutions above can resolve many annoying AC problems, some issues inevitably require professional repair service. If you've attempted basic troubleshooting and the cooling problems persist, it's time to call the HVAC experts at Keith Powell Heating and Cooling.

Serious issues like refrigerant leaks, failed compressors, wiring faults or drainage backups demand diagnosis and repair from certified technicians. Allowing problems like these to linger risks complete system breakdowns and expensive replacements down the road.

We're proud to offer Knoxville area homeowners reliable 24/7 emergency AC repair, upfront pricing policies, flexible financing solutions, and unparalleled workmanship guarantees. Don't spend another day sweating it out – contact Keith Powell Heating and Cooling today for prompt cooling relief!