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Why Did My Air Conditioner Stop Working?

Published June 21, 2023
Why Did My Air Conditioner Stop Working?

Picture this: It’s the hottest day of the year in coastal Virginia, and you arrive home after a long day with visions of relaxing in your cool home. However, you walk into a wall of hot, sticky air once you open the front door. At some point, the air conditioner stopped working, but why?

The AC repair experts of Pritchard & Fallin have seen it all when it comes to HVAC malfunctions, and we are standing by to get your system up and running again when it stops working. In this article, we explain the most common reasons that AC units suddenly stop running and how our expert technicians can solve the problem.

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

To understand why your air conditioner stopped working, it is important to understand the process of how air conditioners operate.

Refrigerant is the key component for cooling your property. Your AC uses a compressor to change the refrigerant’s temperature and pressure and a condenser to turn the refrigerant into a liquid. From there, the liquid refrigerant is sent through the evaporator coil. An internal fan pulls hot, humid air from the building into the system and across the evaporator coil; the refrigerant cools the air and evaporates. The cooled air is sent back out into your home, and the refrigerant is cycled back through your system. The process is repeated until the thermostat setting is met.

Common Problems AC Problems

Air conditioners have various components all working together to cool your home. If even one malfunctions, the whole system can face the effects. Below we have listed common air conditioning problems that lead to AC repair in Callao, VA and surrounding areas.

Compressor Failure

When something goes wrong with the compressor, you might notice warm air or strange sounds. A compressor problem can also cause the circuit breaker to trip and short-cycle, which is when the AC continually turns on and off.

The only way to know the exact problem with the compressor is to call an AC repair technician in Northumberland County, VA to investigate. In many cases, it’s both difficult and expensive to repair compressor parts, and replacing the entire unit is a more economical option. Sometimes, such as when the compressor has a clog or minor electrical issue, simple repairs can get it working again.

Refrigerant Leaks

If there’s a leak in the refrigerant lines or a problem with the control valve, the system will struggle to keep rooms cool. If you noticed a hissing noise before the air conditioner stopped working, there’s a good chance the issue is low refrigerant.

Fixing these leaks and recharging the air conditioner is a job for certified professionals for many reasons, but mainly because refrigerant is a toxic substance. If you suspect this is the reason for your AC problems, a Pritchard & Fallin technician can locate and repair the leak and refill the refrigerant to restore cool air.

Thermostat Malfunctions

The first thing to check when the air conditioner isn’t working is the thermostat to make sure no one inadvertently changed the settings. If the settings are correct, it’s possible that the air conditioner stopped working because of an issue with the thermostat. It may not be communicating with the AC unit correctly, have an electrical problem, or need recalibration.

You’re more likely to have a thermostat issue when you have an older model. A repair professional will check on the thermostat and recalibrate or replace it if necessary. Consider investing in a programmable smart thermostat that can help you save energy and money on power bills.

Dirty Air Filter

Do you know when you last replaced the filter in your air conditioning unit? If you can’t remember, there’s a good chance that the dirty filter is causing your cooling issues. A clogged air filter blocks cool air from flowing out of the AC unit, so it cannot cool your home.

Not only will this make your home hot, sticky, and uncomfortable, but the extra strain a blocked filter puts on the system can lead to total failure and AC repair in Warsaw, VA. Because the cold air can’t flow into the vents, it backs up into the evaporator coil. Eventually, this can cause the coils to freeze over, and you may need to replace the entire unit.

At the very least, a dirty air filter makes your air conditioner work harder than necessary, driving up utility bills and shortening its lifespan. If your air conditioner stops working, check the filter first and replace it if it’s dirty. We recommend homeowners change their air filters at least every 90 days to maintain an efficient unit and good indoor air quality.

Improperly Sized Unit

Would you believe it if a technician told you that your air conditioner stopped working because it’s not the right size for your home? It’s actually common for homeowners to have air conditioner problems because of installation mistakes.

If our AC repair technician determines that the unit isn’t the right size for your home, we can help you select and install a more appropriate one to eliminate cooling problems. Pritchard and Fallin technicians have been providing reliable AC installation in Callao, VA and surrounding areas for over 43 years, so we can guarantee to get it right the first time.

Electrical Problems

If your air conditioner won’t turn on at all, we recommend checking the circuit breaker for a tripped switch. Sometimes, the switch trips because of an unexpected power surge from outside your home, and just turning it back on will turn the air conditioner back on. If the switch repeatedly trips, there’s a problem with your home’s wiring or the electrical components inside the unit that requires professional assistance.

Clogged Drain Lines

If the drain lines or pan that collects condensation clog for any reason, your air conditioner may switch to safe mode and stop working. You won’t be able to turn the AC on again until you address the drainage issue. This service could include clearing the blockage, repairing damaged components, or replacing the drain lines altogether.

Let Pritchard & Fallin Get Your Air Conditioner Working Again

If you come home to a sweltering home because the air conditioner stopped working, save yourself time and frustration by calling Pritchard & Fallin for professional AC repair in Callao, VA, and the surrounding area. Our friendly certified AC technicians can quickly troubleshoot the issue and make expert repairs to restore comfort to your home. We work quickly and provide honest, upfront pricing.

Don’t risk your safety or warranty protections on your HVAC equipment by trying to make AC repairs yourself. Leave the work to the licensed and insured professionals of Pritchard & Fallin. Call us at (804) 529-7838 for AC services throughout the Northern Neck.

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