If your cooling system isn't working right, here are some common problems and how to fix them.

Has Your Air Conditioner Lost Its Cool?


Man hot or not feeling well

Summers can be long and hot, and they can seem much longer and hotter if your air conditioning system isn't functioning properly. You can choose to sweat it out or take action to solve the problem. Whether your system isn't working correctly or isn't working at all, here are some common issues and how to fix them.

Your system isn't cooling properly:

Dirty filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow, reducing the efficiency of your cooling system and its ability to effectively cool the air. Check your filter and replace it if it's dirty; change it regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Thermostat setting. Check your thermostat to make sure it's set to the appropriate temperature. If you have a programmable unit, program it according to your schedule to save energy while maintaining comfort.

Covered vents. Supply or return air vents covered with furniture or boxes can throw the system out of balance and restrict airflow. Keep all vents clear.

Ductwork problems. Your ducts could leak air or be constricted. Seal leaks in exposed ductwork with mastic tape and work with a professional to clean and seal your entire duct system.

Refrigerant leaks. Your system refrigerant could be low or leaking. Contact a qualified professional to repair the leak and recharge the system.

Your system won't turn on:

Electric control failure. Compressor or fan controls may be worn out due to the system cycling on and off too frequently. Contact a qualified professional to check your system's electric controls.

Thermostat issues. Make sure your thermostat is working. It may need new batteries or need to be replaced entirely. Consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat. You can optimize savings and comfort and get cool features, such as remote control.

Drainage problems. Your system's condensate drain line can get clogged due to mold and mildew buildup. The system may shut down to prevent flooding. Check the drain to make sure that it isn't clogged. You can clear a clog with a wire brush or wet/dry vacuum or contact a qualified professional.

If your cooling system is older or in need of serious repair, upgrade to an ENERGY STAR®-certified unit. ENERGY STAR air conditioners are more efficient than standard models. You'll stay comfortable all summer long, and the lower energy bills can be pretty cool, too.

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