Top 10 Start-of-Season AC Problems

As spring begins to thaw the ground outside in Massachusetts, it’s time to make sure your air conditioner is ready to go for when the heat hits.

It’s not uncommon to have a few issues when you first start up your HVAC system, and most of them can be easily remedied before you need to crank the thermostat down.

ductless air conditioner

Here are the top 10 start-of-season air conditioning problems we see and how to get help maintaining your cooling system.

1. The Batteries in Your Thermostat Died Over the Winter

If you turn on your air conditioner and notice that it’s not working at all, check the thermostat again. You may find that the batteries had just enough juice left over from the winter to power the display, but not to kick the system on.

It’s always a good idea to plan to replace the batteries in your thermostat seasonally anyway, usually around the same time that you have your HVAC system serviced or cleaned.

2. Your Thermostat Is Still Set to Heat

This may sound like the simplest fix (and it is), but you might be surprised at how many families don’t realize their thermostat switch is still set to heat. They may be turning the thermostat temperature down, only to find that the cooling system doesn’t kick on even when the air in the house is warmer than the temp the thermostat is set at.

This mistake is even more common during the spring when some days are quite warm while nights are chilly. Give your thermostat a quick check to make sure you’ve switched the thermostat back to cooling before exploring other options as to why your AC may not be working properly.

3. The Outdoor Disconnect Switch Is Off

Sometimes, a completely non-working AC system has just had its outdoor disconnect switch flipped. The switch is generally protected by a metal box so it can’t be accidentally tripped, however, this can still happen.

Check your outdoor disconnect switch when you check your thermostat to rule these issues out before proceeding to more difficult troubleshooting. 

4. Your Circuit Breaker Tripped

If your air conditioning system won’t turn on because it seems like it’s not getting any power at all, check your circuit breaker.

Often, circuit breakers will trip to protect your home or office’s electrical system from overloading. Usually, this only occurs to appliances located in one part of the house that are on the same wiring.

Check the breaker and flip the switch for your air conditioner; if this doesn’t work, you’ve at least eliminated a circuit breaker issue as the cause of your problem.

5. Your Central or Ductless Air Conditioner Is Dirty

If you turn on your air conditioner and don’t feel much cool air coming from your vents, your AC’s filters and internal components may be dirty or clogged up. Built-up dirt and debris create a barrier that air has a difficult time being pushed through, reducing airflow.

Having your central or ductless air conditioner cleaned at the start of each season is a great way to prevent this problem and keep your indoor air healthier.

6. You Had a Refrigerant Leak

If your air conditioner turns on and is blowing air that isn’t cold, you may have had a refrigerant leak over the winter.

A technician should come out to your home or business and evaluate the cause of the leak and make any necessary repairs before refilling your system’s refrigerant. In some cases, the refrigerant will have evaporated over time and no repairs will need to be made; you may be able to simply have your refrigerant topped off.  

7. You Have a Blown Fuse

If you’ve blown a fuse, typically your outdoor condenser unit will stop working. You may hear a quiet humming noise if you have a furnace, but usually with no power going to the air conditioner, you won’t hear anything at all.

Fortunately, replacing a blown fuse is generally easy and affordable. However, it’s likely not something you’ll want to do yourself unless you’re an experienced HVAC professional or electrician.

8. Your Capacitors Have Failed

Another reason your air conditioner may not be blowing out any cool air is that the capacitors have failed. Capacitor failures may be caused by winter storms that result in power grid fluctuations, which you may not notice until you turn your system on for the first warm day of the year.

Other signs of failed capacitors are a humming noise coming from the AC compressor or the AC taking a long time to start up after you’ve turned it on.

9. Your Coils Are Frozen

Frozen AC coils are a common problem when a system’s evaporator coils don’t get enough airflow to keep them at the optimal temperature. Frozen coils can be caused by dirty filters, blocked condensation lines, broken fans, and malfunctioning thermostats.

If you suspect your coils are frozen, turn off your air conditioner immediately and contact an HVAC professional. Running your system with frozen coils can cause permanent damage.

10. There Are Electrical Problems

If your AC still isn’t working after troubleshooting the above potential issues, you may have damage to your electrical system. For example, mice or other small animals could have burrowed into your walls over the winter and chewed your electrical cords, causing your AC to lose power entirely.

In this case, you’ll want to contact an HVAC company that works with certified electricians to repair your wiring.

Get Your AC in Shape This Spring with N.E.T.R., Inc.  

At N.E.T.R., Inc., we know it’s important to get your air conditioner running smoothly before the temperatures in Massachusetts start to rise during the late spring and early summer.

If you need help troubleshooting your AC system at the start of the season, contact our experienced Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Elite contractors today by calling (781) 933-6387.

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