If you notice that your air conditioner is blowing hot air when you turn it on, there are a few possible scenarios. Air conditioners work by using a refrigerant to remove heat from indoor air. This ice-cold liquid refrigerant passes through coils that are in a metal casing. The heat from the indoor air turns the liquid into a gas, which is carried to another part of the air conditioning system, where it’s cooled again to its liquid form. It’s then returned to start the loop over. Here are some of the possible causes why this process might fail.
The most common refrigerant leak is a crack or other break in the tube that carries the refrigerant from the compressor to the air conditioner. Leaks can have many causes, such as bad welds, workmanship problems during manufacturing, or excessive vibration. These leaks are very common in older AC units. Most leaks are fixed without replacing the compressor and without shutting off power to your AC unit.
All air conditioners have vents that pass through the interior walls of your home into the outside air, so you can tell if you have any leaks by observing your vents. If you see tiny beads of moisture coming through the vents when it’s cold outside, a refrigerant leak has occurred.
Temperature settings on your thermostat can cause excess or insufficient cooling. If you have a standard AC, try adjusting the temperature setting up a couple of degrees. If the problem is simply an air conditioner that’s too hot, this will most likely solve it. You should also make sure to check the thermostat’s settings if you’re having an issue with excessive humidity inside your home.
If you’ve checked the settings and they’re correct, you may want to lower the thermostat. Your air conditioner will take longer to cool the interior of your residence, but in the meantime, it shouldn’t be blowing hot air. Also, check that your vents are not covered. If they are blocked, it could cause your air conditioner to overwork and use more electricity.
If the thermostat is set too low and your air conditioner constantly runs, or if you have a unit that kicks on and off quickly, that could mean a problem with either the unit or the thermostat. A technician will be able to test your refrigerant levels, check the compressor and coils, locate the source of any leaks, and make sure all components are properly functioning.
Clogged Air Filters
Air filters are especially important for air conditioning systems because they remove from the air particles such as dust and pollen that otherwise might enter your home. Dirty filters lead to increased energy consumption and may also cause a component in your AC system to fail and create more problems. So, it’s important to check your filters regularly. The frequency depends on the size of your home, the number of residents and pets, and how well maintained your system is.
Many AC units have a built-in feature that alerts you when the filter needs to be cleaned. These systems shut off the airflow until the filter has been dealt with. If your AC unit doesn’t have this feature, check your owner’s manual to determine how often you should replace the filter. A dirty air filter restricts airflow and reduces the cooling in your system, causing your compressor to work harder.
This will raise your electric bill and make it more difficult for you to keep your home cool. Another good reason to replace your filters regularly is to keep them from becoming a fire hazard. Clogged filters have been known to catch fire under the right conditions, and they could become an enormous threat to your home. If you neglect to replace them and they become covered in dust and debris, they can smolder for hours before bursting into flames.
A leaky duct could also be why your air conditioner is blowing hot air. This is a common problem due to factors such as age, wear and tear, or condensation. Holes in your ducts allow moisture to form and spill onto other parts of your HVAC system. The evaporating moisture creates a perfect environment for mold to form, feeding on the moisture and creating more condensation.
Failing Cooling Compressor
If you’ve checked your settings and the thermostat, but you still have a hot air problem, it could be that your cooling compressor needs replacement. The compressor is responsible for cooling the indoor air. The refrigerant constantly passes through this coil, cools, turns into a gas once more, and goes out again. If your compressor is failing, it will create more work for the other components of your HVAC system and cause the temperature in your home to rise.
Sometimes, the compressor or coils will have cracks that aren’t noticeable until they’re already broken entirely. These cracks let in hot air from the outdoors or let out cold air already inside. This is a safety concern because it can cause the component to fail and explode. If you suspect this problem, it’s best to contact an HVAC technician immediately.
Dirty Evaporator Coils
If your air conditioner is making excessive noise while operating and you’re feeling warm inside your home, it could be from dirty evaporator coils. These coils are responsible for removing humidity from the air. This means that if they’re dirty, the compressor won’t be able to remove heat from the air and will blow hot air instead.
Clogged Condensate Line
Sometimes, small amounts of condensate will form on the inside of your air conditioner’s coils. If this is the case, it can increase your unit’s workload and cause it to break down over time. A technician will be able to take the necessary steps to determine the source of your leak and prevent future problems, such as mold growth, from occurring.
Obstructed Outdoor AC Unit
The outside unit of your air conditioner can easily become clogged with plants and other debris over time, which can cause several problems. First of all, the fan on the outside unit might not be able to move the hot air from inside your house.
Second, if the lines are clogged with debris, you could get moisture buildup in your home. The hot, moist air could collect right inside your AC unit, causing condensation to form within it.
To prevent the buildup of moisture, you should keep your flower garden, trees, and bushes at least five feet away from your AC unit. The leaves and branches of these plants can easily clog your AC unit’s lines over time.
Dirty or Clogged Drain Line
The drain line is a part of your equipment that goes from the outdoor unit to the drain pan. This can become clogged with dirt and leaves, and if it does, the condensation on top of that will eventually cause a leak. Having a water problem on top of already having an air problem could be just the thing that breaks down your AC system completely.
In conclusion, if you’re experiencing hot air in your home, it’s important that you reach out to competent professionals today for more information. Our crew at Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning would be happy to assist. We’re located in Los Molinos, Sacramento, and Olivehurst, CA, and we offer a complete array of heating, cooling, and plumbing services. Our technicians can identify any issue and resolve your air conditioning problem. Call us today to schedule an appointment.