My Air Conditioner is not Working!
We usually have relatively mild winters in Sarasota, Bradenton and the surrounding communities so often Floridians simply stop running their air conditioning units and expect them to fire up when the weather warms up again. With your AC unit being in “winter” mode for several months when you switch back to cooling you might find it has some difficulties running. This unfortunately, is not uncommon especially with older units. Let’s take a look at why your air conditioning unit might not be working.
My air conditioner is blowing air but it’s not cold
My AC unit has frozen in ice
Why is my AC not working at all
The air conditioner is leaking refrigerant
My AC is emitting a bad odor
My air conditioner is making a loud banging noise
Why is my air conditioner blowing air that’s not cold?
If you are having problems with the temperature of air coming out of your air conditioner, or if is behaving erratically, there are a number of things that could be wrong. One thing needing replacement from time to time is your capacitor.
How to replace an air conditioner capacitor
Step 1 – Switch Power Off
Put on your protective gear and find the breaker that powers the condenser outside. Switch this off, and then run a quick check with a voltage tester to make sure there is no power still flowing.
Step 3 – Open Access Panel
Locate the access panel of the condenser (it usually has a label with an electrical warning on it) and open it by loosening the screws.
Step 4 – Purchase New Capacitor
Locate the capacitor just inside this panel. Typically, a capacitor is shaped like a beer can and should have a sticker on it. Write down the information on its sticker load voltage, capacitance, tolerance, etc. or take a picture with your phone, and call or email All Appliance Parts in Sarasota or bradenton. We can help you get a new capacitor with the same characteristics, often the same day. The new device might be of a slightly different shape or size, but this will not affect its functionality. The important thing is that the new capacitor has the same performance properties. We stock American made capacitors from Titan, find out more on our products page.
Step 5 – Look at the Old Capacitor
Take a careful look at how the old capacitor is connected to the unit. Either write down the connections or take a couple photos of it. You will want to hook up the new capacitor in exactly the same way.
By the way, if you have some background in electricity, you can also use the connection diagram which should be available on the inner side of the access panel.
Step 6 – Discharge the Capacitor
Take a screwdriver with an insulated handle and touch the metal end across the two terminals that stick out of the capacitor. This should discharge any energy remaining, making this part safe to handle and remove.
Step 7 – Connect the New Capacitor
Disconnect all wires from the old capacitor and attach them at their respective places on the new one. You can also carry out this step a wire at a time; disconnect each from the original air capacitor and fit it into the same place on the new device before you proceed with the next.
Once the wires are all connected, mount the new capacitor in place. If it is not stable, you may want to use a metal mounting strap to fix its position.
Step 8 – Test Connections
Double-check that the wires are connected at their respective places and test the connections by pulling slightly at each. Tighten them up, if necessary.
Step 9 – Check the Condenser
Make sure the capacitor is fitted back into place, and then check the operation of the condenser by switching on the thermostat. If there are no problems, screw the access cover back in place. You are now ready to use your air conditioner once again.
What is an air conditioner capacitor?
An air conditioner capacitor is an important electrical device that can cause problems if it malfunctions. It is one of the most frequent causes of a problematic motor, fan, or unit as a whole, and, for this reason, knowing how to replace it yourself can save you from days or weeks without air. The actual maintenance procedure is not very difficult to perform but requires careful attention and a little hands on know-how. Here are the steps you need for a successful job.
Remember that working with electricity is a hazardous and potentially life-threatening job. If you don’t feel confident or do not fully understand any of the steps below, you had better call a professional to carry out the procedure for you instead.
What if my capacitor looks good?
Another common issue that might make your AC stop blowing cool air is the thermostat sensor. Occasionally a thermostat sensor is knocked and moves out of position. While the solution is relatively simple, it requires a licensed technician to diagnose and fix it (as do most other issues of this nature). For safety’s sake, you should switch off your air conditioner and call a licensed technician.
Why is there ice forming inside my AC unit?
Sometimes when an air conditioner stops working or is noticeably struggling, it is simply an issue of maintenance. If you don’t clean the air conditioner’s filter, the dust and dirt it collects and creates a blockage. This blockage stops the unit from “breathing”. The result is the formation of ice around the cooling coils of the air conditioner. This is one issue that you can usually fix without needing to call a licensed professional.
How to unfreeze your AC unit
Step 1 – Melt the Ice
First, switch off the unit for a few hours to let the ice melt completely. Depending on your air conditioner, you may want to put a towel or bucket down to collect any water that melts off. Your house may get warm during this process so turn on a fan or go watch a movie.
Step 2 – Replace/Clean air filter
Once the ice has fully melted, remove and replace/clean the filter. In most cases this will have fixed the problem. With an unobstructed path for fresh air your unit should not freeze up again. If your air conditioner keeps freezing over, you should contact a licensed technician.
Why is my air conditioner not working at all?
Step 1 – Check the circuit breaker
The first thing to do is to check to make sure you haven’t tripped a circuit breaker. Look on the main electrical junction box for your home, and if the circuit breaker has tripped, switch it back on again and see if your air conditioner works again.
Step 2 – Call a professional
If not you should call a licensed air conditioning technician. Ideally you should isolate the air conditioner at the main circuit breaker or safety switch until the technician arrives.
If turning your circuit breaker back on works but the unit trips again shortly thereafter, the problem might be in your home’s wiring. Check If you have any other appliances running at the same time (particularly ovens, washing machines or other powerful appliances) you can also try turning these off to see if it makes a difference. If it does, you may need to hire an electrician to check or update the wiring in your home.
To prevent any potential burn-outs, you should maintain your air conditioner as laid out in the owner’s manual. Likewise, avoid turning the air conditioner on and off any more than necessary.
Why is my air conditioner leaking refrigerant?
If you find a refrigerant leak, the temptation is there to simply put more in. Unfortunately that will cost you a lot of money, and is likely to be dangerous.
Step 1 – Call a professional
To fix this, you will need to contact a qualified and licensed technician who can come out and repair and test the system to make sure that it is working at its full potential. If possible, isolate the air conditioner by switching it off at the circuit breaker or safety switch until a repair technician arrives.
Leaking refrigerant must be handled with extreme care . If it leaks into the atmosphere, a single kilogram of R410a (the most commonly used refrigerant in air conditioners) will cause as much damage as running your car for six months!
Why is my air conditioner is emitting a bad smell?
Bad smells in air conditioners may be caused by a number of things.
- mold, mildew or fungi growth as a result of a blocked up drainage pipe
- smells outside that are brought in through the AC
- small dead animals in or around the air conditioner.
Step 1 – Call a professional
The first of these problems is easily the most common, and is an indication that you need to get your air conditioner serviced as soon as possible. A blocked drain pipe can cause water to build up in your air conditioner unit, which will cause more damage if it’s not taken care of in time. Regularly cleaning and servicing your air conditioner will help you to prevent this.
If you suspect that the smell might be from a dead animal you can first check outside to see if you can identify the source. If you suspect it might be coming from inside the air conditioner unit (or inside one of your walls), you will need to call a licensed technician to help.
Why is my air conditioner is making a loud banging noise?
Occasionally, air conditioners will start to make loud (sometimes deafening) banging or wailing noises. Most of the time these noises are the result of an issue with your units fan belt.
Step 1 – Call a professional
This fix is not difficult, but you will need a licensed professional to do it. It is also important to note that you should not switch on your air conditioner until it has been fixed. Doing so could cause more damage to your unit. While the technician is fixing this, it is a good idea to get them to check the bearings of the motor as well.
We hope this helps! And always remember if you have any questions about appliance parts call us today.
Sarasota: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. | Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Bradenton: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. | Closed on Saturday
We would like to note that an air conditioning unit is a serious electrical appliance that involves electricity, water and dangerous chemicals. Most air conditioner repairs require a professional and should not be attempted by amateurs. The information provided is in no way fully comprehensive and if you are not 100% sure higher a professional.