Why Do Air Conditioners Stop Working?

The HVAC System in an Unfinished Attic Space

Air Conditioning Repair and Maintenance

Sitting on the couch, with fresh, cool air blowing on your face. It doesn’t get much better than that. This comfortable and relaxing environment however, takes a sharp turn into the alarming when your air conditioning system stops functioning properly. Maybe it completely stops, or worse, starts blowing warm air constantly. Needless to say, you’ll be calling the local AC repair expert soon!

What causes these breakdowns? Today, we’ll take a look at the various part failures that cause these household headaches. Afterwards, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with your repair company when you schedule air conditioning repair and maintenance. Let’s jump in!

Air Conditioning Repair Questions

If you’re the type that invests in high-end Conklin roofing systems, tankless water heaters, and dependable air conditioning, your first thought in the event of malfunction is likely “Why?”. Why did your trusted air conditioner break down in the middle of a very hot day? Let’s start by answering this and other important questions that homeowners regularly ask in the middle of an AC crisis. You’ll find that many families end up facing the same problems.

Warm Air

Why is the AC Not Blowing Cold Air?

There are many causes for the AC only blowing warm air. Many people automatically assume the refrigerant levels are too low; it is a fairly common issue. Did you know that refrigerant never runs out on its own? It’s true. Manufacturers designed AC coolant for permanent use; low refrigerant is actually a symptom of underlying part damage. If your air conditioner repair professional simply refills your coolant (an expensive project) without fixing the relevant leak(s), they haven’t finished the job properly.

Your compressor may also be malfunctioning. What happens when your AC compressor stops working? Coolant flows in a cyclical pattern inside your AC unit, changing back and forth between cold liquid and hot gas. When the compressor malfunctions, it can’t force refrigerant (in gas form) back into the condenser effectively. Thus, limited amounts of liquid refrigerant make it back to the evaporator coil to cool your air.

Power Failure

Why Will My AC Not Turn On?

Complete refusal to activate is typically the result of an electrical problem or system part failure. Blown fuses and tripped circuits have caused many homeowners to call their repair expert prematurely. Thermostat problems are also fairly common. The unit believes the temperature is much lower than it actually is and refuses to activate.

There are a whole slew of reasons potential part failures that can cause a shutdown, including:

  • Compressor failure
  • Faulty/dirty evaporator and condenser coils
  • Burnt out blower motor
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • and others.

Frequent Cycling

Why Does AC Turn On and Off?

Frequent cycling is probably the worst of the three problems, not because repairs are complicated, but because switching on and off again wastes a tremendous amount of energy. Homeowners that face this problem often struggle with spikes in their electric bills. Again, a variety of issues may provoke this short cycling process.

Reasons Why Air Conditioner Stops Working

  • Low / Leaking Refrigerant
  • Frozen Evaporator Coil
  • Excess Cooling Capacity
  • Malfunctioning Thermostat

Besides diminishing cooling capacity, low refrigerant also causes a loss of pressure in the compressor (which shuts down as a result). After a little while, pressure builds up and reactivates the compressor, hence the short cycling. Another fairly common cause of frequent cycling is thermostat malfunction. Faulty sensors cause the unit misread the ambient temperature, so the thermometer turns on the AC to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

Air Conditioner Repair vs Replace

Let’s address the question that’s on everyone’s mind: How much does it cost to fix the air conditioner? Air conditioning repair prices are going to depend on the underlying issue. Lesser part replacements (such as a blower motor, or AC coils) will only cost you in the mid to upper hundreds. However, replacing parts that handle coolant will likely lock you into a refrigerant recharge, which runs up to $150.

Compressor replacement may cost anywhere from $600 to two grand. At the upper limit however, it might be worthwhile to simply replace the entire unit (especially if your current one is approaching the end of its lifetime).

A Woman Looks Up in Frustration from Lack of AC

Find Your Air Conditioning Repairs!

Nobody likes to get stuck without air conditioning, but it sustained hot temperatures can be outright dangerous! Our team at R & M Heating and Cooling knows what that feels like, which is why we strive to provide prompt and lasting relief for those with downed AC units. Our Huntsville, AL air conditioning service would love to help you get out of this frustrating situation.

Need to schedule immediate service for your home? No problem! Our team maintains a 24/7 crisis expert so you can find relief anytime, day or night. Call (256) 763-7535 for emergency air conditioning repair in Huntsville, AL.