Don’t sweat it; some air conditioning problems are commonplace

August 7, 2015

Don't sweat your air conditioningDon’t sweat it; some air conditioning problems are commonplace

Your air conditioner has gone haywire and you turn to a technician at Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning with a question: Is this a common AC problem or what?

It can be reassuring to hear: “Oh yes. We see this problem all the time, so try not to worry.”

But worry you do – in spite of yourself. And who can blame you? Your air conditioning system is probably one of the biggest investments you’ve made in your home. You rely on it constantly during the summer to keep you cool and comfortable and your indoor air safe and healthy to breathe. So an air conditioner breakdown can be a nerve-racking prospect indeed.

Your AC is one peerless piece of machinery
At Charlie’s Tropic, we consider it our responsibility to reassure our customers while restoring the cool air to their homes with confidence, skill and efficiency. The truth is, your air conditioner is a very complex piece of machinery. And once you understand how it functions, you might be surprised that it doesn’t malfunction more often than it does as it pulls the warm out of your home. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers explains why:

  • The warm air is cooled as it’s blown over a set of cold pipes, called an evaporator coil.
  • The evaporator coil is filled with a special liquid called a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat from the air.
  • The refrigerant is pumped to another coil outside your home, where it changes back to a liquid. This coil is called a condenser for a reason: because the refrigerant condenses from a gas back to a liquid.
  • A pump, called a compressor, moves the refrigerant between the two coils and changes the pressure of the refrigerant so that it evaporates or condenses in the appropriate coils before cool air is blown through your home’s registers.

Common problems can surface
Plenty of problems can occur during this process. Four of the most common air conditioning problems Charlie’s sees are:

  • Dirt problems, and they can be virtually anywhere but most often on the evaporator coils, condenser coils and especially the filter. An annual air conditioner tuneup can forestall these problems, as can checking the filter every month and replacing it once it becomes clogged. Dust and dirt are the biggest enemies of your air conditioner, undermining its efficiency, cooling power and even its lifespan.
  • Refrigerant problems in the form of low refrigerant caused by a leak. If your home isn’t cooling down as it once did, a refrigerant problem might be the reason why.
  • Drainage problems, usually traced to a blocked drain line or a crack in the condensate pan. A puddle of water near the indoor unit is a sure sign of a drainage issue that needs a repair.
  • Electrical problems, usually triggered by dirty, damaged or corroded wires or connections or a worn compressor. Charlie’s thoroughly inspects your AC’s electrical components during a tuneup. But if you get a whiff of a burning smell when your air conditioner turns on, call us right away so that we can minimize the potential damage – and repair bill.

Common air conditioner ailments
In addition to common air conditioner problems, there are some common air conditioner scenarios, too:

  • An air conditioner that doesn’t turn on could be undermined by a malfunctioning thermostat or an electronic control failure.
  • An air conditioner that doesn’t cool a home properly could be plagued by a dirty filter, refrigerant or drainage problems or a thermostat malfunction.
  • Limited or restricted air flow could be caused by a dirty filter or clogged or leaking ducts.

With Charlie’s, you don’t have to sweat any air conditioner problem for long. We’ll find the root cause and repair it. And next to cool air, our customers say that that’s the biggest relief, and reassurance, of all.

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  1. Judy Wilson

    I’ve just installed a new air conditioner in my home, so I need to know about a few common problems so that I can anticipate how to prevent them. Knowing about how damaged or corroded wires or connections can lead to electrical problems for my new unit. Inspecting it regularly to check for any corrosion or damage to my wires seems like a great way to prevent my air conditioner from having electrical problems in the future. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Jorge McMillan

    My wife and I are first time homeowners and have an AC unit that is acting funny. It will randomly shut off and won’t turn back on for hours. I’ve tried fixing it myself, but realized that this is something way beyond me. I’m just glad that there are services that can help people like me who have no idea what they are doing.

    • Jeannie Fredrick

      We love to help homeowners prevent most issues but consulting with you AC contractor is the best bet to insure a quick fix.

  3. James Bergman

    I think that most of the problems I have had with my AC unit is just it getting dirty. So, I have started making sure I clean/dust it off every year. The outdoor unit is the easiest. I just spray it down with the hose and make sure I keep branches and leaves away from it.

  4. Patricia Anderson

    I’m glad that dirt problems can be so easily avoided by changing the air conditioning filter every month. A lot of our appliances are breaking down because they are old so we really want to make sure our AC stays working. It is almost summer so we would be in real trouble if that suddenly quit on us. Do you have any tips to avoid the other problems?

    • Jeannie Fredrick

      Our blog page is loaded with tips as is our social media sites:, @charliestropic and

  5. Aria Wellington

    I wasn’t aware that there were so many problems that could arise when it comes to your ac unit! Recently, we have been having some issues with ours turning off and on randomly even though we have it scheduled for a specific time. That could be something electrical so we will have to look into some repair services to come and take a look at it.

  6. Charles Kemp

    Dirt problems are always going to be present with air conditioning units. If you clean your unit often, you won’t have to worry about dirt as much. I am glad that you mentioned all the common problems because not one air conditioning unit is perfect.

  7. David Hawkins

    That’s actually really good to know that there are some common problems for AC units. I thought I was alone when I kept getting dirt in my AC and I was having to fix it. It doesn’t stop the problem, but it makes me feel a little better when I have to call a repair person that a lot of other people are experiencing it as well. Thanks for the great info!

  8. Annie Frances

    Wow, I didn’t realize that so many of my air conditioning problems could be prevented by simply cleaning my filter. Last week, I had to call an air conditioning repair service to tell me why my house wasn’t being cooled properly. They told me the same thing, that I needed to clean my filter. Good thing the repairman had a new one handy to replace my air conditioning filter with!

  9. John Carston

    It’s good to know that some common AC problems are ones that I can probably prevent myself, since dirt is a big problem. For most other problems it looks like I’ll need a professional repair service, like refrigerant, drainage, and electrical issues. I like to know what I’m able to do when it comes to home and appliance repairs, so I appreciate the tips you’ve given here.

  10. Kyle O'Ren

    I didn’t know that dirt could get in my air conditioner and cause problems. I always dust it and make sure it’s not dirty on the outside but I’ve never cleaned the inside. I’ll have to look into getting a tune up done.

  11. Charles Kemp

    I can see how dirt problems can start other problems in the air conditioner. It is probably good to put the unit in a place that isn’t going to suck in a lot of dirt. Then you don’t have to worry about problems with the evaporator coils and other parts that can’t get dirt on them.

  12. Kendall Ryder

    My AC has been acting up lately, and I haven’t been able to figure out the problem. I think it is time that I hire someone to come and look at it. I like that you point out some different problems with AC units. That way, I can make a few suggestions to the repairman to see if any of these might be the problem.

  13. Helen

    It is good to remind people that many problems are not serious flaws in the AC unit, but are due to normal maintenance needs. Outdoor units are subject to the elements and need to be cleaned to avoid the dirt problems this article talks about. As mentioned, it may be as easy as replacing the filter. But I think that a good lesson we can pull from this is to know what kinds of issues are common place so that we can be better able to recognize the need for repair.


    Thank You so much for explaining the meaning of the air conditioner which helped me out. I really loved to read this blog. You also discuss about the common problems which are faced from the air conditioner to the people. Thanks!

  15. Jade Brunet

    I did not know that dirt could cause problems with an air conditioner. It is interesting to learn that dirt can get caught in the evaporator coils. Finding an HVAC contractor who can easily provide a list of client references would be a good first step in solving this dirt problem.

  16. Leviticus Bennett

    The weather just started to get warmer. I tried my air conditioner a week ago and the home hardly got cool. It might be due to a dirty filter or refrigerant like you mentioned; I’ll make sure to have a contractor take a look.

  17. Ivy Baker

    This is some really good information about how to keep your air conditioning unit working well. I liked that you pointed out that dirt can really affect your cooling system. It does seem like a good idea for me to remember to go in and clean it every few years.

  18. Raisa Delima

    We are having electrical problems in our home, and I think it’s coming from our A/C unit. My husband wanted to try fixing it on his own, but I told him that he shouldn’t risk getting hurt. I’m so glad you talked about electrical problems because now I know that they are a common problem for HVAC units. We’ll have to just get a professional who knows how to deal with it to come fix the issue.

  19. David Cohen

    The most problem i had before is that the AC was so dirty and it’s stop working