Why is My AC Running but Not Cooling?

An incorrect thermostat setting or a dirty coil could cause your AC to run without cooling. If your AC is running but not releasing any cool air, there are simple solutions for you to try. However, if your AC has ductwork air leaks, worn parts, or low refrigerant levels, you’ll want to contact an HVAC technician to pin chase down the issue.

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Simple Troubleshooting

There are a few simple troubleshooting steps you can take to help you diagnose the problem and get the cool air flowing from your AC:

  • Check to see your thermostat is set to “auto:” If your thermostat is set to “on,” that indicates the blower is constantly running, even when you’re not cooling your home. Set your thermostat to “auto” to ensure that air is only blowing through your vents when your AC is cooling.

  • Check your air filters: Dirty air filters commonly cause an AC to run without cool air. Clean your filters if they’re covered in dust or debris and have them replaced once a month.

  • Check your outdoor unit: If the condenser coil on your outdoor AC unit is dirty, it won’t be able to release the heat it receives from the inside. So be sure to clean your condenser so that your AC can both run and release cool air at the same time.

  • Tripped Circuit Breakers: Your AC likely has two circuit breakers –– one for the inside unit and one for the outside unit. If the outside circuit breaker trips, your indoor AC unit will still run, but blow warm air through your vents. All you need to do is reset it. However, if your circuit breakers keep tripping, you may be dealing with a more serious electrical problem that should be fixed by an HVAC professional.

If you’ve checked these troubleshooting steps off your list and your AC is still running without releasing any cool air, it’s time for an HVAC technician to come help you out and restore coolness to your home.

Leaving It to the Pros

An HVAC professional can chase down the more serious issues that could be causing your AC to run without cooling. Here are some things they’ll look for:

  • Low refrigerant: Refrigerant absorbs heat from the air in your home, so if your levels are low, your AC won’t be able to cool your home very well. Low refrigerant likely implies your system has a leak.

  • Leaking ductwork: If your ductwork isn’t well sealed, hot air can travel through the cracks and increase the temperature of the air being pushed through your AC vents.

  • A faulty compressor: Your AC’s compressor circulates the refrigerant to release the absorbed heat outside. If you have a faulty compressor, your AC will run without producing cool air inside your home –– so it might be time to replace it.

You won’t want to waste money on energy bills for an AC that’s running without cooling. So it’s important to troubleshoot simple solutions or contact an HVAC expert if you suspect a larger issue with your system.

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