That air conditioning system that ensured your comfort so well for many years suddenly seems to be having an identity crisis. Now, instead of cool fresh air, it’s blowing out nothing but heat, and in the middle of August to boot. How is this even possible?
The truth is that while several things could be responsible, a common cast of characters is usually to blame. It helps to determine beforehand what they possibly could be. Knowledge is power, and while your trouble could require professional assistance, there may be some things you can do by yourself before you start calling for help.
Things that could be causing your hot air problem include:
- Your thermostat settings. If you haven’t already checked them, this is the place to start. Although it may sound like the ultimate no-brainer, someone may have accidentally flipped yours over to heating mode or forgotten to return it to the cooling setting. While you’re there, you can also make sure that you’ve set the air conditioner to run on automatic. Don’t leave it set to the “on” position. If you do, the blower will keep on chugging away regardless of whether the outside unit is cycling on or off, and during those downtimes, a constantly running fan will have nothing to blow but hot air.
- Your air filter. How long has it been since your unit’s last cleaning? If hot air blows through your vents when you are expecting cold, a grimy air filter or dirty coil will often be the offender. A yearly maintenance check will help to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.
- Dirt and debris around the outside unit. In addition to the cooling fins and tubes, your air conditioner’s external component houses such vital working parts as the fan and the compressor. If leaves, soil or other detritus should build up around this area, they could easily prevent the free movement of air to the condenser coil, thereby preventing this component from performing its cooling function. In this situation, the fan on your indoor unit may continue to blow but will circulate only hot air. The removal of debris from around the outdoor unit could be all it takes to resolve your problem.
- An electrical malfunction. Has your outdoor unit lost its power? A quick trip to the fuse box can tell you whether it is receiving any current. If you should encounter a blown fuse or a flipped circuit breaker, it’s fine to try one time to replace the fuse or flip the switch back on. However, if it should trip again, don’t keep trying. A continually breaking circuit could indicate a major electrical problem with the unit itself, and for safety’s sake, you’ll need to call for professional help.
- Insufficient refrigerant. If your air conditioner has begun to lie down on the job, it might be running out of gas. Unless it contains a sufficient quantity of refrigerant, your unit will lack the power it needs to remove the heat from your airspace. Under normal conditions, refrigerant levels will remain relatively constant, so if yours have begun to fall below the recommended amount, the unit itself has probably sprung a leak. This is not something you can fix on your own.
- A problem with the return ducts. Whether it involves a small break or an entire disconnect, any flaw in your ductwork is likely to pull in some warmer air from the area around it. This can mix with conditioned air, causing a return flow that feels much closer to lukewarm than it does to cool.
How to Keep That Hot Air Flow from Wrecking Your Warm Weather Comfort
As the dog days of summer settle in and the mercury starts flirting with triple digits, a flow of warm air through your cooling vents is the last thing you want to experience. Fortunately, an annual maintenance check from Windy City Air can prevent this from happening to you. During this visit, we will check your refrigerant levels, clean your coils, replace your air filter and ensure that everything is working as it should. Don’t let an unwanted hot air flow cripple your summertime cooling efforts. Call Windy City Air at 702-932-7284 for a checkup today.