Air Conditioner is Blowing Warm Air

There are few things more frustrating than having an air conditioner that doesn’t cool. When your central air conditioner is not blowing cold air, or the air is warm or even hot, this could indicate several possible problems. But before you call a professional to help you with this repair, make sure your thermostat is not set to “Heat.” Sometimes children or adults will accidentally bump the thermostat and unintentionally shift the settings, so it’s best to make sure this isn’t the case.

Dirty Air Filter

If it isn’t the thermostat, then you can go on to check the air filter. This is usually found right behind the return air grille or inside the air conditioning unit itself. The air filter’s purpose is to keep the air flowing through your air conditioner free of particles that can have damaging effects. Some parts are particularly impaired by a dirty air filter. The evaporator, for example, is especially sensitive to a clogged filter because it is directly responsible for discharging cold air into your home. A dirty filter, however, will prevent the evaporator coil from properly dissipating the cold air. As a result, warm air will permeate the air in your home.

Dirty Condenser Coil

A dirty condenser may be another reason your air conditioner is not properly cooling. The condenser coil is found in the outside unit of your split system. It is important to keep the area around the condenser clean and free of any obstructions, such as overgrown foliage. It is also recommended that the condenser have at least 12 inches of space surrounding it in order for it to work to its maximum ability. Because part of the condenser’s function is to emit heat, any obstructions preventing the heat from being released will remain in the unit, causing it to breakdown. This is why it is absolutely necessary for you to have your AC system serviced at least once a year. Having the condenser cleaned is typically part of a standard maintenance or tune-up service.

Low Refrigerant Level

Having low refrigerant is another possible culprit that will cause your AC to blow warm air. The refrigerant is what flows through the condenser and evaporator units of your system. It is constantly changing states from liquid to gas, absorbing and releasing heat. Scientifically speaking, cold is the absence of heat. Therefore, the refrigerant’s absorption of heat as it passes through the evaporator coil is what causes the coil to release cold air, and the fan behind the coil blows that cold air into your home. But if your AC system is low on refrigerant, then there won’t be enough heat absorption to cause the coil to release an adequate amount of cool air. The air flowing into your home will then feel warm or even hot.

Needless to say, if the refrigerant is low in your system, it is certainly time to call a contractor, since the Environmental Protection Agency requires those who handle refrigerant–a hazardous material–to be certified. It’s also important to note that low refrigerant is likely the result of a leak in your air conditioning system. In a perfect world, refrigerant should never have to be refilled, since it flows back and forth in a sealed pipe. If a contractor simply refills (or recharges) the system with more refrigerant, this will not solve the larger leak issue. So, be sure that your contractor first takes care of the leak and then proceeds to recharge the system.

These are just a few common issues that may be causing your air conditioner to blow warm air. Once you’ve checked your thermostat and replaced your air filter, have a certified technician inspect your system.

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