Your air conditioner works overtime trying to keep you cool during those hot summer months. Many homeowners take this chilled air for granted until it suddenly ceases to exist. Unfortunately, they may still hear the gentle hum of the unit even as the temperature rises in their home. What do you do when the air conditioner is running but not lowering the temperature?

If you find that you can hear the unit running, but your AC does not reach the set temperature, you may have a problem on your hands. The possible culprit could be relatively benign, or the sign if a much larger issue. Here are just a few of the possibilities that you may want to consider.

Dirty Air Filter

When it comes to problems with your air conditioning, most professionals will first recommend that you replace your dirty air filter. These should be swapped every sixty days or so, but many people forget. You may even need to change them monthly if you have pets.

When the air filter is clogged, it restricts the flow of air into and out of the unit. This means that your air isn’t likely to end up cooling down even though the unit is still running at its maximum capacity.

Blocked Condenser

If your central air conditioning unit is located on the outside of your home, it’s possible that you have a blocked condenser. Be sure to look around the perimeter of your unit and remove any debris that surrounds the unit. Most experts prefer to see at least a 12-foot clearance all the way around the unit.

When it starts to be cluttered with plants, weeds, and other obstacles, you run the risk of blocking the condenser from doing its job.

Small System

Is the issue with your cooling relatively new? Homeowners who have recently added an addition or livable square footage onto their home may find that their air conditioner is running, but the temperature is rising. Your old unit simply may not be able to handle the workload with the increase in demand.

Refrigerant Leaks

The refrigerant is one of the most important components of your air conditioning unit. It is designed to absorb the excess heat and release it away from your home.

When there is a leak in the system, you will typically find that the air conditioner is running but not lowering the temperature. Look on your unit for any frozen pieces. If you see ice on your air conditioner in the middle of a hot summer day, you can rest assured that there is something amiss with your refrigerant.

Wrong Temperature Setting on the Thermostat

Have the seasons just changed from winter to spring? Many homeowners forget to change the settings on their thermostats when they make the switch from heating to cooling. Make sure that your thermostat is in the proper mode. If the temperature is already correctly set, you may just need to toggle it from the heat setting to the cool setting.

Leaking Ductwork

The ductwork on your air conditioning unit plays an important role in how well your house will cool down. After all, it serves as the delivery system for all of the cold air that your air conditioning unit produces. Even a small hole in the ductwork might allow all of your cool air to escape before it meets your house. A few signs that you may have a problem with the ductwork include excessive dust, high energy bills, and a unit that runs nonstop with no change in the temperature.

You may also want to go up into the attic or into your crawlspace to visually inspect the ductwork. There may be a simple fix, such as a joint that has come loose. Sometimes, you can fix these leaks inexpensively on your own without hiring a professional to assess the damage.

Broken Fan or Fan Motor

The fan and fan motor are two of the essential components of your AC unit. They are responsible for drawing the cool air off of your condenser and directing it into the home. If either of these parts is damaged, then your air conditioner has no means of redistributing the cold air from the condenser.

Help! My AC Temperature is Not Going Down!

If your air conditioner is running but not lowering the temperature, you could have a potentially serious problem on your hands. Some of these issues can be easily remedied within an afternoon, but others will require the help of a professional HVAC technician. Try some of the easier fixes first before you dial your local heating and cooling company. You may be able to save a bundle by doing something as simple as changing your air filter.

Of course, there is also the possibility that you are simply asking too much of your air conditioning unit. Take precautionary measures to limit the heat that your home attracts, such as introducing a cross-breeze, insulating your home, and keeping curtains drawn when in direct sunlight. Some of these simple tips may help to keep your home cooler, even if your air conditioner is struggling.

Michael Joseph

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