There’s nothing worse than a faulty AC on a hot summer day. But like all machines, sometimes your AC goes on the fritz, and you’ll need to do some air conditioner troubleshooting. We’ll review some common AC problems and AC troubleshooting solutions so when your machine loses its cool, you don’t lose yours.
Water coming out of the machine is a common AC problem. Your AC unit produces moisture during the cooling process, and that moisture has to go somewhere. Some AC units have drain pans located beneath the unit to catch excess moisture, while others rely on gravity to drain the unit out the window.
So let’s get into leaky AC troubleshooting. If you notice water leaking out of the machine into your home, pay attention to where it goes. If water is running down the power cable towards an electrical outlet, immediately turn your unit off and remove the plug from the outlet. If the drip is going somewhere else, the situation is less urgent.
How your unit is installed is the key piece of leaky air conditioner troubleshooting. In order to ensure proper drainage out the window, your unit must be tilted slightly backwards. If you need to change the tilt of your unit, add a thin bumper beneath the unit to raise the front, which will lower the back end. As water follows gravity, this means the excess moisture will drain out the window. Remember when installing, removing, or adjusting your AC unit to always be careful—you want moisture to go out the window, not your air conditioner!
People often confuse a leaking AC for a refrigerant leak, which is a much rarer occurrence. If your AC still produces cool air, then your refrigerant is not leaking. If you notice a lot of moisture and your AC no longer cools your home, immediately stop using it and contact a professional. For a refrigerant leak, there are no DIY air conditioner troubleshooting tips. More information on refrigerants, check out our blog on the subject.
Sometimes, your AC won’t turn on. When there’s an electrical issue with your air conditioner, troubleshooting is complicated.
The first step is determining where the electrical failure is occurring. Test your power source; if it’s an electrical outlet, swap in another appliance to see if it functions. If you use an extension cord, make sure it is properly rated for a heavy-consumption appliance (although, we don’t recommend using your AC with an extension cord).
Once you’ve determined that your power source is live, the next step is trying to reset the power to your unit. Consult your owner’s manual for specific directions for your AC unit, or contact your manufacturer’s support team. We designed the Windmill with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) on the power cord to make resetting the power easier for customers.
Like any system, the electrical system in your AC unit wears down with usage. An AC constantly turning on and off will burn out faster than one operating ideally. That means the easiest way to prevent AC power issues is to purchase the correct machine for your home. Check out our blog on BTUs to learn more about selecting the right machine for your space.
One of the most frustrating common AC problems is when your unit will not produce cool air. When there’s no cool air coming out of your AC, troubleshooting is a process of elimination.
If your AC unit has multiple modes (like how the Windmill has COOL and ECO modes), determine if the cooling issue is specific to one of the modes. If possible, try running the unit’s fan without engaging the compressor for a while, and then switch to a compressor mode, to see if you can hear the compressor engaging (and feel the difference between room air in Fan mode and the air in Cool mode).
Next, check other parts of the machine. Is the filter clogged up? Replace the filter, or give it a thorough cleaning if the filter is reusable. Is something blocking the back condenser vents? If the vents are covered, heat will get trapped inside the machine and prevent the efficient production of cool air. There are other factors, like how much sun exposure the window gets and what the temperature is like outside, that affect the cooling ability of your window unit. Also make sure the front exhaust vents aren’t blocked, so cool air can move freely into your home.
When your window unit has an issue with its compressor, oftentimes the only fix will be replacing the machine. Contact customer support to learn about your options. That’s why it’s so important to zero in on where the problem is, because other, similar problems might not result in total machine failure.
Solving Other Problems
There are other issues that can crop with an air conditioner. Sometimes the thermostat will provide inaccurate readings, making it impossible for your machine to reach your desired temperature. It’s possible that mold will grow inside your air conditioner, damaging your machine and potentially endangering your health. There are very uncommon issues, like refrigerant leaks or misalignment of internal components. Sometimes the cause is shipping damage, and sometimes the problem stems from manufacturing issues. One thing is always true: when there’s a problem with your AC, troubleshooting is easier if you take good care of your unit. As we’re fond of saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Even with perfect AC hygiene, there’s always the chance that something goes wrong. That’s why, here at Windmill, our support team is available seven days a week to help you with air conditioner troubleshooting. We hope we can make fixing your AC problems a breeze!