Air conditioner not very cold

An air conditioner needs proper airflow in order to work properly, so if your unit is not cold enough, this is the best place to start.

When air conditioners function correctly, they combine a few different systems to change your cool, humid air to much cooler, less humid air in just minutes.

But, if your air conditioner (AC) is not very cold – this could indicate that there is a problem with the airflow somewhere within this system.

Understanding how your air conditioner works

There are few things more frustrating than turning your air conditioner on and finding that it is not really cooling down your space.

When an air conditioner is working properly, this appliance should be able to extract the warm and humid air from your space.

It then takes this hot air and runs it over a series of coils (which are made extremely cold with the help of the refrigerant and a condenser unit) and this cool the air down.

The cooled, less humid air is then blown back into your space and the process is repeated in cycles, until the room’s overall temperature drops (give or take a few steps, depending on the type of air conditioner).

Air conditioner not very cold

When you notice that your air conditioner is not quite operating the way it is supposed to, this means that there is a disruption somewhere in this process.

The most common type of disruption that plagues all air conditioners, big and small, is a disruption in the airflow to and from the unit.

If the air conditioner cannot take in enough warm air, cannot blow this air over its coils, or cannot expel the cooled air, then it will not be able to cool down your space.

Therefore, ensuring that your unit has proper airflow throughout is usually the best place to start if you feel like your air conditioner is not cooling well enough.

Some of the most common issues which could be preventing proper airflow include:

  • Dirty air filters
  • Blocked air inlets
  • Drain or duct clogs

Fortunately, all of these issues are fairly easy to diagnose. They are even fairly simple to fix yourself if you are in a bind, and really need your air conditioner to start cooling again, sooner rather than later.

Checking for dirty air filters

Dirt and debris can build up on your air conditioner’s air filter as air continues to cycle through it. Over time, this build-up can form a mat or barrier on top of the filter, which will prevent your unit from extracting enough air.

This lack of airflow can cause additional wear and tear on other components of your AC or even result in frozen coils.

Usually, larger whole-home air conditioners have disposable filters which you need to replace every few months.

But many of the smaller air conditioners have air filters that you can simply clean with a very soft brush (it is important to be careful when you remove the filters) and some lukewarm water, every few weeks.

Removing blockages from around your air conditioner

The air filters inside your air conditioner are not the only things that could be blocking the unit’s air intake.

Things like curtains, rugs, large furniture pieces  and the likes could all be preventing smaller air conditioners within your home from cycling air properly.

If you have a larger unit with an outside condenser unit, then it is best to periodically trim any hedges or tree limbs and clear any leaves that build up around this unit.

This will ensure that there is at least four feet of open space around the unit, and about one to four feet above. It is also good to ensure that the casing of this unit is not dirty, as this could also prevent proper airflow.

Checking for clogged drains and ducts

If you have any kind of air conditioner in your home, it is always a good idea to have a hygrometer, like the ThermoPro TP50 (which also gives you a room temperature reading) nearby. This is so that you can monitor the humidity levels in the space.

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However, if you find that the humidity in your space is not out of the norm, but you notice that there is moisture around the air conditioner, then you may have a clog in the system.

A clogged condensate drain could cause excess moisture to overflow, and a blocked (or bent) duct may be causing your coils to freeze over, which leads to excess moisture.

Either way, it is best to give your air conditioning system a good once-over, just to ensure that everything is open and working properly.

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