Why is my air conditioner running but not cooling the house?

If your air conditioner is running, but it is not cooling your house, this may indicate an issue with the unit’s thermostat, coil or common component.

Air conditioners can definitely make a huge difference on hot and humid days, but these machines do not always work the way that they were intended to.

There is a variety of possible reasons why your air conditioner is not cooling down your house, even when it seems to switch on normally. But it is usually an issue with the thermostat or condenser coils.

When your air conditioner is not working like it is supposed to

Having an air conditioner is certainly the most effective way to cool down a space on a hot and humid day.

Unfortunately, although it might seem like your air conditioner is working pure magic sometimes, these units still regular appliances and they do break down or experience issues from time to time.

There are various reasons why your air conditioner may not always work as effectively or efficiently as it is supposed to.

But fortunately, this also means that you are likely just a few troubleshooting solutions away from getting right back on track.

Why is my air conditioner running but not cooling the house?

If you are lucky, your air conditioner will display an error code when things are not working properly, and you will be able to call a technician or expert to help you diagnose and fix this problem quite easily.

However, at other times, your air conditioner will seemingly continue to operate as normal, even though there is some sort of mechanical or electrical issue that you are not aware of yet.

If you have switched on your air conditioner recently and found after a while that it is absolutely not cooling your home at all, then this may just be the case.

Generally, your air conditioner should only be working for a few minutes before you start to feel that cold air rush into your space.

If this is not the case, there is definitely something wrong, and you need to start investigating what the issue could be.

Usually your troubleshooting would start with checking that the unit is plugged in and has sufficient a power supply. But if your air conditioner is turning on, then power supply is likely not the cause of your issue.

This means that you are free to move on to the next couple of possible reasons why your air conditioner is not cooling your space properly.

This includes issues with the thermostat, having dirty or blocked condenser coils or any other issues with the internal components, which may be preventing airflow or causing mechanical issues throughout the unit.

Making sure that your thermostat is working

If your air conditioner is not cooling like it is supposed to, there may be an issue with your thermostat.

Your very first investigative step should be to ensure that your thermostat is set to the “Cool” setting (not just “On”) and that your desired temperature is set correctly.

If your thermostat was accidentally set to a higher temperature or to the “Fan Only” mode, this could the reason why the unit is not blowing out cool air.

How to check the condenser coils

To get to your condenser coils (especially on larger whole-home units), you will need to remove the plastic or metal housing that encases them.

In this case, you should make sure that you have disconnected your air conditioner from the breaker box or the power outlet.

You should notice immediately if there is any dirt, leaves or debris that may be causing mechanical issues at the bottom of this condenser unit.

But if you shine a light through your coils and you cannot see the light clearly on the other side, it is definitely time to give this unit a good clean.

Accumulated dirt can block your condenser coils. This will result in a lack of airflow and an overloaded condenser, which could be why your air conditioner is not cooling down the air that passes through the system adequately.

Other common issues

There are also a few other common issues that could be preventing your air conditioner from cooling down the house like it usually does, such as:

  • Dirty air filter could be preventing adequate airflow to the coils
  • Furniture, hedges and other elements may be blocking airflow to the inside or outside components
  • A refrigerant leak will prevent the coils from cooling sufficiently
  • Leaky ductwork will prevent cool air from reaching all of the rooms in the house
  • An undersized unit will not be able to move enough air to cool a large space effectively

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