Central Air Repair and Troubleshooting Common AC Problems

Two large outdoor AC units.

An AC is key to keeping your home cool and comfortable during Rockwall’s humid and hot weather. Nothing is more inconvenient than when it’s not working properly—especially when you don’t know what’s wrong.

Basic central air repair and troubleshooting are common problems that don't require professional repair expertise. Anyone can do it with some basic know-how about what causes those problems and what you can do about them. In some cases, solutions are simple enough that anyone can complete repairs.

At Aire Serv of Rockwall, we understand exactly how frustrating having a malfunctioning air conditioner is when you can’t determine the underlying issues. That is why our Rockwall HVAC professionals put together this blog so that you can feel empowered while understanding typical causes of AC issues and what to do about them. Whether your AC unit is playing up, not emitting cool air, or doesn’t even seem to even turn on, you can find out why — and also if simple central air repairs are possible.

What Is Central Air Conditioning?

Your central air conditioning unit is designed for cooling your living space. It does that through a series of chemical reactions that turn liquid refrigerant into a gas—in which it absorbs heat and creates a cooling effect—and then back into a liquid again. This process occurs in a closed loop.

There are several important components but knowing about them all is unnecessary. Most HVAC issues that need repairs occur in the following areas of your AC unit:

  • Refrigerant: Refrigerant is typically a liquid with a low boiling point. That means making it evaporate requires less energy. That evaporation process is what absorbs heat and creates a cooling effect—enabling your AC to cool down your home.
  • Condenser: This component sits outside. It typically has a heat exchanger section that cools down and condenses incoming refrigerant vapor into a liquid. It’s responsible for releasing heat and preparing refrigerant for the compressor.
  • Expansion Valve: Expansion valves relieve pressure from liquid refrigerant and help it evaporate.
  • Compressor: The compressor circulates refrigerant and concentrates the heat it contains.
  • Evaporator Coils: The cooling effects of refrigerant evaporation are stored in evaporator coils. They are located near the blower fan, which blows air over the coils and sends cool air into your home.

Common Problems Requiring Central Air Repair in Rockwall, TX

Outdoor AC unit maintenance underway with unit cover removed and wires visible.

Due to many moving components in your AC unit, there are many different reasons why you may require central air repair. Rockwall TX homeowners who know what causes problems that lead to AC repairs in central systems will know how to identify them — and even fix them.

If the Air Conditioning System Will Not Turn On

If you struggle to get your central air conditioning system to turn on at all, then the cause may be:

  • A tripped circuit breaker.
  • A blown fuse.
  • An improperly set or faulty thermostat.
  • An internal switch has been turned off.

If you can’t turn an AC unit on, there are some solutions you can try before calling for expert repairs:

  • Make sure your thermostat is set to cool and has not been turned off.
  • Ensure the thermostat is set to a cool temperature.
  • Ensure your breaker is turned on.
  • Replace a broken fuse.
  • Reset a tripped circuit breaker.
  • Ensure all switches in and around the air conditioner have been turned on.
  • If your unit has a condensate overflow tray, ensure that it has been emptied. Some systems turn off when there is too much water in the tray.

There Is Poor Airflow from Cooling Vents

On the left, an outdoor AC unit before cleaning. On the right, the same unit after being cleaned.

Does your home lack proper airflow from your AC vents? Or is the air distribution not very strong? Then you probably have a dirty air filter or congested air ducts, creating poor indoor air quality. It could also be from disconnected or leaky ductwork.

Here are some central air repair tips for poor airflow from cooling vents:

  • Check the filter and replace it if it’s dirty.
  • Look at all ductwork to see if there is any damage or if it has become disconnected. Be sure to inspect areas of your home that are often ignored, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Repair or reconnect as needed.
  • Confirm that all vents are open.

The Air Conditioner Does Not Dehumidify Air

There are some reasons why your AC system may not be properly removing humidity from the air:

  • Your central unit is too big. The bigger your AC unit, the lower your indoor temperature will be. As a result, your thermostat could quickly shut off before any humidity is removed from your living space.
  • Excessive indoor humidity. The humid climate can easily take a toll on your home’s interior. If it’s too humid inside your home, you might have a water leak. Or you accidentally left the windows open on a humid day. A technical issue could involve your evaporator coils that might not be draining properly. If nothing is evident in your condensate drain, you’ll know that your cooling and dehumidification functions need central air repair services.

Try the following AC repair solutions for a unit that is not dehumidifying air correctly:

  • Close all windows so humid air doesn’t enter your home.
  • Check if your condensate drainage is working correctly.
  • Consider purchasing a portable dehumidifier for particularly humid days.
  • Replace an oversized AC unit with one properly sized for your home.

There Is Not Enough Cold Air and There Is a Long Compressor Cycle

When your air conditioning unit is not distributing plenty of cool air and seems to go through a long compressor cycle, you might need a new compressor or your cooling system is nearing its life expectancy. Either way, it should be fixed with certified, reliable service from your local central air repair technicians at Aire Serv of Rockwall.

The Compressor Cycle Is Too Short

There may be a few reasons why your compressor has a short cycle—turning off and then back on frequently. This could be due to:

  • Refrigerant leak. In the event of a refrigerant leak, your AC won’t be able to cool your home efficiently. It’s forced to work harder and will make people in your household feel unwell and dizzy.
  • Frozen coils. This is another issue caused by refrigerant leaks, as it is not getting enough pressure while traveling through the unit. As a result, it absorbs more and more heat than it should, leading to freezing coils.
  • Cooling system is too big. An oversized central air system will be over-cooling repeatedly, causing early wear because it works too hard and functions improperly.

Try the following central air repair tips to fix a short compressor cycle:

  • Check to see if the thermostat is blocked.
  • Check the condenser fins. These are located on the outside of the condenser. Are they dirty or bent? If so, clean and repair accordingly.
  • Replace any dirty filters.
  • Replace an oversized system with one that is correctly sized.
  • Have an HVAC expert check for any refrigerant leaks.

Additional Central Air Repair Problems to Look Out For

AC fan blades removed from the unit and on the ground following a cleaning

If your central air unit isn’t working how it should, and you don’t think it is any of the problems above, consider the following:

  • Dead batteries in your thermostat. Malfunctioning thermostats either need new batteries or they need to be calibrated. If these solutions don’t fix the problem, you may be due for a replacement, especially if it’s older than ten years.
  • Worn out fan belt. Unusual sounds from your AC unit like squealing and creaking could indicate a worn fan belt. Rockwall’s HVAC professionals can provide quick and effective central air repair service, during which they’ll swap out the old fan belt with a new one.
  • Clogged condensate drain. Algae, dirt, debris, and insect nests can clog your condensate drain and should be one of the first places to check before any water damage occurs.

How Often Should You Have Your Central Air Conditioner Serviced?

Our central air repair experts suggest scheduling preventative maintenance services annually. The best time of year to get simple central AC repairs is before summer so that you can check to make sure your unit is working correctly. An Aire Serv Total Comfort Tune-Up will ensure that your central system is in the best shape possible so that it will last for years to come. Additionally, our expert technicians in Rockwall know how to spot seemingly small problems with central AC that might need costly repairs in the future if they’re not fixed.

Before your annually scheduled central air repair check-up with one of our talented and hardworking HVAC technicians, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your AC unit is running as smoothly as possible:

  • Remove brush and debris near the unit. If your AC unit is blocked, then it will not be able to release warm air correctly. This will cause it to work too hard and ultimately shorten your unit’s lifespan.
  • Clean your condenser coils every spring. If your condenser coils are dirty, your AC unit will not be able to cool your home as efficiently. This will increase your energy bill because it has to work harder than usual. It also may cause the AC unit to break.
  • Replace any dirty or damaged air filters. Clogged filters will force your central system to work harder because it is not able to operate as efficiently. Failure to replace your filter could lead to extensive central air repairs in Rockwall TX.
  • Carefully check for loose electrical connections. Loose electrical connections may prevent your central AC from turning on.
  • Lubricate motors and bearings. Keep your unit running smoothly by cleaning and lubricating its motor.
  • Recharge refrigerant. Low refrigerant levels will prevent your AC unit from being able to properly cool your home. Coolant is the key compound in creating the chemical reaction that creates a cooling effect.
  • Ensure the condensate drain is emptied and clear. If the condensate drain is full, it could cause water damage in your home. Additionally, some central AC systems do not work correctly when the condensate drain is too full.

What Happens If My AC Unit Is Not Serviced Regularly?

If your central air conditioning is not properly and regularly serviced, you may not notice when you need further central air repairs. Additionally, even if your AC unit seems to be functioning normally, the wear-and-tear from dust and dirt can negatively impact your system. Dirty coils, air filters and a dirty blower can all cause your AC unit to work harder—shortening its lifespan.

Since central air conditioners are an investment in your home, it is well worth taking the time toget annual service like tune-ups and timely repairs from Rockwall HVAC professionals. HVAC experts will ensure you get the most out of your central AC and help you avoid more costly repairs or replacements.

Contact the HVAC Experts at Aire Serv of Rockwall Today!

Our professional, experienced HVAC professionals have the required skills and equipment to help you with any of your central air repair needs. Our team is insured and well-versed in fixing a variety of different units and brands. Additionally, we’re on call 24/7 to offer central air repair in Rockwall, TX, whenever you need it the most—and we never charge for overtime.

Give our friendly customer service representatives a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment today. Or learn more about our air conditioning replacement and routine maintenance services to ensure a comfortable, energy efficient home.