Are you ready for summer? Or, more importantly, is your central air ready for summer? If you’ve turned on your AC but didn’t get any cold air blowing through the vents, the answer to both questions is “No.”
We see this problem every spring and summer here in Meridian, ID. There are some variations: Sometimes, there’s no air pressure at all. Other times, it’s weak. Or, it’s coming through on full blast, but the air is warm.
The good news is that you may be able to fix the problem yourself.
In this article, we’ll outline the top four causes of this problem. And, we’ll let you know which ones you can handle without calling in a professional.
Four Problems That Cause Your AC to Not Blow Cold Air Through Vents
Here are four ways to check for problems when your AC won’t blow cold air through your vents.
- Clogged Air Filter
- Wrong Thermostat Setting
- Refrigerant Leak
- Ductwork Leaks
Let’s go through these one-by-one.
Clogged Air Filter
When’s the last time you changed your air filter? The minimum is every three months, but we recommend every four weeks. It’s the best way to keep the air in your home clean.
And, a clogged air filter could be the reason you’re not getting any cold air through your vents when you turn on your central air.
The filter’s job is to screen out dirt, dust, allergens, and other small contaminants as they pass through your AC system. The problem is that eventually, they clog. That’s why you need to change them.
Leave them long enough, and they’ll get so gummed up that not even air can pass through them. When that happens, you’ll turn on the air conditioning but get nothing.
So, check that filter! Is it very dark and grey when you take it out? If so, it’s full. Replace it before you start running your system for the season. And change it more often.
If you run the system after that and get cold air coming through the vents, you’re all set. If not, take a look outside.
Wrong Thermostat Setting
The good news is, sometimes “fixing” your AC is as simple as adjusting the thermostat.
Remember, you have to manually change your thermostat from “Heat” to “Cool.” Otherwise, your system is waiting until it gets colder than the setting to warm up your house.
It’s really easy to forget to make this change. That’s especially so after you’ve gone all spring without using your HVAC system at all.
Sometimes, people set their thermostats to “Fan Only,” even accidentally. This setting is handy in the spring or fall: It doesn’t heat or cool your home, but it circulates the air. The problem is, if you leave it on “Fan Only,” you won’t get cooling when you need it.
Long story short: Check these settings first. The fix could be as simple as flipping a switch or pressing a screen.
A refrigerant leak is a possible cause for your AC to run but not give you any cold air. If you hear the system running but get no air, or warm air, through the vents, this could be the problem.
The refrigerant liquid, or coolant, runs in a closed loop through the system. The heat from the house warms it up and causes it to evaporate. When it passes over the coils, the heat transfers from the coolant, allowing it to condense and repeat the process.
So, if that refrigerant is leaking, it’s not transferring the heat as it should. Then, the air coming out of the vents is not cold.
The most significant telltale sign is ice around the outdoor unit. You may also notice a chemical smell or hear a hissing sound.
Call a professional ASAP if you notice these. On top of the repairs, you’ll also pay for a coolant recharge that gets the system running again. The faster they find the leak, the better chance you have of not needing a serious recharge.
But, there’s another problem: ACs over ten years old use R22 coolant, which is becoming rare. The EPA phased it out slowly over a decade, and no one manufacturers it anymore.
If your old AC has a significant leak, it’s usually more cost-effective to replace it. At Snowflake, we do our best to keep an old unit running if you don’t want to buy a new yet. We’ll use dye to pinpoint the leak and let you see how minor or severe it is.
But, today, the bad news is that most times, an older AC with a leak needs a replacement.
Holes, splits, or other leaks in your ductwork can cause cool air to come through the system but never reach your vents. Instead, it seeps out along the way, losing air pressure as it travels.
It’s tricky to pinpoint this, become find since so much of your ductwork hides behind walls and in ceilings and floors. But, you can check the visible parts for rips, tears, or other signs of damage. Run the system on full blast when you do it, and you’ll have a better chance of noticing air escaping.
And, here’s another tip: light some incense and trail it slowly along with the ductwork. If there’s a leak, you’ll notice the smoke coming from it twirl and move toward any opening that’s not supposed to be there.
AC Tune Ups Help Prevent Air Conditioner Problems
We’ve gone through what to do when you notice something wrong with your air conditioner. Before we wrap this up, however, we’d like to talk about AC tune-ups and how they’ll help prevent air conditioner problems like these.
With an AC tune-up in the spring, you get a full inspection of your system. A certified HVAC tech cleans it out, checks dozens of points along the way, and replaces any worn-out or broken parts.
A tune-up keeps your system running well year after year. If there’s a problem, you’ll head it off early, before the weather gets hot and you need that cooling.
If you’ve noticed problems with your AC not blowing cool air through your vents, or if you’d like us to look over your system for any other issues, call or email us at Snowflake Air today.