6 Common Air Conditioner Problems and How to Fix Them

6 Common Air Conditioner Problems and How to Fix Them

Sacramento and the surrounding areas are famous for their sizzling hot summers, where temperatures often hit triple digits. In this kind of weather, a well-functioning air conditioning system isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s an essential part of keeping your home comfy and livable. Plus, a cool and pleasant indoor environment goes a long way toward improving the quality of life for folks in the region.


In this article, we’ll take a look at some common issues homeowners in Sacramento might run into with their AC systems in 2023. We’ll go over each problem and offer practical solutions, keeping energy efficiency and cost reduction in mind—after all, we Californians know a thing or two about high energy bills.


Now, while many of the tips we’ll share can be tackled by homeowners themselves, there are times when calling in professional AC technicians like All Year is the smart move. Our pros have the know-how to diagnose and fix more complex issues, ensuring your AC system runs smoothly and lasts longer. Plus, getting your system regularly checked and maintained by seasoned experts can help prevent problems from popping up in the first place—saving you time, money, and a whole lot of discomfort.


AC Troubleshooting: 6 Common Problems and Solutions

Problem 1: AC isn’t Blowing Cold Air

Let’s talk about the most common AC issue that many homeowners face: inefficient cooling. You know – when your AC is running, but your home just doesn’t seem to get as cool and comfortable as it should be. It’s a frustrating problem, especially when you’re trying to beat the heat during those sweltering Sacramento summers.

So, what might be causing this? Here are a couple of possibilities:

  • Dirty air filters: Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on your air conditioner’s air filters, which can restrict airflow and make it harder for your system to cool your home effectively.
  • Blocked vents: If the vents throughout your home are blocked by furniture, curtains, or other obstructions, it can prevent the cool air from circulating properly.
  • Dirty outdoor unit: A dirty or obstructed outdoor unit can hinder the heat exchange process and reduce your air conditioner’s cooling efficiency. Ensure the area around the unit is clear, and clean the unit regularly to maintain proper airflow.
  • Issues with the air handler: Problems with the air handler, responsible for distributing cool air throughout your home, can impact the overall efficiency and cooling performance of your air conditioner.

Solutions for AC Cooling Issues:

  • Regularly replace air filters: Make it a habit to check and change your air filters every 1-3 months, depending on your specific system and usage. This will not only improve your AC’s cooling efficiency but also help maintain good indoor air quality.
  • Make sure your vents are clean and unblocked: Take a walk through your home and make sure all vents are free from obstructions. It’s also a good idea to give them a quick dusting or vacuuming to remove any built-up debris. With clear and clean vents, your AC will be better equipped to circulate cool air evenly throughout your living space.
  • Clean the outdoor unit: Ensure the area around the unit is clear, and clean the unit regularly to maintain proper airflow.
  • Check the AC’s air handler: Listen for any noises or vibrations coming from the unit, and inspect the air handler for any visible signs of damage or wear. Consult a professional HVAC technician if you suspect any issues.


Problem 2: High Energy Bills

High energy bills are never fun, especially when you’re trying to stay cool during the hot summer. Inefficient AC systems can be a major contributor to these increased costs, as they have to work harder and longer to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

Here’s what might be causing this issue:

  • Old, outdated systems: Older air conditioning systems tend to be less energy-efficient than newer models, which means they can use more electricity to achieve the same cooling effect.
  • Poor insulation: If your home has inadequate insulation, it’s more difficult for your AC to maintain a consistent temperature, as the cool air escapes and the hot air seeps in.

Solutions for High Energy Bills:

  • Upgrade to energy-efficient models: If your AC system is outdated, it might be time to invest in a new, energy-efficient model. Look for ones with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which will consume less electricity while still providing excellent cooling.
  • Conduct a home energy audit: A professional energy audit can identify areas in your home where you might be losing energy. The auditor will suggest improvements, such as sealing air leaks, that can help your AC system work more efficiently and lower your energy bills.
  • Install proper insulation: Proper insulation is key to maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature and reducing energy costs. Insulating your attic, walls, and floors will help keep the cool air in and the hot air out, allowing your AC to work more efficiently and use less energy in the process.


Problem 3: Uneven Cooling

Have you ever noticed that some rooms in your home feel nice and cool, while others seem to stay stubbornly warm? Uneven cooling can be a real headache, making it hard to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout your entire living space.

Here’s what might be causing this issue:

  • Ductwork issues: Leaky or poorly installed ducts can lead to uneven distribution of cool air throughout your home, causing some rooms to feel colder while others remain warm.
  • Thermostat problems: If your thermostat isn’t accurately reading the temperature or is located in a spot that gets direct sunlight or drafts, it might not be able to regulate your AC system effectively.
  • Improper installation: Incorrect installation of the air conditioner, such as poor leveling or improper sealing, can result in uneven cooling. This can also lead to other issues, such as reduced efficiency and increased wear and tear on the system.
  • Incorrect air conditioner size: An air conditioner that is too small or too large for your home can struggle to maintain even temperatures throughout the space.
  • Damaged or worn-out components: Aging or malfunctioning parts within your air conditioner, such as the compressor, evaporator coil, or blower motor, can lead to inefficient cooling and uneven temperatures.

Solutions for Uneven Cooling:

  • Inspect and repair ductwork: Have a professional HVAC technician inspect your ductwork for any leaks, blockages, or poor connections. Repairing or sealing any issues will help improve air circulation and ensure cool air is distributed evenly throughout your home.
  • Check and recalibrate your thermostat: Make sure your thermostat is functioning correctly by comparing its temperature reading with an accurate thermometer. If there’s a discrepancy, you may need to recalibrate it. Additionally, consider relocating your thermostat to a more central location or an area that doesn’t get direct sunlight or drafts, so it can better regulate your AC system.
  • Check the AC’s fan speed settings: Some air conditioners have multiple fan speed settings. Make sure the fan speed is set to an appropriate level to distribute cool air throughout your home effectively.
  • Clean the evaporator and condenser coils: Dirty evaporator and condenser coils can reduce your AC system’s efficiency and contribute to uneven cooling. Regularly clean these coils to ensure optimum performance and even cooling.
  • Verify proper installation: Have a professional HVAC technician assess the installation to ensure it’s up to standard.
  • Evaluate the AC’s capacity: An air conditioner that is too small for your home may struggle to cool all areas evenly. Consult with a professional HVAC technician to determine if your AC unit has the appropriate capacity for your home, and consider upgrading to a larger system if necessary.
  • Optimize airflow in the AC unit: Make sure that the air conditioner’s internal components, such as the blower fan and motor, are clean and functioning properly. This will help ensure that the cool air is being effectively distributed throughout your home.

Problem 4: Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are more than just an inconvenience; they can pose serious risks. Not only do they affect your AC system’s performance and efficiency, but they can also be harmful to the environment and potentially hazardous to your health. Leaking refrigerant can damage your air conditioner’s components, increase energy consumption, and release harmful chemicals into the air.

Keep an eye out for these signs of a refrigerant leak:

  • Reduced cooling efficiency or warm air coming from the vents
  • Hissing or bubbling noises near the AC unit
  • Ice formation on the evaporator coil or refrigerant lines
  • Unusually high energy bills

Solutions for Refrigerant Leaks

  • Replace damaged components: In some cases, refrigerant leaks can be caused by damaged components such as the evaporator coil or the condenser coil. If a professional technician identifies these parts as the source of the leak, you may need to replace them to prevent further leakage and damage to your AC system.
  • Inspect and replace refrigerant lines: Sometimes, refrigerant leaks can occur in the refrigerant lines themselves due to wear and tear, corrosion, or damage. Regularly inspect these lines for any signs of leakage or damage, and replace them as needed.
  • Use leak sealants: For minor refrigerant leaks, certain leak sealants can be used as a temporary solution. However, this should only be done by a professional HVAC technician who can determine if a sealant is appropriate for your specific situation. Keep in mind that sealants are not permanent fix and should not be used as a substitute for proper repairs.
  • Contact a professional HVAC technician: Refrigerant leaks should be handled by professionals, as they have the necessary expertise and equipment to safely locate and repair the leak, as well as recharge your system with the correct amount of refrigerant.

Problem 5: Strange Noises

It can be quite concerning when your AC system starts making weird noises, like banging, rattling, or screeching sounds. These noises can be a sign that something isn’t quite right with your air conditioner and should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage.

Some potential causes of these noises include:

  • Loose or damaged parts: Components within your AC system, such as the fan blades, motor, or belts, can become loose or damaged over time, causing unsettling sounds.
  • Debris in the outdoor unit: Twigs, leaves, or other debris can sometimes find their way into your outdoor unit, obstructing the fan or other components and creating noise.

Solutions for Strange AC Noises

  • Tighten screws and bolts: Loose screws and bolts can cause parts to vibrate or rattle when the system is running. Carefully inspect your AC unit and tighten any loose screws or bolts you find, ensuring that all components are secure.
  • Inspect and clean the indoor and outdoor units: Dirt, dust, or debris can accumulate on various components of your AC system, causing noises when the system is running. Regularly clean both the indoor and outdoor units, paying close attention to the fan blades, condenser coils, and air filters.
  • Check the ductwork: Unusual noises can sometimes come from the ductwork, especially if it has become loose, damaged, or is vibrating against other structures. Inspect your ducts for any issues, and if necessary, use duct tape or mastic sealant to secure and seal any loose connections or gaps.
  • Insulate noisy components: If you’re experiencing noise from your AC system that seems to be related to the normal operation of certain components (such as the compressor), consider adding insulation or soundproofing materials around these parts to dampen the sound.
  • Balance the fan blades: Unbalanced fan blades can cause a wobbling or vibrating noise. Inspect the fan blades for any signs of damage or debris, and make sure they’re properly balanced. If needed, you can use a fan blade balancing kit, which is available at most home improvement stores.
  • Contact a professional HVAC technician for repairs: If you’re experiencing strange noises from your AC system, it’s best to consult a professional. They can accurately diagnose the issue, safely remove any debris, and repair or replace any damaged components. Remember, it’s always better to act quickly when it comes to unusual noises, as they can be a sign of a bigger issue that could worsen if left unattended.

Problem 6: Frequent Cycling

Frequent cycling is when your AC system turns on and off more often than it should, struggling to maintain a consistent temperature in your home. Not only can this be annoying, but it can also put unnecessary strain on your AC system, leading to increased wear and tear and higher energy bills.

A couple of possible reasons for frequent cycling include:

  • Improperly sized system: If your AC system is too small or too large for your home, it may have trouble maintaining a consistent temperature, resulting in frequent cycling.
  • Thermostat issues: A malfunctioning thermostat or one that’s placed in an area with direct sunlight or drafts can cause inaccurate temperature readings, leading to frequent cycling.
  • Dirty or clogged air filters: When air filters are dirty or clogged, the airflow is restricted, causing the air conditioner to work harder and cycle more frequently.
  • Dirty or blocked condenser coils: When the condenser coils are dirty or blocked, the heat exchange process is hindered, causing the air conditioner to cycle more frequently to compensate.
  • Electrical issues: Problems with wiring, relays, or capacitors can cause your air conditioner to cycle on and off more often than it should.
  • High ambient temperatures: On extremely hot days, your air conditioner may cycle more frequently as it works harder to maintain the desired indoor temperature.

Solutions for Frequent Cycling:

  • Have a professional assess and resize the system if necessary: If you suspect your AC system is not the right size for your home, consult with a professional HVAC technician. They can assess your system and recommend the appropriate size if a replacement is needed.
  • Check and recalibrate the thermostat: Ensure that your thermostat is functioning correctly by comparing its temperature reading with an accurate thermometer. If there’s a discrepancy, you may need to recalibrate it. Additionally, consider relocating your thermostat to a more central location or an area that doesn’t get direct sunlight or drafts, so it can better regulate your AC system.
  • Clean your air filters: Regularly check, clean, and replace air filters to ensure proper airflow, which helps reduce the frequency of cycling.
  • Clean condenser coils: Clean the condenser coils regularly to ensure efficient heat exchange and prevent frequent cycling.
  • Address electrical issues: Have a professional HVAC technician inspect and repair any electrical problems, such as faulty wiring, relays, or capacitors.
  • Improve home insulation and ventilation: Enhance insulation and ventilation to maintain a more consistent indoor temperature, reducing the workload on your air conditioner during hot weather and minimizing frequent cycling.

Keeping Cool in the Sacramento Heat

As a homeowner, it’s essential to prioritize regular maintenance and energy-efficient upgrades to ensure your air conditioning system functions efficiently and effectively. Taking care of your AC system will not only keep your home comfortable but also help you save on energy costs in the long run.


As the number one HVAC company for professional AC repairs in Sacramento, we’re committed to providing top-notch customer service and reliable solutions to all your AC needs. Whether you’re dealing with a minor issue or a major breakdown, our team has the skills and expertise to get your AC up and running smoothly in no time.

So don’t let air conditioner problems ruin your comfort this season. Call All Year Heating & Air Conditioning today at (916) 922-7796 or email us at info@allyearah.com to schedule your maintenance check or AC repair service. We’re here to help keep you cool and comfortable!