What to do When Your Air Conditioner Blows Warm Air

Hearing your air conditioner kick on and feeling a sudden rush of warm air is jarring to say the least. Especially when the temperature outside is firmly in the triple digits. Read on for tips to help you keep your cool and troubleshoot the problem with the expertise of Chas Roberts.

Check your thermostat settings

First things first, make sure your system is on and set to cool rather than heat. Even if you’re certain you have it set correctly, your thermostat may have been touched by someone else in your home. If everything looks right, check the fan settings next. If the fan is set to on, it will blow even when the air conditioner isn’t running, resulting in only the circulation of air which may feel warm. Try changing the setting to auto and see if that fixes the problem. If not, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Check for airflow restrictions

Your air conditioner may be blowing warm air because of obstructions during the cooling process. Check to make sure there isn’t anything restricting airflow along the way.

Air filters

A dirty air filter can stop cool air in its tracks. Keep things flowing smoothly by changing your filters regularly. We recommend changing them at least every three months. But, if you have pets, or if someone in your home is sensitive to allergens, it’s best to replace your filters every 30 days.

Outdoor unit (condenser coils)

The condenser is the technical name for the portion of your air conditioner that’s located outdoors. The condenser cabinet contains the condenser coil, compressor, and fan. Condenser coils are prone to accumulating dirt, dust, and grime over time. Dirty condenser coils are especially common in desert climates, such as Arizona, due to the amount of dirt and dust in the air. When the coils are dirty, air flow is limited, and hot air becomes trapped in the condenser. This leaves your air conditioner unable to remove heat from your home, and ends up blowing warm, stuffy air.

To clean condenser coils, you can use a soft brush attachment to vacuum away debris, or a hose to wash away dust until the surface is clean and clear. Before cleaning, be sure to turn off the power to your air conditioner. If you use a hose, wait until the unit is dry before turning the power back on. This is also a good time to take a look at any plant growth near the base or sides of the unit. A good rule of thumb is to keep all plants and weeds at least two feet away, so that they won’t interfere with efficiency or cause damage as they continue to grow.

Call a professional

If the steps above don’t solve your cooling problems, the problem could benefit from the trained eyes and skilled hands of a profressional. The good news is, HVAC experts are trained to fix even the most frustrating problems with ease. After a thorough inspection, the technician may conclude that your air conditioner is blowing hot air because of:

Refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant plays a vital role in heat exchange, the process that brings cool air to your home. It flows through the coils and compressor within your air conditioner, absorbing heat as it evaporates into gas. By absorbing heat from its surroundings, refrigerant helps make the air cooler. When it comes down to it, you can’t have a working air conditioner without the right amount of refrigerant. Having too much, or too little, can impact your air conditioner’s ability to cool your home effectively. Along with blowing warm air, your air conditioner may:

  • Turn on and off frequently
  • Leak water
  • Make a hissing or bubbling noise
  • Cause a sudden increase in your energy bills

Refrigerant is colorless and odorless, which makes identifying leaks difficult for the untrained eye. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional if you suspect your air conditioner may be leaking refrigerant. At Chas Roberts, we check refrigerant levels and identify leaks as part of our 26-point maintenance plan. If a leak is found, simply adding more refrigerant isn’t an effective solution. Our experts work to restore the charge of the system to the manufacturer’s specifications in order to repair the leak.

If the leaks are serious, or the problem is recurring, it may be a good idea to replace the refrigerant coil altogether. While a replacement comes with a higher upfront cost than a repair, you’ll be better protected against future leaks.

Leaking air ducts

A duct system helps deliver and remove air from your home through a controlled path. This path begins at an outlet connected to your air conditioner and runs throughout your home. Over time, the ducts in your home can develop cracks, holes, or tears. In addition, many homes are fitted with incorrectly sized ducts. If your ducts are compromised, cool air can escape before it reaches the room. Since ductwork is commonly located behind walls, in the attic, or beneath floors, it’s up to a professional to access and evaluate your ducts for any signs of problems. If leaks are present, sealing your ducts with caulk or adhesives can restore proper airflow.

Failing compressor

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioner. Just as your heart circulates blood to your organs, the compressor circulates energy to the refrigerant that flows throughout the system. Blowing warm air and decreased airflow are two of the most noticeable signs of compressor failure. You may also notice abnormal screeching noises, frequent shutoffs or hard starts, and puddles of moisture around the air conditioner itself.

Replacing a failing compressor is an option, but not a financially sound one. Because it’s so essential to the air conditioner, compressor repairs can be very expensive. In general, it’s better to invest in a new air conditioner if you have a failing compressor, especially if your system is approaching 10 years old. In the harsh Arizona climate, air conditioners rarely last more than a decade, and throwing money at an aging system isn’t always the best strategy.

Keep it cool: Trust Chas Roberts for our AC needs

When your air conditioner isn’t working at its best, call in the experts to make things right. From refrigerant leaks and condenser problems to shopping for a shiny new system, we want to be your go-to expert along every step of your air-conditioning journey. Contact us to get started.