Why Is My Central AC Running But Not Cooling The House? 5 Reasons

It can be very stressful when the weather is hot and you’re relying on your air conditioner to cool your home, but it’s not doing so.

One common issue with air conditioning units is that you will hear them run, but they will not cool your home as they should.

When this occurs, it’s usually one of several issues.

Today, we will discuss the top problems that cause these issues.

List Of Common issues If Your Home AC is running but not cooling

  • Compressor Malfunctioned
  • Start Relay Failed
  • Refrigerant Leak
  • Dirty Condenser Coils
  • Air Leak In The Ductwork

Failed Compressor

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system.

It is responsible for pressurizing the refrigerant so it can do the job of absorbing heat from the air, and release it to the outdoors.

When it fails, it’s an expensive fix and may even require you to replace your home’s entire cooling system.

Here are the common symptoms you’ll notice when the compressor fails:

  1. The compressor will not turn on at all
  2. The system will still blow air, but the air will be hot
  3. The system keeps tripping the breaker in the circuit box
  4. The outside unit visibly shakes when it first starts up
  5. The outside condensing unit begins to make strange noises

When you suspect the compressor is bad, it’s best to call a certified air conditioning technician to come out and check the system.

To prevent this, it’s important to get on a regular service schedule.

Also, this will help you to already have a relationship with a reliable tech for when an issue does arise.

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Failed Start Relay

The air conditioner start relay is used to send electrical power to the compressor when the system is turned on.

It works just like any other relay, and is controlled by the button labeled “A/C”.

One of the main symptoms is that the unit will run, but not produce cold air.

Here are some other common symptoms:

  1. The compressor begins to work randomly. As the relay begins to wear out and overheats, the compressor will begin to work at random intervals. This is due to the electrical contacts inside not having a good connection.
  2. Only warm air will blow from the vents. This will also be accompanied by the normal “click” sound that you hear when an A/C unit turns on.
  3. A blinking A/C light may be showing to alert you that there is an issue with the system. While this doesn’t always happen with a failed relay, it does sometimes.

Freon Leak Inside the System

If your air conditioning unit begins to blow warm air, rather than cold air, or is simply not cooling like it used to, it may have a Freon or refrigerant leak that needs to be repaired.

Since you must be certified to deal with Freon, it’s best to call a reputable air conditioning company to check your system.

They will assess your system for leaks and get your unit blowing cold air once again.

Just remember, don’t put this off because left too long you can end up needing more repairs in the long run.

The refrigerant, or Freon, in your air conditioner is a type of coolant that plays an important role in the cooling of your home.

Every type of air conditioner unit contains Freon in the copper coils, and it’s how you are able to cool your home to the correct temperature, as set on the thermostat.

Here are 5 key signs that you have a coolant or Freon leak:

  1. Your air conditioner does not cool to the set temperature
  2. Hot air comes out of your vents
  3. The AC unit begins to make a hissing noise
  4. The Evaporator coils become frozen
  5. You notice a sudden spike in your monthly electric bill

As we mentioned, this is not the type of repair you want to ignore.

Not only, can it lead to more repairs being required in the future, but leaking Freon is a health hazard, and can be toxic.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Condenser coils are another important part of any air conditioning system. It plays a major role in the cooling process.

Since the coils are located outside, they are susceptible to the buildup of dirt overtime.

If you don’t put a plan in place to keep the coils clean, it can lead to problems after a while.

Essentially, condenser coils are located in the outdoor unit portion of your A/C system.

Refrigerant travels through the coils to carry heat from inside your home.

As your outdoor unit blows air over the coils, the heat from the refrigerant is transferred to the outside air.

Thus, effectively removing heat from your home.

The best way to keep the coils clean is to hire a professional company to complete a yearly maintenance on your system.

During the “tune-up”, they will perform a full-system cleaning, and check the overall status of the entire system.

The coils can be hard to access, but if you wish to clean them on your own – you can.

Simply mix warm water and a simple detergent inside a spray bottle, garden sprayer, or hand sprayer.

Apply the solution to the coils, and let it soak a few seconds to a few minutes.

Then rinse with a garden hose. Reapply as needed.

Air Leaks in the Ductwork

According to Energy Star, nearly 20% of air that moves through A/C ductwork is lost due to leaks.

This problem can cause your cooling system to work harder than it needs to.

If your air conditioner runs, but doesn’t cool your home you should inspect the ducts for leaks.

You’ll want to check for gaps, poor connections, or cracks around every air duct seam in your system.

If you are knowledge and know how to access the ductwork, visually inspect it yourself and repair any issues you find.

However, this is a job that’s usually best left to professionals.

Here are some signs you may have leaky ductwork:

  • Higher than usual monthly electric bills
  • Rooms that are difficult to cool or heat
  • Rooms that seem uncomfortable or “stuffy”
  • You notice loose, tangled, damaged, or collapsed ducts
  • Increase allergy problems

If you find that your air ducts are leaking, it’s best to take care of this problem immediately.

An HVAC professional will pressurize the system and locate any leaks that are present.

Have you dealt with an air conditioning unit that ran, but didn’t cool? What was the problem?

Did you make the repairs yourself or contact an HVAC technician? Comment and let us know.

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