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Is Your AC Malfunctioning? 9 Excellent Troubleshooting Tips That Might Fix It

Are you hearing funny noises from your air conditioner lately? Is it smelly or turning on and off automatically? What about the cooling system? 

If you’re struggling to find an answer to these problems, this article is for you. We’ve put together nine excellent tips for troubleshooting your AC problem and how to approach it. 

Learning about these troubleshooting tips might fix your AC without a professional electrician. So let’s not waste any more time and get into the troubleshooting. 

9 Excellent Troubleshooting Tips to Try Fixing Your Pesky Air Conditioner  

No matter how carefully you run your air conditioner, it will have some troubles now and then. However, it’s not always possible to call an electrician for AC repair services. That’s why you need to be equipped to identify and resolve the problems sometimes. 

Hence, whether you’re a professional electrician yourself or not, the tips in this article will help you in getting your AC running smoothly again. Even if you can’t solve it completely, you’ll know about the exact problem, so the electrician can’t rip you off with vague services.

But remember, the importance of AC maintenance is undeniable, whether it be by yourself or a pro. 

Nonetheless, here are the troubleshooting tips in the following:

  • Troubleshooting the Warm Air

When your AC is blowing warm or hot air instead of cool air, something’s not right there. A constant condition like this can worsen your air conditioner’s function. You may reduce thermostat power by five degrees to reverse the condition. If the warm exhalation persists, try troubleshooting the following parts:

  • Check if the evaporator is unclean. 
  • Check the air filter if it’s dirty too. 
  • Check whether the refrigerant levels are very low.


  • To clean a dirty evaporator, apply warm water and detergent to the evaporator. Let it soak to loosen the dirt. Then wipe the loose dirt away with a brush or a soft cloth. 
  • Change the air filter once or twice a month.
  • Add refrigerant (fluorocarbon) for maintaining cooling function properly. 
  • Troubleshooting Power Fluctuation (On and Off)

When you notice your air conditioner turning on and off on its own, it’s called short cycling. This is caused due to a dirty air filter. A clogged condenser and evaporator may also contribute to this problem. 

However, another big issue behind this trouble may be traced back to your house’s power system. If the AC is overpowering your house’s power system, then this fluctuation can take place. 


  • Keep the dirty air filter in a mix of vinegar and warm water for an hour. Then wash it with a hose thoroughly. 
  • Use a dry/wet vacuum cleaner to clean the condenser. Remove all dirt, grass, leaves, and debris from the fins and around the condenser. 
  • Clean the evaporator as mentioned in the previous problem. 
  • Troubleshooting Problematic Air Flow 

Airflow through the AC’s ducts may be interrupted even though the unit is functional. On other occasions, the air flow may be warm. Such troubles may arise if:

  • The blower belt is worn.
  • The circuit breaker is tripped.
  • The refrigerant level has lowered.


  • Turn off all the devices in the house. Then check the fuse box to locate the tripped circuit breaker. Turn the handle to Off and then to On. Now turn on the AC first. See if the airflow is okay now. 
  • To replace the worn blower belt, turn off the AC and pull the belt off while slowly swinging the pulley. Then place the new blower belt on the pulley. 
  • Add refrigerant to increase the refrigerant levels. 
  • Troubleshooting Your Dead AC 

If your AC isn’t turning on once it turns off automatically or due to a power outage, this is usually the result of faulty wiring or a tripped circuit breaker. 


  • Locate the tripped circuit breaker inside the fuse box or service panel and fix it as instructed in the previous problem. 
  • If the problem possibly lies with the faulty wiring, call a professional electrician instead of trying to fix it yourself. 
  • Troubleshooting Your AC That’s Running Nonstop

If you’re constantly running your AC during the scorching summer heat, there’s a high chance of it getting stuck in the middle. So it’s expected that you let it rest now and then. Running constantly, your air conditioner can break down suddenly. Even if it doesn’t, your utility bills will start going through the roof. 


  • Check the thermostat first. If it’s not running, the problem may lie in its batteries. Change the batteries and see if it turns on. 
  • If the problem doesn’t exist in the thermostat, it may be caused due to a broken compressor. Remove and replace the troubling compressor.  
  • Troubleshooting a Smelly AC 

If you’re smelling something odd from your air conditioner, possibilities are it has some electrical fault going on inside the system. Let’s find out how to troubleshoot this problem:


  • If the smell is musty, check the AC’s air filter. Wash it as instructed before or replace it completely. 
  • If it smells like electric burning, then don’t check the system yourself. Call a professional electrician to take care of it. 
  • Also, have your AC inspected and cleaned by a pro if you’re busy or can’t handle it yourself. 
  • Troubleshooting a Freezing Condenser Coil 

The condenser coil in your AC can freeze up due to clogged air filters, low fan speed, dirty evaporator coil, etc. Having faced such problems, the air conditioner will show hiccups while running. Apart from that, it’ll cost you much higher bills than usual. 

Running your air conditioner without any break can turn the condenser coil blocked and disorderly. 


  • Check the condenser coil to see if there’s ice on it. If there is, shut the AC off from the service panel and let the ice thaw. It may take up to 20-24 hours to completely melt. 
  • Check if the air filter is dirty. Wash it with warm water and vinegar. Replace it if needed. 
  • Troubleshooting a Noisy AC 

When you hear awkward noises from your air conditioner, it’s probably because of the blower belt or motor. There might be thick dust or dirt piled on them, making unpleasant sounds. 


  • You can remove the blower belt from the AC, clean it, and replace it. Also, replace it with a newer one as instructed in the earlier (airflow) problem. 
  • Regular maintenance, cleaning, and repairing by yourself or a professional should be followed. 
  • Troubleshooting If Your AC is Leaking Liquid

Leaking water and refrigerant is usual for an air conditioner. But when you see it leaking an unusual liquid, especially something that looks bright, this might hint at a major problem. Besides, water leaking inside the home instead of the outside can add up to the problems as well. 

Leaking strained liquid and water inside the house could originate from a condensated and clogged drain line. This is alarming since it may attract mold, dust, and dirt. 


  • Unless you’re highly experienced and skilled in dealing with the parts and components of an air conditioner, leave it to a professional. Just turn off your AC and call a certified electrician to fix the leaking problem. 

Is It Okay to Troubleshoot Your Air Conditioner by Yourself? 

Not unless you’re a certified HVAC professional. It’s risky getting your hands on the unit when you know very little about the system. It’s not about just unscrewing the box or simple wiring or battery installation stuff. 

An AC contains a very critical function and complex components. Misjudging the problem and putting in the wrong components may end up destroying the whole unit. It’s not wise to spend a fortune unnecessarily trying to save a few pennies. 

So if you notice the warning signs in your AC, contact an HVAC professional contractor, so they can attend and address the problem proficiently. 

You can create these problems by trying to work on your AC:

  • Compromised Electrical Safety: Inexperienced handling of the AC components may lead to inhaling gasses and toxic fumes, which is dangerous to your health.  
  • Unnecessary Repair Costs: Repairing one component clumsily may cause a more critical component to losing its function, hence compromising the whole unit.  
  • Warranty Void: Since HVAC works are under warranty, working on the unit yourself will invalidate the company’s warranty. 
  • Excessive Bills: Having your AC worked by someone with insufficient skills can lead to more problems and excessive monthly bills.

Wrapping up

Troubleshooting your own air conditioner may not be rocket science, but it’s still complex. Diagnosing and treating the problems in an AC unit requires professional attention—so it’s better you don’t intervene unless you’re absolutely equipped with the skills and tools. 

Troubleshooting simpler problems can be okay, but trickier problems like a clogged condenser or leaking might require the attention of a pro. You shouldn’t try to save dimes only to end up with shocking bills and expenses due to underskilled service. 

And also, maintain your air conditioner on a weekly and monthly basis, including inspecting, cleaning, washing, and repairing by a certified HVAC pro.

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