When the dog days of summer hit and temperature settle in the triple digits, you’re sure to be ecstatic about the fact that you have an air conditioning unit hooked up to your central air system. With the touch of a button you can have the cool and comfortable interior you crave. Of course, even if you perform regular maintenance on your system, there may come a day when you crank the thermostat and nothing comes out of the vents but hot air. And the last thing you want when you’re beset by sweltering heat is to have more heat pumping into your home. However, knowing what might be causing the problem can help you to solve it and get back to the cool interior you crave. Here are just a few common issues and what you can do to address your HVAC woes.
- User error. It’s a long shot that you’ve somehow messed up and turned on the heat instead of the AC, but if you’re expecting cold air and hot air issues forth from your vents instead, your first trip should be to the thermostat to see if you accidentally hit the wrong button or programmed your unit incorrectly. If this is the case, it’s easy enough to fix and it won’t cost you a dime (unless, of course, your thermostat is broken and in need of replacement). So you should probably cross your fingers and hope that you’ve make a mistake.
- Unit failure. The other extreme is a complete failure of your AC unit due to age, poor maintenance, or other issues. This is not as likely as some other issues that could cause hot air to fill your home, but it definitely happens. And while repair may be an option, you’re probably better off replacing a unit that is totally thrashed with something more energy efficient that is guaranteed to function for many years to come.
- Refrigerant problems. Refrigerant is required to absorb the heat from the air drawn into your AC unit so that cool air can be pumped through your ducts and into your living spaces. Over time your refrigerant levels can wane, or you might experience a leak. Either way, you’re going to have to recharge the refrigerant and you may have to do some repairs. And a qualified technician should be called in to take care of this problem for you.
- Condenser issues. If the condenser loses power or the coils become clogged with debris, you could definitely feel warm air when you turn on the AC in your home. However, you could potentially address both issues on your own. You may simply have to reconnect the power to your unit or flip a breaker in order to get things running properly again. And you can definitely clean condenser coils on your own, especially with the help of tutorials. But you might want to call for professional help to make sure the job is done right if you’re not comfortable with DIY fixes.
- Clogged filters. This is an extremely common issue, and while it won’t necessarily cause hot air to issue from your vents, it can significantly reduce the output of cool air. If your condenser gets clogged as a result of clogged filters, though, you will likely experience issues with warm air. And if you take the time to learn more about indoor air quality, you’ll discover that clogged filters can also be detrimental to your health. Luckily, this is a cheap and easy fix in most cases since you can quickly replace filters on your own between HVAC services.