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My AC is Blowing Hot: What Now?

Published on: June 19, 2014
Man sweating next to fan | AC Southeast

There’s nothing worse than turning on your air conditioner on a hot, steamy summer night and finding that your vents are blowing nothing but hot, steamy air. Fortunately, it’s possible to diagnose and fix an air conditioner that blows hot air with relative ease.

Check Your Thermostat

Although it sounds too easy to be true, many of these situations are caused by human error. If your thermostat is set improperly, it’s possible for your air conditioning vents to blow hot air during warm periods. This is especially likely to occur during transitional-season heat waves that may follow on the heels of colder weather. If your temperature controls are still set to keep your living space warm on chilly nights, they might produce uncomfortable heat when temperatures rise. To address this issue, simply turn your thermostat into the neutral position, reset the temperature to a cooler reading and activate your air conditioning system.

How’s Your AC Refrigerant Doing?

Other “hot” AC problems aren’t caused by human error at all. Instead, they’re the result of refrigerant leaks that may go undetected for days or even weeks. When an air conditioning system functions normally, its refrigerant constantly exchanges heat with the outside environment and rapidly cools the air that passes through it. When its refrigerant leaks, however, the volume of this liquid becomes insufficient to cool the air. Iced-over pipes and coils are telltale signs of a refrigerant leak. Depending on the severity of the problem, air drawn into the system may remain at its original temperature or get even warmer as it passes near hot machinery components. In either case, it’s best to consult a HVAC professional to address refrigerant leaks.

Coils and Filters

Buildups of dust, dirt and other pollutants can affect an air conditioner’s performance, as well. Periodically check your system’s coils for accumulations that can reduce their efficiency. Likewise, remove and visually inspect all filters at regular intervals to ensure they remain clean. Filters tend to become dirty during periods of prolonged use, so this should be a monthly activity during the height of the cooling season. After you clean and replace these components, it may take a few hours for your air conditioner to return to peak performance.

Professional AC Repair

Although these simple fixes can take care of many AC temperature issues, some malfunctioning units – especially those afflicted with refrigerant leaks – require the attention of a licensed HVAC professional. If you can’t seem to fix an air conditioner that’s blowing hot air, we’re here to help you located a reputable contractor in your area. Just use our convenient search tools to find a pro in your neck of the woods.