7 Common AC Problems and How to Fix Them

Common A/C Issues:

1.   Refrigerant is Leaking

2.   AC Unit Won't Turn On

3.   Frozen Coil

4.   Unit Cycles On and Off

5.   A/C Smells Weird

6.   Unit Blows Hot Air

7.   Weak Airflow

You wake up drenched in a layer of sweat, peel the covers off, but still find no relief.

The air conditioner is broken.

It’s the first hot day of the summer, and you’ve already got the cell phone in hand to contact air conditioner repair techs at Hot Point because the thought of suffering through the heat with no air conditioning is simply unthinkable.

Simple DIY Maintenance Saves the Time and Cost of Repairs

However, as much as we’re willing and able to come out and take a look at the unit in your home, you may save yourself some coin by troubleshooting the problem and making easy fixes on your own. Some AC problems can be easily diagnosed and fixed if you’re even somewhat mechanically inclined.

Before performing ANY preventive maintenance on your central or window air conditioning unit, be sure to flip the breaker to the “off” position.


The Most Common Air Conditioner Problems

1. Refrigerant is Leaking

Common AC Problems and Solutions Getting your AC up and running again may be easier than you think.

The unit in your house was either undercharged at installation, or it leaks.

Just adding refrigerant to the unit is not a real solution. It might feel right, but it isn’t. The amount of refrigerant in the unit must be very precise and exactly match the manufacturer’s specification. Understand that an undercharged installation is rare, and if your AC unit is low on refrigerant, a leak is most likely the problem and needs to be fixed immediately. You need to figure out why your AC is leaking and what you can do to fix it.


For commercial establishments with an immediate need for cooling, re-charging may be necessary initially to keep the business running. However, you need to find and fix the leak to repair the problem.

Repairing a leak in your AC system is often best left to an experienced professional. Especially if the leak is in a valve, access port, the condensing or evaporator coils. These repairs involve will often involve some heavy duty soldering.

Try a Freon Leak Repair Kit

If you manage to diagnose the problem as a small refrigerant leak, you may be able to make a quick fix. For residential and small commercial AC systems, you may use a Freon leak repair kit for small leaks within the system. The compressor sucks the sealant through the system and repairs small leaks.

If your AC unit continues to leak refrigerant, contact us at Hot Point today. We’ll let you know what it will take to fix the leak, and if you’re best off repairing or replacing your air conditioner.

Beware of Scammers

One of the most common scams in the HVAC industry is the "top off your refrigerant" service call. Critical note: HVAC companies are not refrigerant delivery drivers. If you've got an AC repair tech out to your home every 6 months to top off your refrigerant, you're getting scammed. Don't fall for it. Your A/C is leaking. Simply topping it off and waiting until it's low again is not a solution.

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2. Blower Motor Won’t Turn On

When your air conditioner fails to start and the blower motor won’t fire up, there could be a number of problems with your unit.


It could be as simple as a tripped breaker. Check your breaker panel. Your A/C unit likely has two different breakers, one for the condenser and another for the fan. If it’s tripped halfway, turn it all the way off first and turn it back on. If the breaker continues to flip when you attempt to start the unit, the breaker could be faulty and need replacing.

The overflow shut-off switch could also be the source of the problem. Either a clogged drain line has set off the switch and killed power to the unit, or the switch itself has gone bad. Ensure the drain line or hose is unclogged and working as it’s supposed to.

Beyond that, faulty or damaged wiring could be the reason. In this case, you’re likely better off hiring an HVAC professional to troubleshoot your thermostat and the rest of the wiring running to and from your air conditioner. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, this likely isn’t worth tackling on your own.

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3. The Coil Is Frozen

Frozen window air conditioner Restricted airflow to the coils in your AC could cause it to freeze up.

A frozen coil is one of the most common reasons air conditioners won’t blow cold air. Fortunately, it’s also a problem that can often be solved without having to call for professional repairs.


There are many reasons why your air conditioner coil is freezing up:

  • Airflow is restricted (usually from a dirty filter)
  • AC is low on refrigerant
  • Temperature outside is too low—usually happens overnight
  • Broken parts

Turn off the A/C and set the fan to run (usually “auto”) on your thermostat to melt the ice around the coil. Check the air filter and evaporator coil for dirt and debris. Clean it up. Check the ductwork for obstructions or disconnections, and ensure no registers are blocked. If your AC still freezes up, you either have low refrigerant (a leak!) or the refrigerant line could be damaged.

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4. Unit Cycles On and Off—Short Cycling

When your air conditioner repeatedly starts and stops every couple of minutes, the culprit could, unfortunately, be one of many things. The problem could be as simple as a bad thermostat, dirty filter or refrigerant leak. Or, it could be a more structural issue—your thermostat placement could be causing the problem, or the AC system itself is simply too large for your home or place of business.


This is often closely related to the causes of a frozen air conditioner, so take the same measures to attempt to resolve the problem.

It’s becoming a broken record, start by cleaning or replacing the filter. This is the most common cause for air conditioner problems. Same goes for a refrigerant leak. We can’t stress it enough: simply topping off your Freon doesn’t solve anything. You need to find the leak and fix it.

If you've tried everything, at a loss and repairs are beyond your capability, contact Hot Point now, and we’ll get it done. We won’t become your refrigerant delivery service and charge you hundreds of dollars you don’t need to be spending. Our techs find and fix problems instead of treating the symptoms.

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5. AC Smells Weird

When water collects in your air conditioning unit’s HVAC box, bacteria builds up and can cause a foul odor that resembles the scent of urine or vinegar. When you turn on your a/c in these conditions, it can leave your whole house smelling fresh in the worst way. The problem could be leaking antifreeze, a nest of wild animals, an old filter, or a sneaky pet. But what happens when opening your windows and spraying air freshener doesn’t fix the smell?


There is no way to know exactly what is wrong with your smelly A/C unit without having it inspected. Sure, it’s just a smell, but, depending on what’s wrong with your unit, your health could be at risk.

First, check to see if there is any damage to the outside of your unit. Has any animal gotten in? Does your pet have easy access to it? Look at your filter—it might need to be replaced. If you can’t find a solution for your smelly air conditioner, you might have a leak and you will need it fixed as soon as possible. Contact Hot Point now, and we’ll get it done. We’re a quick, efficient, and honest Wisconsin HVAC service interested in keeping your home comfortable year-round.

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6. Air Conditioner Blows Hot Air

It’s a summer day, and you’ve just discovered that your AC unit is blowing hot air. Before doing anything else, check your thermostat. Make sure you haven’t accidentally left or set it on “heat” or “fan”. Putting it on “cool” or “auto” should fix your problem. This is a common accident that can be caused by a simple slip or bump of your finger.


You’re still reading, which might not be a good thing. You’ve checked your thermostat, it’s not on “heat” or “fan”, but your AC is still pumping out hot air. Now, it’s time to contact the professionals.

There is no way to know exactly what is wrong with your A/C unit without us being able to give it a look. Your air conditioner is blowing heat instead of cool air, you might just need a small repair, but if you don’t get it checked out soon, you might risk some costly expenses down the road.

BBB accredited Hot Point Heating and Air Conditioning is the best HVAC service in Wisconsin because of our quick, honest service. Call us at 262-567-9505 to contact Waukesha heating and cooling professionals, available 24/7. Hot Point keeps your home regulated, no chills, no sweat.

Hot Point offers both residential and commercial HVAC service in Waukesha. Contact us for a quote!

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7. Weak AC Unit

Have you noticed that your AC unit is not running as strongly as it used to? Does it take a while for your AC to cool down your home? There is a chance that your air conditioning unit could be clogged. You see, your AC system is comprised of 2 main parts: an outside unit and inside unit. These units work as a team to remove heat from your home, but in order to do that efficiently, unrestricted airflow needs to be present in your outside unit.

Take a look at your outside AC unit. Is it clogged? If dirt, leaves, or other types of debris have collected inside pipes or around your unit, the solution could be an easy one.


First, you could try a simple sweep. Unclogging an AC unit could be as simple as pushing debris away from your outside unit, making sure that bushes, grass, and weeds are all tamed so airflow is not restricted.

If you don’t see any debris, your AC unit’s drains might be clogged. Using a shopvac or plumbers’ snake are all possible solutions in this situation, but, if you cannot remove the debris yourself, it’s time to give Hot Point a call.

Although removing debris could strengthen your AC, there are still many other possibilities as to why your AC unit might be operating weakly. If you don’t get it checked out soon, you might risk some expensive costs later on.

Hot Point Heating and Air Conditioning is the best HVAC service in Wisconsin for you because of its focus on A/C repairs and maintenance services. Call us at 262-567-9505 to contact Waukesha heating and cooling professionals, any time or day of the week. Hot Point will have your solution quickly so you can get back to having your perfectly regulated home.

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Waukesha HVAC Professionals Help You Diagnose and Repair AC Problems

Performing maintenance and repairs on your own air conditioner can be nerve-wracking. You can’t know what to expect stepping into uncharted territory. Rest assured, if you’re ever in need of help maintaining or repairing your A/C system, Hot Point is one call away. Our prices can’t be beat.

Contact air conditioning repair techs at Hot Point for more information on common air conditioning unit problems.