Why Does My AC Blow Hot Air Instead of Cold (and How Do I Fix It)?
Common reasons why your AC will blow hot air instead of cold are:
- Incorrect thermostat settings
- Dirty air filters
- Dirty air conditioner coil
- Miswired or faulty thermostats
- Refrigerant leaks
When the warm weather hits in Avalon, Ocean City or Stone Harbor, NJ people all over the Jersey shore turn on their air conditioners for the first time. And, some are greeted with a blast of hot air.
The good news is, sometimes there’s a simple explanation behind this. And, it only takes a few minutes to solve. Other times, it’s a little more complicated. That’s when you should give us a call.
Broadley’s HVAC and Plumbing has served Marmora, Upper Township and Jersey shore points for decades. We’re available for air conditioning services when something’s wrong. Or, sign up for annual tune-ups and regular maintenance to catch problems before they happen.
For now, let’s run through some possible reasons why your AC is blowing hot air instead of cold.
Wrong Thermostat Setting
This problem is a simple one, and you’d be surprised how often it’s the culprit. Check your thermostat. Is it set to “Warm” or “Heat” instead of cooling? If so, that could be the only problem. And, fixing it is as simple as changing that setting. Once it’s switched, try your AC again. If it’s now giving you cool air, you’re all done.
Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air After Replacing the Thermostat
A new thermostat may be to blame if your air conditioner is blowing hot air. But, pinpointing the exact reason could be a little tricky. It could simply be a faulty unit. If that’s the case, then hopefully you’ve got your receipt and can exchange it. But, you’ll want to troubleshoot a few other things first.
The next common problem is faulty wiring. If you installed it yourself, check that the connections are secure and each one is in the right terminal. If you didn’t install it yourself, however, we wouldn’t recommend tinkering with the wiring. And, even if you did, you should probably get a second set of eyes on it.
Dirty Air Filter
We’ve met some people who think this whole air filter thing is a scam. We’re not sure why. Maybe it’s because they’re inexpensive and easy to replace? Either way, air filters are an integral part of your system. You’ve surely noticed how much dirtier it is when you take it out after a few months. That’s all the dust, dirt, and debris that didn’t make its way into your HVAC system. But, if that filter gets too dirty, you’ll start having problems. But, if that filter gets too dirty, you’ll start having problems. Sometimes, that means the air conditioner is not cooling the house. Or, it starts blowing hot air.
Once that filter is too gunked up, air can’t pass through as it should. When that happens, your AC can’t work properly. What’s supposed to happen is that the hot air from your house reaches the condenser coils. That’s where it gets cooled and then re-circulated. But, if the filter is blocking it, the fan can only push that warm air back out to your home. It never reaches the cooling stage. Try replacing the filter and starting the system again. If you get cool air, congratulations! The fix cost you less than $20. If not, it’s time to call a professional.
Dirty Condenser Coils
Now, let’s look at the opposite problem: What happens if your filter isn’t blocking dust and debris? Or, if you don’t have one at all? Once again, that dirt is preventing the warm air from reaching the coils. It’s just doing it a little closer to the source. All that dirt collects right on the coils. Now, the warm air passing over them doesn’t get treated. You end up with warm air from the air conditioner. And, you run the risk of overworking your air conditioner. In this case, the system thinks it’s working as usual. But, the house isn’t getting any cooler. So, it just keeps working – more than it should – because the thermostat isn’t reaching its call temperature. Eventually, the system breaks down from overuse.
Refrigerant is Leaking from Your Air Conditioner
Along with warm air coming from your air conditioner, signs of a refrigerant link include:
- A hissing sound coming from the indoor unit
- Frozen coils, or your AC “freezing over”
- Energy bills suddenly increasing
With a home air conditioner, you should never have to replace the refrigerant if there isn’t a problem. In short, the refrigerant works in a closed loop through the system, transferring heat.
However, if there’s a refrigerant leak, then you don’t have enough of it to do the job. At that point, you’re just circulating warm air because nothing’s cooling it. In this case, you need a certified HVAC tech to inspect your system and make the repair. But, beware of anyone who’s just offering to “refill” your system. It won’t solve the problem, because you’re not supposed to run out of refrigerant. Whatever those guys put in will just leak out again if they don’t fix the actual problem. However, if your unit is more than a decade old, it may not be as simple as that.
Replacing R22 Refrigerant
In 2010, all manufacturers stopped using the refrigerant R22 in air conditioners. Since then, they’ve been phasing out production of the refrigerant. By the end of this year, they won’t make any more at all. So, if you bought your system before 2010, you may not be able to replace the coolant that’s leaked out. Then, you’ll have to consider converting the unit to use a new refrigerant or investing in a completely new system. But, if you catch it soon enough, there’s a chance we can keep your unit up and running at least through the summer.
It’s tricky when it comes to second homes and shore houses. If you haven’t been around for a few months, you may have missed the first few warning signs. So be sure to call a professional right away if you think there’s a leak. The sooner we inspect your system, the sooner we’ll have it working correctly again.
Contact Broadley’s day or night, and we’ll set up a time for your air conditioning service.