Low air conditioner output is not a good sign, especially in the middle of summer. Sometimes, the reason that your system’s output is low is actually quite simple, and easy to fix. Sometimes, not so much. You’re going to need a professional to examine your system to determine the source of the problem. Still, it’s not a bad thing to be a bit familiar with some of the reasons why this issue might be happening.
Clogged Air Filter
If your air conditioner isn’t circulating as much air as it should be, the best case scenario is that you have a clogged air filter. The air filter is a simple mesh that sits in the air return duct of the system. The filter protects the air conditioner from dust and other detritus that is commonly found in the ducts of a home. While the filter is effective at capturing dust before it gets into the air conditioner, it cannot rid itself of the contaminants it collects. If the filter is not changed every few months or so, it will become clogged and block the flow of air into the system. Luckily, if this is the source of your problem it is easily fixed by installing a new air filter.
Air Handler Issues
Another reason why your air conditioner might not be circulating enough air is a problem with the air handler. The air handler is the part of the system responsible for circulating air throughout the home during operation. It’s basically a motor with a fan attached to it. If the air handler malfunctions, the air conditioner will not be able to move air through the ducts.
Refrigerant is the fluid that your air conditioner evaporates and condenses to move heat out of the house. The system does not consume refrigerant. Rather, it recycles it back and forth between the two units that make up the system. That means that the system will start to suffer if it develops a refrigerant leak. The output capacity of the air conditioner will decline over time as the refrigerant level in the system drops. If the leak isn’t repaired, and the lost refrigerant replaced, the air conditioner will eventually break down completely. Call for repairs if you notice your system leaking fluid, in addition to having low output.
If your air conditioner is turning itself on and off every few minutes, then you have a short cycling problem. Short cycling cuts down on the system’s output capacity by preventing it from completing a full cooling cycle. However, that’s far from the worst of it where this problem is concerned.
Short cycling also increases the amount of wear and tear the system accumulates over time, making parts break down more often and increasing repair costs. If you don’t have the issue fixed quickly enough, you may need to replace your air conditioner much sooner than you otherwise would have to.