We may be in the middle of fall, but we still have a fair amount of hot days ahead of us before the weather is consistently cooler. If you’re still using your air conditioner to keep cool during the day, you need to be on the watch for any signs that the system is malfunctioning in some way. One of the big signs that your air conditioner might be in trouble is if its output is lower than it should be. There are a couple of different causes of low air conditioner output, which we outline below.
The Air Filter Is Clogged
This is pretty much the best-case scenario when it comes to low air conditioner output. Most air conditioners include an air filter, which is designed to protect the system from dust and other debris commonly found in the air ducts of the average home. The filter is good at protecting the system, but once it captures all of these contaminants it has no way to get rid of them. If the filter isn’t replaced once every three months or so, it will become clogged. This will prevent most of the air flowing in from the ducts from reaching the air conditioner, which means it will not be able to circulate cool air throughout the home. If your air conditioner isn’t blowing out as much air as it should be, you might want to take a look at the air filter to make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced.
The Refrigerant Level Is Low
Refrigerant is the general term for a variety of different liquids that do the same thing. Your air conditioner uses a kind of refrigerant to cool the home, by evaporating it and condensing it. Evaporated refrigerant absorbs heat from the air inside, which is then released outside by condensing it back into liquid. Air conditioners use the same refrigerant supply their entire lives, recycling it back and forth constantly during operation. Refrigerant leaks pose a major threat to this process by lessening the amount of refrigerant available to the system. As the refrigerant level drops, the air conditioner will be less and less able to cool the air around it. If you see fluid dripping from your air conditioner, make sure that you call a professional as soon as possible. Eventually, the level might drop so low that the system breaks down entirely.
If your air conditioner is turning on and off every few minutes, it might be short cycling. Short cycling is caused by an electrical issue, or possibly a damaged compressor, which prevents the air conditioner from completing a full cooling cycle. This obviously cuts down on the system’s output, but it also puts it under an immense amount of stress. Prolonged short cycling can cause the air conditioner to break down permanently, so make sure that you call for repairs as soon as you notice this happening.