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Common AC problems and solutions


Problem Symptoms Causes Solutions
Insufficient Cooling AC runs but doesn’t cool the home properly Dirty filters, refrigerant leaks, faulty thermostat Replace filters, check refrigerant levels, calibrate or replace thermostat
AC Won’t Turn On AC doesn’t start Power issues, thermostat problems, internal faults Check power supply and circuit breaker, inspect thermostat, call a professional for internal issues
Poor Airflow Weak or uneven airflow Clogged filters, blocked vents, ductwork issues Replace filters, clear vents, inspect and clean ductwork
Refrigerant Leaks Insufficient cooling, hissing sounds, ice formation Low refrigerant levels, leaks Professional inspection and repair, recharge refrigerant
Frozen Evaporator Coil Ice on coil, insufficient cooling, excessive condensation Dirty filters, low refrigerant, blocked vents Turn off AC, replace filters, clear vents, professional inspection
Strange Noises Banging, buzzing, hissing, squealing Loose parts, electrical issues, refrigerant leaks, belt or motor issues Turn off AC, inspect for loose parts, electrical inspection, check for refrigerant leaks, professional repair for belts or motors
Foul Odors Musty, burning, rotten egg, or dirty sock smells Mold/mildew, electrical issues, gas leaks, bacteria buildup Regular cleaning, professional electrical inspection, immediate action for gas leaks, professional cleaning for bacteria buildup
Thermostat Issues Incorrect readings, unresponsive controls, short cycling Calibration problems, placement issues, low batteries, aging thermostat Calibrate, check placement, replace batteries, upgrade to programmable thermostat, professional inspection
High Energy Bills Unexpected spike in energy costs Dirty filters, refrigerant leaks, poor insulation, aging AC unit Regular maintenance, improve insulation, upgrade to energy-efficient models, use programmable thermostat, energy audit
Water Leaks Pooling water, musty smells, water damage Clogged condensate drain, damaged drain pan, improper installation Clear condensate drain, inspect and replace drain pan, check installation, regular maintenance

As summer temperatures rise, the importance of a well-functioning air conditioning (AC) system cannot be overstated. Whether it’s battling the scorching heat of St. Petersburg, FL, or maintaining comfort in Sarasota County, FL, a reliable AC unit is essential. However, even the best AC systems can encounter issues that hinder their performance. In this blog, we will explore the top 10 common AC problems and provide practical solutions to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Skilled technician servicing an air conditioning unit, checking wiring and components for optimal functionality and to prevent AC breakdowns and prepare your HVAC system for weather conditions.

1. Insufficient Cooling

There’s nothing more frustrating than an AC system that fails to cool your home adequately. This issue can arise due to various reasons, including:


Regular maintenance is key to preventing these issues and ensuring your AC runs efficiently.

2. AC Won’t Turn On

Few things are as concerning on a hot day as an air conditioner that won’t turn on. This issue can have several potential causes, each requiring different solutions:


  1. Check Power Supply:
    • Make sure the unit is plugged in.
    • Inspect the circuit breaker and reset it if necessary.
  2. Inspect the Thermostat:
    • Verify that the thermostat is set to “cool” and the desired temperature is lower than the current room temperature.
    • Replace batteries if the thermostat is battery-operated.
  3. Seek Professional Help:
    • If these steps don’t resolve the issue, there might be an internal fault. It’s best to contact a professional for a thorough inspection and repair.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs are essential to keep your AC running smoothly. For more detailed guidance and professional assistance, check out our AC Repair Services.

When your AC system refuses to cooperate, trust Heatwave for expert solutions in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for reliable and efficient service.

HVAC Technology Helps Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

3. Poor Airflow

Poor airflow can make your home feel stuffy and uncomfortable, even if your AC unit is running. This common problem often stems from a few key issues:


  1. Replace Air Filters:
    • Regularly check and replace your air filters every 1-3 months to ensure optimal airflow. Learn more about maintaining your AC system here.
  2. Clear Vents and Registers:
    • Make sure all vents are open and free from obstructions. Rearrange furniture if necessary to allow for proper air circulation.
  3. Inspect and Clean Ductwork:
    • If you suspect an issue with your ductwork, such as leaks or blockages, it’s best to have a professional inspect and clean the system.

Addressing poor airflow promptly can prevent further strain on your AC unit and enhance your home’s comfort. For professional assistance, explore our Air Conditioning Services.

Heatwave is dedicated to ensuring your AC system functions efficiently in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and other service areas. Contact us for expert help.

4. Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are a serious AC problem that can lead to reduced cooling efficiency and environmental harm. If your AC is low on refrigerant, it won’t cool your home properly and may cause the unit to overheat.

Symptoms of Refrigerant Leaks:


  1. Identify the Leak:
    • A professional technician can locate and repair the leak. It’s crucial to address leaks promptly to prevent further damage to the AC unit.
  2. Recharge Refrigerant:
    • After repairing the leak, the technician will recharge the refrigerant to the correct levels. This process should always be performed by a certified professional to ensure safety and compliance with environmental regulations.
  3. Regular Maintenance:
    • Schedule regular maintenance checks to detect potential refrigerant issues early. Preventive maintenance can save you from costly repairs and keep your AC running efficiently.

Refrigerant leaks not only affect your comfort but also harm the environment. For expert leak detection and repair services, check out our AC Repair Services.

Trust Heatwave to handle refrigerant issues efficiently and responsibly. Serving areas like St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, and Fort Myers, FL, our skilled technicians are ready to help. Contact us today for reliable service.

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5. Frozen Evaporator Coil

A frozen evaporator coil is a common AC issue that can significantly impair your system’s efficiency. This problem occurs when the coil gets too cold, causing moisture in the air to freeze on it. If left unaddressed, it can lead to a complete system shutdown.

Signs of a Frozen Evaporator Coil:

Common Causes:


  1. Turn Off the AC:
    • If you notice ice build-up, turn off the AC and let the ice melt completely before inspecting the unit.
  2. Replace or Clean Filters:
    • Check and replace dirty air filters to ensure proper airflow. Regular filter maintenance can prevent many AC issues.
  3. Check for Blockages:
    • Make sure all vents are open and free of obstructions. Inspect the ductwork for potential blockages and have it cleaned if necessary.
  4. Professional Inspection:
    • If the coil continues to freeze, contact a professional to check for low refrigerant levels and other underlying issues.

Addressing a frozen evaporator coil promptly can prevent further damage to your AC system. For expert diagnosis and repair, explore our Air Conditioning Services.

Heatwave provides reliable AC services in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, and Fort Myers, FL. For assistance with frozen coils and other AC issues, contact us today.

6. Strange Noises

Strange noises coming from your AC unit can be alarming and are often indicative of underlying issues. Identifying the type of noise can help pinpoint the problem and guide appropriate solutions.

Types of Noises and Their Causes:


  1. Turn Off the AC:
    • If you hear unusual noises, turn off the unit to prevent further damage.
  2. Inspect for Loose Parts:
    • Check for any visibly loose parts and tighten them if possible. However, this often requires professional attention.
  3. Electrical Inspection:
    • Buzzing noises usually need an inspection by a licensed technician to address any electrical faults safely.
  4. Refrigerant Check:
    • A hissing sound could indicate a refrigerant issue. Have a professional inspect the system for leaks and correct refrigerant levels.
  5. Belt and Motor Maintenance:
    • Squealing sounds often point to issues with belts or motor bearings, which should be repaired or replaced by a professional.

Ignoring strange noises can lead to more significant damage and costly repairs. It’s essential to address these issues promptly. For reliable diagnosis and repair services, check out our AC Repair Services.

At Heatwave, we are committed to ensuring your AC unit runs smoothly and quietly. Serving areas like St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, and Fort Myers, FL, our expert technicians are ready to help. Contact us today for professional assistance.

7. Foul Odors

Foul odors coming from your AC can make your home uncomfortable and indicate underlying problems that need to be addressed promptly.

Sources of Unpleasant Smells:


  1. Regular Cleaning:
    • Schedule regular cleaning of your AC unit, including the evaporator coil and condensate drain, to prevent mold and mildew buildup. For more detailed maintenance tips, visit our Air Conditioning Services.
  2. Check Electrical Components:
    • If you notice a burning smell, turn off the AC and contact a professional immediately to inspect and repair any electrical issues.
  3. Inspect for Gas Leaks:
    • A rotten egg smell is a serious concern. Leave your home and contact your gas company and a professional HVAC technician to inspect your system.
  4. Professional Cleaning:
    • For issues like Dirty Sock Syndrome, a thorough professional cleaning of the evaporator coil can eliminate the odor.

Addressing foul odors promptly can improve your indoor air quality and ensure the safe operation of your AC system. For expert diagnosis and odor elimination, explore our AC Repair Services.

Heatwave is dedicated to maintaining a fresh and comfortable home environment for our customers in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for reliable AC services.

8. Thermostat Issues

Your thermostat is the control center of your AC system, and any malfunction can disrupt your home’s comfort. Thermostat issues can range from minor calibration problems to complete system failures.

Common Thermostat Problems:


  1. Calibrate the Thermostat:
    • Ensure your thermostat is accurately reading the indoor temperature. If it’s off, recalibrate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Check for Placement Issues:
    • Make sure the thermostat is not exposed to direct sunlight, drafts, or heat sources, as these can cause incorrect readings.
  3. Replace Batteries:
    • If your thermostat is battery-operated, try replacing the batteries to see if that resolves the issue.
  4. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat:
    • Consider upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat for better control and energy efficiency. This can help you maintain a consistent temperature and reduce energy costs.
  5. Professional Inspection:
    • If the thermostat remains unresponsive or continues to cause issues, it may need to be replaced. A professional can help you select and install a new thermostat that meets your needs.

Addressing thermostat issues can greatly improve your AC system’s performance and your home’s comfort. For more information on choosing and maintaining your thermostat, check out our Air Conditioning Services.

At Heatwave, we are committed to providing top-notch HVAC solutions in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and surrounding areas. For assistance with thermostat problems and other AC issues, contact us today.

9. High Energy Bills

An unexpected spike in your energy bills can be a sign that your AC system isn’t operating efficiently. Several factors can contribute to increased energy consumption, leading to higher costs.

Causes of High Energy Bills:


  1. Regular Maintenance:
    • Schedule routine maintenance to keep your AC system running efficiently. This includes cleaning or replacing air filters, checking refrigerant levels, and inspecting ductwork. For comprehensive maintenance services, explore our Air Conditioning Services.
  2. Improve Home Insulation:
    • Ensure your home is well-insulated to retain cool air and reduce the workload on your AC system. Check for drafts and seal any gaps around doors and windows.
  3. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Models:
    • If your AC unit is older, consider upgrading to a newer, energy-efficient model. Modern units use less energy and provide better cooling performance.
  4. Use a Programmable Thermostat:
    • Install a programmable or smart thermostat to optimize cooling schedules and reduce unnecessary energy consumption. This can help you maintain comfort while lowering energy bills.
  5. Conduct an Energy Audit:
    • Have a professional perform an energy audit to identify areas where you can improve efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Taking proactive steps to improve your AC system’s efficiency can significantly lower your energy bills. For expert advice and energy-saving solutions, check out our AC Repair Services.

Heatwave is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal energy efficiency in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for professional assistance and energy-efficient solutions.

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10. Water Leaks

Water leaks around your AC unit can cause significant damage to your home and indicate a problem with your system. Common sources of leaks include issues with the condensate drain, the drain pan, or the refrigerant lines.

Symptoms of Water Leaks:

Common Causes:


  1. Clear the Condensate Drain:
    • Use a wet/dry vacuum or a professional service to clear any blockages in the drain line.
  2. Inspect and Replace the Drain Pan:
    • If the drain pan is damaged or rusted, it should be replaced to prevent leaks.
  3. Check Installation:
    • Ensure your AC unit is installed correctly. If you suspect improper installation, contact a professional to assess and correct the setup.
  4. Regular Maintenance:
    • Regularly inspect and clean the condensate drain and drain pan to prevent blockages and leaks.

Water leaks can lead to serious home damage and health issues due to mold growth. For reliable inspection and repair, check out our Air Conditioning Services.

Heatwave is here to help with all your AC needs, including addressing water leaks, in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for professional assistance.

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Maintaining a well-functioning AC system is essential for comfort, especially during the hot summer months in Florida. From insufficient cooling to high energy bills, understanding common AC problems and their solutions can help you keep your home comfortable and efficient.

Regular maintenance, timely repairs, and professional assistance are key to ensuring your AC system operates at its best. Whether you’re dealing with poor airflow, refrigerant leaks, or thermostat issues, Heatwave Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric is here to help. Our team of skilled technicians is dedicated to providing top-notch HVAC services in St. Petersburg, FL, Port Charlotte, FL, Fort Myers, FL, and surrounding areas.

For more information on how we can assist with your AC needs, explore our comprehensive Air Conditioning Services and AC Repair Services. If you’re experiencing any of the issues discussed in this blog, don’t hesitate to contact us for prompt and reliable service.

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