Reasons Your Air Conditioner Is Blowing Warm Air

The last thing you want to come home to on a hot day is an air conditioner that's blowing hot air. However, this is a fairly common problem, and it has many causes. You may need to call an HVAC contractor to make repairs, but there are a few things you can check first. Here are some things that can cause the problem.

Circuit Is Tripped

Your HVAC unit has two different parts. The equipment indoors is the fan that circulates air through the ducts. The equipment outdoors is the part that pulls in hot air, chills it, and then sends it to the indoor fan. If you hear the air conditioner running and feel warm air coming out, you may not think to check the power. The outdoor unit has a separate power supply, so you want to see whether someone turned it off or whether the circuit is tripped off in the electrical panel. If the circuit is off at the panel, you may want to call a professional to take a look even if your air conditioner starts working again. There could be damage that caused the circuit to overload, and you'll want to have that fixed.

Airflow Is Blocked

Another thing that can cause the problem is blocked airflow to the intake fins. Look at your outdoor unit. See whether there is dust, debris, or grass clippings clogging the fins on the side of the unit. You can use a broom to sweep the fins clean; just be sure not to bend the fins because that could block air flow too. Another thing to check is to make sure there is nothing blocking air flow, such as bushy plants growing nearby or a towel thrown over the air conditioner. If you haven't been outside in a while, a bush may have grown out of control without your knowing it. Be sure to cut back weeds and bushes and move lawn furniture away from the air-conditioning unit so nothing blocks air flow; see whether that makes a difference.

Refrigerant Is Low

Another likely culprit is low refrigerant. The refrigerant normally runs through the coils that chill the air. When the refrigerant level is low, the coils can't chill the air enough to make it cool, so warm air blows out indoors. This problem is often coupled with a buildup of ice on the outdoor unit. The refrigerant level shouldn't get low if your air conditioner is working properly. If it's low, there is probably a leak in the line, and that needs to be repaired by a contractor so more refrigerant can be added.

Also, don't forget to check the thermostat before you panic and call a contractor. Someone in your home may have bumped it. It should be on the cool setting and not on the fan setting, or else your HVAC system will only circulate air and not cool it. Visit sites like to find an HVAC contractor near you.