A window air conditioner is one of the most convenient and popular solutions to counter the heat and humidity of extreme summer weather. Ideal for renters and those owning smaller spaces, window air conditioners are more affordable and easier to install compared to central air conditioning systems. But as with any appliance, window air conditioners are also susceptible to damage, especially without regular care and maintenance.
To help ensure your air conditioning unit provides the relief needed during sweltering hot days, we’ve put up a guide to help you easily detect and fix a few common issues with your window unit air conditioner.
First, Get to Know Your Air Conditioner
Before you can fix your air conditioner and restore your cool, it’s important to get to know the components that make up the unit. A window-type air conditioner has interior and exterior components, separated by a center panel.
The interior components are those located inside the home. These include the front panel or grill (where the controls to adjust the settings are found), the evaporator coil (the part that cools the air passing through it), fan or blower (it pulls warm air into the system and pushes it to evaporator to cool and clean it), fan motor (found between the evaporator coil and condenser), thermostat (the component that measures the temperature), and filter (found inside the front panel).
The exterior parts, meanwhile include the compressor (which pressurizes gas inside the condenser coils), condensing coil (releases heat from the refrigerant), condenser fan (releases the heat from the refrigerant into the air), and condensate drain tube.
The entire system is conveniently packaged in a metal enclosure and commonly sits on the windowsill.
Troubleshooting Window AC Problems
Now that you’re familiar with the components of a window-type air conditioner, it would be easier for you to identify potential problems with your unit. While many air conditioning repairs require the assistance of a professional, some issues are simple enough for homeowners to troubleshoot and fix themselves.
Problem: Unit fails to turn on
Solution: If your unit doesn’t turn on, there are a number of things you can do. First, check if the power cord is plugged in completely. Sometimes older outlets are no longer able to tightly secure the plug, which needs to be tended. You can also try plugging a different appliance into the same outlet to check whether it’s really working. If it still won’t start, examine your circuit breaker. If the breaker has been tripped, try resetting it and start the AC again. Other possible causes if your AC won’t turn on is related to the wiring, compressor, thermostat and filters.
Problem: Unit does not cool the room enough
Solution: There is nothing more frustrating than an AC unit that is unable to cool the room properly. One way to correct this is by checking the thermostat. If the unit is on and the fan is running, but the air being blown out is not cold, adjust the thermostat appropriately. Another common cause for this is a dirty filter. Be sure to change the filter regularly, at least once every three months. If you have children or pets at home, it’s advisable to change it at least once a month.To change the filter, simply open the unit, take out the old filter and replace it with a new one.
Problem: Water leaks from the unit
Solution: If water is leaking from your window air conditioning unit and dripping from the front panel, it only means one thing: the unit was not properly installed. You can instantly solve this by tilting the unit slightly back so that water drains to the exterior and not into the home.
Problem: Unit frequently cycles on and off
Solution: If your unit cycles on and off too often, it might be that it has a problem with its thermostat or temperature sensor. The simplest thing you can do is check if the thermostat is blocked by curtains or any drapes. Also check if there are any obstructions in the condenser, such as leaves. Sometimes a simple cleaning will suffice to eliminate the problem. If it continues to get worse, it is recommended to have the unit serviced by a professional.
Written by the staff of Controlled Aire Heating and Cooling in Moberly, MO.