Kens Heat and Air

How do you tell if your AC is broken?

how do you tell if your ac is broken
Learn how to identify if your AC is broken and what steps to take to fix it.


When the scorching summer heat arrives, there’s nothing more refreshing than stepping into a cool and comfortable home. Your air conditioning (AC) system plays a crucial role in keeping your indoor environment pleasant and enjoyable. But what if your AC stops working? How do you tell if your AC is broken?

In this guide, we’ll explore some common signs that indicate your AC may be malfunctioning. We’ll also provide you with some troubleshooting tips to help you determine if your AC needs professional repair or if it’s a simple fix you can handle yourself.

Table of Contents

  • Signs that your AC may be broken
  • Steps to take if your AC is not working
  • When to call a professional AC technician
  • FAQs about broken AC
  • Conclusion

Signs that your AC may be broken

It’s essential to be aware of the warning signs that your AC may be malfunctioning. Here are some common signs to look out for:

1. Weak airflow

If you notice a significant decrease in the airflow coming from your vents, it could indicate a problem with your AC. Weak airflow can be caused by a clogged air filter, a faulty fan motor, or issues with the ductwork. Check your air filter and clean or replace it if necessary. If the problem persists, it may be time to call a professional.

2. Warm air

If your AC is blowing warm air instead of cool air, there may be a problem with the refrigerant levels or compressor. Low refrigerant levels can be caused by leaks, while a faulty compressor may require professional repair or replacement. It’s best to have a trained technician diagnose and fix the issue.

3. Strange noises

Unusual sounds coming from your AC unit, such as grinding, squealing, or banging noises, are not normal. These noises could indicate a loose or damaged part, a worn-out motor, or a failing compressor. Ignoring these sounds can lead to further damage, so it’s important to have them addressed promptly.

4. Frequent cycling

If your AC cycles on and off frequently, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. This could be due to a faulty thermostat, a refrigerant leak, or an incorrectly sized AC unit. A qualified technician can diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate solution.

5. High humidity

If your home feels excessively humid even when the AC is running, it may indicate a problem with your AC’s dehumidification capabilities. This could be caused by a malfunctioning condensate drain or an oversized AC unit. An HVAC professional can determine the cause and provide the necessary repairs.

Steps to take if your AC is not working

If you suspect that your AC is not working correctly, there are a few steps you can take before calling a professional:

1. Check the thermostat

Make sure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature and mode (cooling). If the thermostat is battery-operated, replace the batteries. If the thermostat is programmable, double-check the settings to ensure they are correct. Sometimes, a simple adjustment to the thermostat can solve the problem.

2. Inspect the air filter

A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow and cause your AC to work less efficiently. Check the air filter and clean or replace it if needed. This simple maintenance task can often improve the performance of your AC.

3. Clear the outdoor unit

If you have a central AC system, check the outdoor unit for any debris, such as leaves, grass, or dirt. Clear away any obstructions that may be blocking the airflow. Ensure there is at least two feet of clearance around the unit for optimal operation.

4. Reset the circuit breaker

If your AC is not turning on at all, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to see if a breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown. If so, reset the breaker or replace the fuse. If the breaker trips again or the fuse blows repeatedly, it’s a sign of an electrical issue that requires professional attention.

When to call a professional AC technician

While some AC issues can be resolved with simple troubleshooting steps, others require the expertise of a professional AC technician. Here are some situations where it’s best to call in the experts:

  • Your AC is not cooling your home effectively despite your troubleshooting attempts.
  • You notice water leakage from your AC unit.
  • Your AC emits a strange odor.
  • You are experiencing electrical problems, such as tripped breakers or blown fuses.
  • You are not comfortable performing the necessary repairs or maintenance tasks yourself.

Remember, attempting complex AC repairs without the proper knowledge and tools can potentially cause further damage or pose a safety risk. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your AC system.

FAQs about broken AC

Q: How often should I change my AC air filter?

A: It’s recommended to change your AC air filter every 1-3 months, depending on factors such as the type of filter, the level of air pollution in your area, and the frequency of AC usage.

Q: Can I fix a refrigerant leak myself?

A: Fixing a refrigerant leak requires specialized knowledge and equipment. It’s best to leave this task to a trained AC technician to ensure proper repair and prevent further damage to the system.


Knowing how to tell if your AC is broken is essential for maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home. By recognizing the signs of a malfunctioning AC and taking appropriate action, you can prevent further damage and ensure the longevity of your cooling system.

Remember, if you’re unsure about how to handle a broken AC or if your troubleshooting attempts are unsuccessful, it’s always best to consult a professional AC technician. They have the expertise and experience to diagnose and repair any AC issues effectively.

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