Is an AC war on in your home or office? Common Air Conditioner problems and quick fixes

The summer months in UAE could be unforgiving. With the temperatures soaring past 40 degrees during the peak hours, the only escape is a cool air-conditioned space, be it at home or at work or even at the bus station! Even the most well-kempt Air Conditioner systems could go wary at times; regular AC maintenance is inevitable to tackle common Air Conditioner problems like uneven cooling, leaking AC unit and frozen coil, unusual odor from the AC, AC unit never turning off or still worse, an AC unit that doesn’t work at all!!

While an Air conditioner issue is best left to be resolved in the hands of a professional AC maintenance team, it is advisable to keep your regular AC maintenance in place. You can avoid major AC repairs by

taking these interim measures regularly:

  • Clean or replace the air filters monthly; it could reduce the energy consumption by around 10%.
  • Clean the dirt and debris around the outside unit
  • Cover the outdoor unit during extreme weather
  • Vacuum the blower compartment annually
  • Clean the drain channels occasionally to prevent clogs

Below are few other common Air Conditioner issues and quick tips to tackle those:

Problem: The AC doesn’t work at all Quick Tips: First things first, check the thermostat batteries. Replace them if dead. Batteries still good? Check the settings; make sure it is in the “cooling” mode.

If all is well with the thermostat, the circuit breaker could have tripped, flip it back to ‘ON’ position. If this quick fix does not work, get help from an HVAC expert. Find HVAC experts in UAE here.


Problem: The AC doesn’t cool properly, rather blows hot air Quick Tips: There is nothing more frustrating than hot air being spewed out of your AC in scorching summers. Well, this could happen due to various reasons.

Haven’t cleaned or changed your air filter for months? Fix it now! If you don’t feel a difference in cooling despite setting the thermostat to the coolest, the thermostat could be the culprit; you might as well get a new one.

Inspect the area around the AC unit; remove any debris or dirt or plants or curtain linen or anything else that could possibly be blocking the air flow. Low refrigerant levels could also lead to poor cooling. You can make it out by examining the larger of the two copper lines that go into the condenser which will sweat and feel cold to the touch at optimum refrigerant levels.

Using blackout curtains during the day and an additional layer of insulation can help maintain the cool in especially sunny places. If you detect a duct leak which could lead to improper cooling, you could consult an HVAC technician.

Problem: Uneven cooling

Quick Tips: Use black-out curtains on the windows facing the sunny side, those rooms tend to warm up more. Consider installing separate zoning systems that helps to control the temperature in specific areas. Uneven cooling could be due to leaks in the duct, poor insulation, blocked vents etc.

Problem: Leaking AC unit

Quick Tips: A clogged condensate drain line would most probably be the root cause. Got an old air conditioner? Like 12 to 15 years old? The drain pan may be damaged or rusted, so water just falls right through. You would need to replace those.

A dirty air filter blocks airflow over the evaporator coil. When that happens, the evaporator coil gets too cold and freezes over. When it melts, it drips an excess amount of water that the pan may not be able to handle.

Check your air filter to see if it’s dirty and change it if needed. A dirty air filter blocks airflow over the evaporator coil causing it to freeze and drip water when it melts. Clean or change your filter regularly. Low refrigerant also leads to over-flowing drain pan.

Problem: Bad odor coming out from AC unit

Quick Tips: Overheating parts, loose electrical connections or a restricted air flow may result in an electrical odor. Dirt or debris in the ductwork could also create an odor.

If the moisture sucked into the AC is not properly drained, it could lead to the unit smelling of mildew. Sewage line back up near a duct could make the whole place smell like sewage. Call an AC technician immediately since the methane gas is dangerous to your health.

Stagnant water and clogged AC could also produce a stinky smell, proper cleaning is advised. Problematic fan or motor emits the smell of burning rubber which might in turn cause a fire, switch off the unit as soon as you detect such a smell. ‘Dirty sock syndrome’ (even though it has got nothing to do with dirty socks!) is a common cause for odors, as the wetness in AC attracts mold and bacteria to the coils of the unit, resulting in the dreaded dirty sock odor.

Etisalat Yellow pages, the No. 1 and only official business directory in the UAE, can assist you with genuine AC maintenance service providers.

Find more Ac installation and maintenance service providers in your desired location here


Fun Fact

Did you know Air conditioning systems helped coin the term “summer Blockbuster”!? During the 1930s, when AC wasn’t much popular and affordable, theatres would keep their big hits for summertime release, since people would flock theatres to enjoy the films and also to enjoy the AC cool during the summer months. Hence the term “Summer Blockbuster”!

Pro Tip

Do you set your thermostat fan to the “ON” position all day long? It is advisable to choose the “auto” position where it will blow air only when the cooling system is running.

Did you know that the Air conditioners, in addition to cooling the air, take humidity out of the air, making it more comfortable.  When you leave the fan blowing air all the time, moisture will be blown back into the house, affecting the humidity levels.


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