What Should I Do If My Air Conditioner Is Running but Not Cooling?


If you notice that your air conditioner is running but has stopped cooling the air, you should start investigating the possible causes.

Having an HVAC malfunction during the summer can be really uncomfortable. If you notice that your air conditioner is running but has stopped cooling the air, you should start investigating the possible causes. This symptom can be attributed to a list of issues that may or may not require professional attention. 

Here is what to start looking for and what to do when your unit stops cooling. 

Create the Proper Conditions for a Diagnosis

Before you can identify the possible causes of your HVAC malfunction, make sure you create good conditions for testing it. 

  • First of all, close all your windows to prevent hot air from coming inside. 
  • Check the current room temperature and set your thermostat to a cooler value, it may simply not be set correctly.
  • If you are using other air processing appliances like humidifiers or air purifiers, turn them off.
  • Check the vents and make sure they are not obstructed.

Once you have created these conditions, it’s time to find the culprit through elimination. It’s possible that after taking these steps, you may notice that your system is actually working correctly. If not, here is a list of the most common causes for an HVAC unit that is running but not cooling. Get in touch with an HVAC technician who can help identify and resolve any issues with your air conditioner.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is the substance used in air conditioning units and refrigerators to cool the air or fluid that circulates through them. If your HVAC system has refrigerant leaks, it will simply not be able to cool the air, but it will still circulate it. Some units can self-diagnose low refrigerant, but without such a feature, only an HVAC professional can measure the level of the refrigerant. 

Clogged HVAC Interior

Air not cooling can be a sign of improper maintenance of the HVAC unit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for routine maintenance and clean the air filters, coil, condenser, evaporator, etc. Clear any debris or vegetation around the outdoor unit and make sure the unit is not flooded with water. 

Insufficient Airflow

Another cause for the HVAC not cooling down your house is that the cool air never gets to the interior. Fortunately, this means that the unit itself works perfectly, but you need to investigate the airflow before the problem worsens. Check the cold air returns to see if there is any suction (try using a paper tissue to check the movement of the air). All the vents in your house should let the air flow properly.

Thermostat Malfunction

Your HVAC unit may be working perfectly, but the thermostat is having some sort of issue. Make sure it works properly by checking the display if it’s blank you might want to try replacing the batteries or calling an HVAC expert to check the wiring. 

Electrical Malfunction

Most issues that HVAC repair teams deal with are caused by electrical malfunctions. If you notice that your HVAC unit has stopped cooling the air, check the electric panel to see if any of the breakers were tripped. They should be labeled for easy identification. Try flipping them in the off position and see if that solves your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my air conditioner running but not cooling?

This could be due to a variety of issues such as low refrigerant levels, clogged filters, or electrical problems. It’s best to have a professional HVAC technician diagnose and resolve these issues, as they have the tools and expertise to handle refrigerants and electrical systems safely.

What does it mean if your air conditioner is running but not cooling?

Often, this indicates that something is preventing the system from functioning efficiently. Possible reasons include a malfunctioning thermostat, blocked vents, or internal obstructions. A professional can conduct a thorough check to identify and fix the underlying problem.

What to do if your air conditioner is running but not cooling?

It’s advisable to ensure that the thermostat is set correctly and that there are no obvious blockages affecting air flow. Beyond these basic checks, contacting a qualified HVAC professional is the safest way to handle issues like refrigerant leaks or system recalibration.

How can I fix my air conditioner that runs but doesn’t cool?

Handling HVAC issues involves dealing with complex components that might require handling hazardous materials or electrical systems. Therefore, while routine maintenance like cleaning accessible filters and ensuring clear surroundings can generally be done safely, any deeper issues should be addressed by professionals.

What are common reasons for an air conditioner to stop cooling but still run?

Common reasons can include issues with the thermostat settings, blockages in the air circulation paths, or mechanical failures within the unit. An HVAC technician can offer the best solutions after a professional assessment, ensuring that any repairs or adjustments are done safely and effectively.

If you notice that your air conditioner is running but not cooling your home, give our team a call today and we’ll get to the bottom of your issue!

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At Thomas Hoffmann Air Conditioning & Heating, we pride ourselves in being a locally owned and operated HVAC company. With more than 30 years of experience and a master technician and mechanical engineer as our owner, we can replace, repair, and provide maintenance for your business or home’s HVAC system.

(314) 471-7625

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