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Tips & Strategies if Your Central A/C is Blowing Hot Air

Central A/C Blowing Hot Air in Charlotte, NC?

Troubleshooting 101

Let’s say that, according to today’s weather report, the day is going to be a real scorcher, and you can already feel the mercury rising. So, you decide it’s time to turn on the A/C—but, when you do, the air that blows out is hot, making your house feel even more toasty-warm.

So, what do you do? First, don’t panic. There are a few simple things you can check that might quickly solve your problem.

  1. If, for example, this is the first time you’re turning on the air conditioning for the season, make sure that you didn’t leave your thermostat on the heat setting, or that someone else didn’t switch it to that setting without your knowledge.
  2. Make sure all settings are right where you want them to be, which includes the fan being on “auto” and your temperature setting at least five degrees below the actual temperature showing on your thermostat.
  3. Think about when you last changed your air conditioner’s filter. If it’s been a while, then there simply may not be enough cool air coming through the vents to cool down your home. If you’ve got a new filter, put it in. If not, perhaps you can clean the old filter as a temporary measure.

If any of these fixes solves your problem, great! If not, then read on.


Anatomy of Your Air Conditioning System

For your air conditioning system to work well, both the indoor unit and the outdoor unit must be functioning appropriately. The indoor unit contains a fan that allows cool air to be blown throughout your house, and there’s also an outside unit called a condenser that houses key components of your air conditioning system: the compressor, along with cooling fins, tubes and its own fan.

The outdoor fan cools a coolant that’s pumped to your house by the compressor. If this process doesn’t effectively take place, then the A/C system won’t lower the temperature in your home—and, if this is where the breakdown is occurring, then it may mean it’s time to clean the A/C condenser.

Before you do any condenser cleaning, make doubly sure that the electrical power is turned off. You can do this via the outdoor shutoff or, if necessary, at your main electrical panel. Your goal is to clean off the metallic blades that surround the unit, called condenser fins. These fins pull in dead grass and leaves, dandelion fluff, dust and, if you live near cottonwood trees, that cottony material that floats in the air. Any one of these can block the potential airflow of your A/C unit. (So can mice, their bedding and their droppings if they’ve cozied up in your unit for the winter!)

You may need to unscrew a metal box to get to the fins; then gently clean them with a soft brush.  Your owner’s manual should list specifics for your unit. Be careful not to bend or crush the fins. If there is damage to them, you may need repairs made.

Next, unscrew the fan to clean what you can inside the condenser’s interior. This may be a one-person job or a two-person one. In either case, you won’t be able to completely remove the fan as you clean it out.

Also check your owner’s manual to see if your unit has lubrication ports that need electric motor oil. If so, make sure you use the recommended type of oil.

After this cleaning job is complete, then your problem of A/C blowing hot air may be yesterday’s news. If not, read on!


Electrical Possibilities

Is everything else working well in the house, electrically speaking? Has the fuse that provides electricity to your outside unit blown? Has the circuit breaker tripped? Be sure to check for electrical issues before moving on to the rest of your troubleshooting. If this seems to be the problem, then it makes sense to call an air conditioning professional because there could be a significant electrical problem.


Other Possibilities

  • Your air conditioning system may need a professional to fix any leaks and add refrigerant.
  • There may be an air duct leak, and these ducts could be located in your basement, your attic, or in your walls.
  • If you’ve had your air conditioning unit for any significant length of time, it may be time to replace certain parts.
  • Your evaporator coil may need cleaned.

In each of these cases, it typically makes sense to call in professionals.


Other Warning Signs

Your A/C blowing hot air isn’t the only sign of an air conditioning unit in need of repair. In fact, your air conditioner could be cooling the house, but still in need of attention. Signs that indicate a need for a fix include:

  •          Strange noises coming from the system (don’t ignore these!)
  •          Odd smells from the unit 
  •          Your energy bills going up and you don’t have a reasonable explanation as to why
  •          Air temperatures in your home fluctuating or the system cycling on and off too often
  •          The airflow seems too weak
  •          You’ve noticed liquid leaks


To help prevent emergency repairs from needing done, we recommend that you have your HVAC system checked and maintained twice a year, once for your furnace/heating system and, the other time, your air conditioning. That way, you know that a professional technician is checking to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system every six months or so.


Air Conditioning Repair Services

If you’re in the Charlotte area and discover that your A/C is blowing hot air, or otherwise isn’t functioning properly, we know that you need a fix, fast, especially as hotter weather is approaching. Fortunately, One Hour Heating & Air is ready to solve your problem, and quickly. Here’s more information about our Charlotte air conditioning repair services, plus our A/C maintenance services.

To get the cool relief you need, when you need it, simply contact us online today or call 704-251-2184. We’re here to help!


Dan King

About Dan King