Window Air Conditioner Not Cooling

A window unit air conditioner is not cooling or cycling. What can I do?

By merwin from Pensacola, FL

June 19, 20090 found this helpful

You didn't mention the age of the window unit air conditioner. It might be cheaper to buy a new one then to have it repaired. I see that you live in Pensacola, FL. If you own your own home, why don't you have Central AC installed.

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June 19, 20090 found this helpful

Ok, first thing to do: check for ice. Yeah, sounds crazy, but the "cooling" part of the machine may have literally frozen over. This would be the "coils" (or the copper tubing, or other heat-exchanger stuff on the back of the unit- if this is an older unit, it will be exposed, and easy to view. If it's newer, it may be under some sort of casing or cover- don't break that cover, to look , but try to peek through or around it, if it's there. If the unit is truly overwhelmed, it may have ice going THROUGH the back grille of the machine.) If this is the case, DO NOT Try to break the ice away, OK? Let the ambient air temperature melt it off.

Then, check your filter- you may not even know that you have one, but even the really ancient units have 'em. It may be frozen, too. It will most likely look like a poorly-made dish washing sponge or scrubber, and there's a good chance that it will be nasty with filth and moisture (read: mucky).This should be treated with the same respect as the above-mentioned coils. Wait for it to breathe a bit. Then, after it has thawed (or if it's not frozen), put it in a dishpan with nice, hot, soapy water, and wash the sucker out vigorously, without taking it apart.

Your machine *can* run without it, but not for too terribly long- replace it, if you can- if it's of a make that's no longer in existence, use your noggin, and locate a scrubby pad or spongy item that will allow the same volume of air flow-through, or even more so, and of about the same size, and use that. It needs to be of a material that will filter the air going through the exchanger (the part that basically trades your hot, unpleasant air for nice, cool air.) Yeah, sounds bad, but honestly, it works- a UFO scrubby pad can be used in place of many, many sorts of A/C filters, and often works better than the manufacturers' "suggested" filters! If ice-up is not the issue, your compressor may be the problem- your coolant (freon, in older units, RG14 and other gases, if it's newer) may have leaked out, although that's really unlikely, since you mentioned that the unit is not cycling.

If it's a leak-out, you'll have to have a professional take care of it- only licensed folk can deal in those gases (er, hint-hint- there's a major black market for this stuff, but you really don't want to dabble in it- no warranties or guarantees, whereas licensed companies will guarantee their repair work, and coolant leaks can be tricky- better a guarantee in hand, than a near-future leak in your air conditioner! They can locate any hairline leaks you might have, throughout your system, down the line- Joe Blow, the coolant guy, might not go that extra mile!)

Good luck with this- I hope for cool-enough weather for you, while you're working on this! :o)


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Anonymous Flag
June 20, 20090 found this helpful

If you own your own home and can afford to have central air installed by all means to it! If you can't afford to install central, after checking the filter and freeze up check doesn't work, there are oodles of new and inexpensive window air conditioners out there at home stores and if the current one you have is an old model the newer ones are definitely more energy efficient and will be much less expensive than a repair person!

If you rent and the window air conditioner existed in that home before you rented the landord has to by law replace it. You can call your local authorities to find out what amount of time he/she has to replace it. In most places it's between one day to a week once you've notified the landord in writing (mail it 'certified' for proof of delivery and keep a copy of the letter).

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June 20, 20090 found this helpful

Number 1 make sure you clean it. It doesn't like to be dirty. Also I remember some units of AC wall units had filters. Make sure you replace the filters every 6 months.

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June 20, 20090 found this helpful

I'd like to comment. We just got a new ac unit in our condo, I'm in Florida to. Home Depot or Lowes is wonderful. However, you should go with a Trane. It's a wonderful unit. Highly recommend it and very cool producing and and our bill here in Florida is 78 dollars during the summertime talk about cheap for 95 degree weather!

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