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3 Unusual Issues That Can Affect Your Air Conditioner

Posted by Scott Ranck on Aug 11, 2017 3:40:29 PM

In a recent experience with a family member’s air conditioner, I learned a few new lessons about air conditioner failure. Here are three unique insights that  may help you diagnose your unit when it doesn’t cool properly.

Issue #1 - Condenser Fan Running Backward

The first unusual issue to check for on your air conditioner is whether its condenser fan is running backward. If you place your hand above the unit when it’s running, you should feel a strong breeze of warm air. This is a sign that your condenser fan is working properly. However, if no hot air seems to be blowing out of the unit, it most likely means that your air conditioner’s condenser fan is running backward. This is a problem!


While there are several causes for a condenser  fan running backward, it’s most commonly due to a short in the motor windings. In which case, the fan motor itself will need to be replaced. In other instances, a failed or shorted-out capacitor may also reverse the direction of the fan. Like a faulty fan motor, a bad capacitor will usually need to be replaced. However, on the bright side? Both repairs are fairly inexpensive compared to replacing the entire unit. 

Issue #2 - Water In Your Ductwork

The second unusual factor that may compromise home airflow is water in your ductwork. In Florida, we have many modular type homes with air conditioning units and ductwork placed at ground level, under the homes. This increases the possibility for water getting inside the ductwork; thus creating a blockage that restricts air from traveling through the ducts.

The remedy? To solve the issue of water in your ductwork, first clean out the blockage in the drain. After that, poke a hole in the bottom of the duct so the water can drain out. Once the water is out of the ducts, use a duct sealing tape (not common duct tape!) and patch your hole. With any luck, you’ll be able to resolve the problem before it leads to issue number three.  

Issue #3 - Disconnected Ductwork

Ductwork_V2.pngWater in your ductwork may also result in our third and final AC issue: disconnected ductwork. In this scenario, the weight of the water in your duct may cause the ductwork to separate (either from the air conditioner’s connection box or the unit itself).

Apart from water, however, ductwork may become disconnected in any number of ways. So the next thing to consider, as a general rule of thumb, is the possibility of human error. For example, has anyone recently been in the space where your ductwork is located – such as your attic or crawl space? Perhaps you’ve recently had someone perform cable installation, security system installation, or another activity near your ducts? If so, they could have accidentally knocked something loose without realizing it. In any case, be sure to check for disconnected or crushed air ducts if you’re experiencing limited airflow.

When It’s Time To Buy A New AC!

When it comes time to replace your air conditioner, you can look forward to substantially lower energy bills as a result of your new unit. You can also be assured that replacing your appliance will be quick and easy! Florida Public Utilities is happy to provide expert appliance product advice and help with installation services. Plus, if you decide to replace your current air conditioner with a qualifying high-efficiency unit, FPU offers rebates that will save you money on your appliance purchase. This will mean fewer out-of-pocket expenses for you. 

For questions about air conditioners and other related energy topics, contact the energy experts at Florida Public Utilities.

Topics: air conditioning

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