June 21, 2023

How Do I Stop My AC From Overheating?

An overheating AC can be a serious issue, especially during the summer season. Sometimes, air conditioners are forced to work harder than usual leading to overheating. There are several reasons contributing to this issue and you should be aware of them or else you will need to hire AC repair services. Let’s take a look at how you can prevent overheating issues to breeze through unbearable weather conditions.

Signs Your AC Is Overheating And How To Fix It

Here are some signs and reasons why your air conditioner might be overheating and what you can do to fix it.

Warmer Airflow

Air conditioners are supposed to produce and distribute cool air during hot weather conditions. However, if the case is the opposite and you observe warm air coming from the vents, it means there is a serious issue with the air conditioner.

The first thing you need to check is the compressor. If you have an older version air conditioner, try to listen to a ‘tick’ sound to see if the compressor turns on. If you don’t, it means the compressor is malfunctioning.

However, in the case of newer models, you will have to check the refrigerant level. The reason is that compressors in inverters do not trip. They simply lower the RPMs once the desired temperature is achieved. This helps save electricity.

But keep in mind, inverters are far more complicated. So, if you don’t have the basic knowledge and skills to troubleshoot the issue, you better call a professional.

Clogged Air Filter

Air filters are an important component of air conditioners. These are designed to filter air by trapping contaminants and pollutants in the air before cool air spreads inside the house. This means the air filters are supposed to become dirty over a period of time.

As a general rule of thumb, air filters should be inspected and cleaned at least once a month. However, depending on the weather conditions in your region, you might need to maintain them more often. Air filters that are ignored tend to be clogged with dirt and dust.

This causes your air conditioner to work twice as hard to keep up with the loss of cool air. As a result, the overall performance of the AC drops as it overheats. That said, it is very important that you keep an eye on the filters to prevent expensive damage.

Increased Energy Bills

When your air conditioner overheats, it is likely to consume a lot more electricity than usual. So, if you observe that your monthly energy bills have suddenly jumped, you need to get your air conditioner checked as there is a high probability of it overheating.

Then again, there could be several reasons contributing to an overheating air conditioner. It could be that the compressor is faulty, the refrigerant level is low, or simply old age.

Odd Noises

If your air conditioner is producing odd noises, a common reason tends to be overheating. Unusual squeaking and grinding sounds indicate that a certain component has malfunctioned. In most cases, homeowners ignore the issue waiting for it to go away on its own, which can turn into a costly mistake.

Air conditioners produce a slight humming sound while functioning but none other. Therefore, if there is a certain audible noise, it might be that a component needs replacement or lubrication. If a component were to overheat or malfunction, it would affect other components as well.

That said, it is crucial to fix the issue by hiring an HVAC contractor McLean to avoid further damage.

Strange Odors

In addition to odd noises, air conditioners can also produce strange odors. Quite often, you will come across a musty smell indicate mold growth when excess moisture accumulates in the drain pan. This is not much of an issue unless you ignore it for a long period of time.

All you need to do is turn off the air conditioner and clean the drain pan. However, if you smell burning or other types of strange odors, you should immediately shut down the unit from the main power source. A burning smell means something is overheating.

In such a case, do not try to fix the issue on your own, instead call a professional and get the issue sorted out.

Low Refrigerant

As mentioned earlier, low refrigerant means your air conditioner will struggle to function. Air conditioners require a certain refrigerant level to produce both cool and warm air. So, if your air conditioner is throwing warm air, it most likely means there is a refrigerant leak.

With the refrigerant leaking, the compressor will have to work twice as hard and will overheat as well. Eventually, your air conditioner’s performance will drop and you might observe strange odors or noises.

Low refrigerant issues are mostly linked to leakages. Although, the chances of newer versions leaking are less but not impossible. Poor installation or maintenance jobs can easily lead to overheating of not only the compressor but also the air conditioner.

Dirty Evaporator & Condenser Coils

Condenser and evaporator coils work collectively to produce cool air and dissipate heat. One of the reasons air conditioner maintenance is important is that the coils tend to become dirty with layers of dirt and grease accumulation. As a result, the coils are don’t exchange heat as required. Heat exchange means condenser coils aiding is removing heat from the refrigerant and dissipating it outside.

Dirty evaporator coils could also lead to frozen coils which is a sign that something is not right. As a result, the air conditioner will not be able to achieve the desired temperature and will run several cycles leading to overheating.

The only solution to this problem is getting your air conditioner maintained depending on the usage frequency. Generally, professional maintenance once a year is recommended by the manufacturers.

How To Avoid Air Conditioner Issues?

Believe it or not, most common air conditioning issues can be prevented and resolved by scheduling professional maintenance. It is common for air conditioners to be accumulated with layers of dirt, dust, and debris. While thoroughly cleaning the air conditioner is an expert’s job, you should inspect and clean components such as the air filters on your own as well.

In addition to that, professional maintenance is not only about cleaning the unit but also inspecting for cracks, damages, or leakages. This is the right time for the expert to spot any future problems and fix them before they trouble you.

Moreover, the frequency of maintenance depends on several factors such as the location of the unit. If the outdoor unit is installed near trees, bushes, and shrubs, do not be surprised if dead leaves and branches end up inside.

Therefore, you should place the outdoor unit and the indoor unit away from obstructions and obstacles. If both units are placed in a cramped area, both the effectiveness and efficiency will be affected and the unit will have to work harder than usual.


In the end, maintaining and looking out for strange noises and odors will surely help prevent air conditioners from overheating. At the same time, always keep air conditioning companies Chantilly on your side to determine and troubleshoot relatively complex issues.

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