What to do about AC not working?

Outside unit is not working, thermostat keeps blinking on and off cool Air on and no air through vents and the inside unit is not turning on, also the pipes seem to have ice.

  6 answers
  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Jun 16, 2018
    Hi Daisy,
    The blinkling lights are telling you that something is wrong with the outside unit. However before you call a repair person, here are some ideas to try. Wishing you the best.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jun 16, 2018
    It sounds like they froze up. The house we were renting did that when it was really hot and humid out for a long time. I just shut it off and let the heat outside thaw them out and it started working again. The management company would not send anyone to even look at it unless it wouldn't go back to working. Thanks to them I lost a fridge due to how hot it got in the house, and the fridge was mine and they wouldn't replace it.

  • William William on Jun 16, 2018
    Sounds like the coil is frozen. Thermostat is calling for AC (the on and off blinking) so the inside unit won't turn on. Usually it means a Freon leak or low on Freon. Time to call HVAC service.

  • Steve in GA Steve in GA on Jun 16, 2018
    If I'm understanding you, neither the inside fan nor the ourside HVAC unit are running at all (I'm assuming this is a central type of system.) If your lines outside the house have frozen over it usually indicates low levels of refrigerant in the system, so you'd need a HVAC guy to come measure it and check for leaks. If that's not the case, I'm assuming that you've taken the step of checking for a tripped breaker at your service panel. If the breaker hasn't tripped and the inside fan will blow but the outside unit won't, AND if you're comfortable with opening the outside service panel on your outside unit, you can take a look at the unit's condenser. It might have gone bad, which will take the outside unit down, but will NOT affect your inside fan. A bad condenser will usually appear swollen. But whatever you do, DON'T touch the condenser if you don't know what you're doing--it can store enough electricity to be lethal, and if you don't discharge it properly...well, you know.

    I'm NOT an electrician, but I've had my unit do down in the past and followed this advice from my HVAC installer, all the way to changing the condenser to get it up and running over a July 4 holiday period.

    • William William on Jun 16, 2018
      Condenser is the outside unit. Do you mean capacitor? The condenser has a dual capacitor. One side is the start capacitor and the other is a run capacitor. This is not her problem. She says neither the outside and inside are running. Thermostat cycling between on and off. Refrigerant lines have ice on them. Breakers are not tripped since thermostat feeds off voltage from inside unit transformer (24V AC). Low refrigerant is her problem. Lines and possibly inside coil is frozen. Need to be thawed and pressures checked.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jun 16, 2018
    Time for a service call from your AC man.

  • Steve in GA Steve in GA on Jun 17, 2018
    Quoting from Quora : "In the world of electronics, capacitor and condenser are the same." And also this: "Capacitor and condenser are two words used in engineering. When considering the electrical circuit elements, both capacitor and condenser are used to describe the same device." We're talking about the same device.

    Even if she has low refrigerant she should still be getting hot air blown through the vents if she has power. My impression, which might be wrong, was that she was getting NO air through the vents. My thermostat display will blink when the power is out because it (the display) is powered by a pair of LiIon batteries. Hers might do the same.

    But she did say the pipes "seem" to be iced up, and I think everyone agrees that refrigerant would resolve that issue. It's the lack of any airflow that puzzled me.