Why Is My Air Conditioner Blowing Hot Air? A Southern California Tech Explains

By Your Advisor 6/21/22 10:30 AM Time to read:

If you feel warm air blowing from your vents when the AC is running, you likely have one of the following problems:

  • The thermostat is set incorrectly
  • Your outside AC unit is dirty or blocked
  • The circuit breaker tripped
  • Edison may be cycling
  • Your AC’s refrigerant levels are low
  • The AC compressor pump is bad
  • The outside condenser fan isn’t working

To help you navigate this AC problem, we’ll split up the list above into problems you can solve and problems you’ll need a professional to solve.


Need an AC repair right away? Just contact our team and we’ll send out a technician as soon as possible to get your cool air restored quickly. 

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Problems you can solve on your own

1. The thermostat is set incorrectly

burgesons-woman-setting-thermostat

Your thermostat could be set incorrectly in two ways:

    • It’s set to HEAT, not COOL. This might sound silly, but you’d be surprised by how many times this simple mistake has prompted an unnecessary service call. 
    • The fan is set to ON, not AUTO.  Make sure that your thermostat fan setting is set to “AUTO,” not “ON.” Leaving it set to “ON” will cause the indoor fan to run 24/7—even when the AC isn’t in cooling mode. This can cause homeowners to mistakenly think the AC is running when the fan is simply circulating indoor air.
    • The thermostat is not set below the room’s current temperature. Suppose the desired cooling temperature is not set at least 2 degrees below the current temperature shown on the display screen. In that case, it will not communicate with the system to activate cooling mode.
    • Your thermostat’s batteries need to be replaced. If your thermostat requires batteries, check to see if they need to be replaced.  If the batteries are dead, your thermostat cannot communicate with your HVAC system.

2. Your outside AC unit is dirty or clogged

burgesons-overgrown-debris-on-ac-unit

Your outside AC unit’s main job is to dump all the heat from inside your home into the outdoor air. But if the unit is covered in dirt/debris, it can’t efficiently get rid of that heat. And when that happens, the heat is sent right back into your home and pushed through your AC vents.

Here’s what you should do: Make sure to remove any larger debris (sticks/leaves/etc.) from the outside unit. Then, use a gentle setting on your hose to rinse off any dirt/dust on the outside unit.

3. The circuit breaker tripped

burgesons-breakers

If your circuit breaker has tripped, first check to see if any circuits or appliances are overloaded or damaged. If safe, you can reset your circuit breaker yourself.

4. Southern California Edison is cycling


If you have signed up to be a part of one of So. Cal Edison’s money-saving cycling plans, Edison may turn your AC off when electrical grid demand is high. A better way to save money on your utility bills may be to replace your system with a higher-efficiency model.

If you still feel warm air from your vents after this, you’ll need to hire a professional to diagnose and fix your AC system.

Problems a professional will need to fix

  • Your AC’s refrigerant levels are low. Because refrigerant isn’t “used up” in an AC system (like gas in a car), there is a refrigerant leak somewhere in your system. A professional must find and fix the leak and recharge the system.
  • The AC compressor pump is bad. The compressor pump is what circulates refrigerant around the system (like the heart pumping blood through the body). So, if the motor in the pump dies, the refrigerant doesn’t move around the system, and the AC cannot cool your home.
  • The outside condenser fan isn’t working. The condenser fan helps move heat from your home into the outdoor air. If the fan isn’t working, the heat can’t escape the AC system properly and gets sent back to your home via vents.

Need a professional AC repair? Trust the pros at Burgeson’s

We’ve had over 72 years of experience repairing AC systems in Redlands and the Inland Empire areas. When you choose us for your AC repair, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting the highest-quality repair possible and a technician who is trained to put your comfort and budget first.

If you’re ready to schedule your AC repair, just contact us, and we’ll send over a technician right away.

Request repair