AC Condenser Unit Blowing Cold Air Outside [Solved]

Is your ac condenser unit blowing cold air outside instead of warm/hot? If so, you are probably not getting any cooler air inside your home. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the common issues that can cause your outdoor condenser unit to blow cold air. These include:

  • Dirty air filters
  • Leaking refrigerant
  • Stuck Reverse cycle valve (If you are using a heat pump)
  • A compressor capacitor that is defective
ac condenser unit blowing cold air outside
A typical outdoor unit set up

Read also: Air Conditioner Running But Not Cooling [Solved]

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4 Reasons for Your AC Condenser Unit Blowing Cold Air Outside

When you are running an air conditioner, the outside condenser is designed to release heat from your indoor air. However, if you notice your outdoor unit blowing cold air, there could definitely be something going on. The following are some of the possible reasons for that:

1) Dirty Air Filters

Dirty Air Filters

A dirty air filter can cause your outdoor condenser unit to blow cool air instead of warm air. Air filters play an important role in the operation of your air conditioning system. They screen out substances and objects from the air before getting to the evaporator coil.

However, if the air filter gets dirty and clogged, air won’t be able to flow freely into the evaporator coil. This can cause two things to happen:

  1. Airflow is restricted from the evaporator coil. Because of that, the refrigerant will not turn into gas, instead, the evaporator coil will freeze.
  2. When air filters are clogged, air won’t be able to pass through them freely instead, dirty air will bypass them and deposit dirty debris on the evaporator coil. This will make it hard for the refrigerant to absorb heat from your indoor air. The liquid and cool refrigerant will then run through to the condenser coil. Instead of releasing heat, the condenser will release cool air.

How do I fix dirty air filters?

If you have not changed the air filter in a while, this is the time to replace it or clean it if it’s a washable one. Generally, air filters are supposed to be changed or cleaned at least once in about 2 months. Check the status of the air filter and if it’s dirty, take note of the specifications before getting a new one.

Replacing an air filter is an easy job that you can carry out yourself.

If your air filter is in good working condition and not an issue concerning your outdoor unit blowing cold air, then let’s go to the next step of our troubleshooting.

2) AC System Has a Leaking Refrigerant

AC System Has a Leaking Refrigerant

If the refrigerant has leaked out of your air conditioner system, this will cause your condenser unit to blow cold air. That is because no heat has been absorbed from your indoor air to be released outside by your condenser unit.

The refrigerant in the air conditioning system helps with the transfer of heat between your indoor and outdoor air. It’s a medium through which heat is extracted from your home and disposed of outside.

It is worth noting that an air conditioning system is a closed system where the refrigerant level is expected to remain the same throughout the life of your air conditioner. When the levels go down, that means there is a leak that needs to be sealed. In the worst-case scenario, you may need to replace the evaporator/condenser coil but that is rare.

How do I fix a leaking refrigerant?

If you believe you have low refrigerant in your AC system, it is best to call a licensed HVAC technician or local HVAC experts to come and examine your AC system.

Usually, a technician will verify the refrigerant charge and then pinpoint the leaks in the ac system.

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After sealing the leaks, that’s when the refrigerant can be recharged into your AC system. Otherwise, if leaks are not sealed, the refrigerant can leak out again in a matter of days.

3) Stuck Reverse Valve (If you have a heat pump)

A stuck reverse valve could be the reason for your ac outdoor unit blowing cold air.

Reverse valves switch between the cooling and heating modes to help the heat pump work as both an air conditioner and a heater.

After a long time of use, the reverse valve can malfunction or get stuck in either one of the modes. When the reverse valve gets stuck in the heating mode, your outdoor unit won’t blow warm air but cold air.

You can easily tell if your reverse valve is stuck in a single operating mode by trying to run your heat pump in both modes, one at a time.

Let’s say, you try to run it in heating mode. If the heat starts coming through, then heat is working.  And typically, on heat mode, the outdoor unit should blow cold air outside.

Now try running your heat pump in the cooling mode. If the condenser unit continues blowing cool air and no cool air comes into your home, then it’s a good sign that the reverse valve is defective.

How do I fix a reverse valve that is defective?

If you believe you have a reverse valve that is defective, it’s best you call an HVAC professional to come and take a look. A reverse valve is replaceable and may need to be replaced.  A technician should be able to make a recommendation on what to do next.

4) Defective Compressor Capacitor

A defective compressor capacitor can make your condenser outdoor unit to blow out cold air. Newer air conditioners come with dual capacitors that provide power to both the compressor (on one side) and the fan motor (on the other side).    

If one side of the capacitor that serves power to the compressor dies, the other part that powers the fan motor can still continue working and the fan will be blowing air when you run your air conditioner.

Because the compressor won’t be running, the refrigerant will not circulate around the coil. And that will not transfer heat from inside your home to the condenser unit. This is why your outdoor unit fan will blow cold air.

How do I fix a defective compressor capacitor?

Just like many other parts of an AC system, a compressor capacitor is replaceable. You can either call an HVAC technician to come and install a new one or you can do it yourself by purchasing a new capacitor and swapping it out. Just make sure that you take note of the specifications before ordering a new one.

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Final Thought

We hope that this guide has helped you find a solution to an ac condenser unit blowing cold air outside. If not, it’s perhaps a good idea to call local HVAC professionals to come and have a good look at your air conditioning system. Thanks for reading.

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