During a hot and humid day, an air conditioner breakdown is the last thing you want. When this happens, the first instinct is to call for a professional air conditioning repair, and that’s understandable. When your AC unit has serious issues, it’s usually impossible to fix them on your own. Fortunately, the more common AC problems can be easily fixed with the right troubleshooting steps. Being able to fix these issues can save you money. Before diving into the list of tips, let’s first examine the different types of AC units.
There are several types of AC units, but the most common types are split units and packaged units. Split units have two separate parts. The condenser is outside your home, while the evaporator coils are installed inside.
On the other hand, packaged units have the condenser and the evaporator in a single unit, hence the name. The troubleshooting steps listed here apply to both types. With that out of the way, here are some easy and quick DIY tips for troubleshooting and repairing minor AC issues.
Check the circuit breaker.
If your AC won’t turn on, the first thing you can try to look at is the circuit breaker. Typically found in the main electrical panel, the breaker controls the power going to your house, and sometimes, it trips when it can’t handle the excess load. This is highly likely if you have many appliances and other electric equipment connected to the same breaker.
This is a quick check you can do without needing to call for an air conditioning service. However, if this happens frequently, you might have a short in the system that can easily be fixed by a certified air conditioning repair technician.
Clean or replace the air filter.
The air filter controls how much air goes into the house. If your AC doesn’t cool as much as it used to, the filter might be dirty and clogged. This clog disrupts the airflow and might cause the system to ice up, affecting your unit’s cooling efficiency.
This issue can be prevented by frequent cleaning or changing of filters. The rule of thumb is if your filters are too dirty to clean, you should replace them. You don’t need specialized skills to install new filters. So, you can do this task on your own. Just make sure that the filters you’re going to buy are high-quality pieces that will perform well and last a long time. And check that you are buying the correct size filters.
Manufacturers usually recommend the replacement of air filters every 60 to 90 days. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends changing it every three months, at least, and checking it every month, especially during heavy use months like in the summer and winter. Your AC unit will cool better and prevent dust and allergens from polluting your room air.
Inspect the thermostat.
Another thing to check if your AC doesn’t cool as well as it did before is the thermostat. Sometimes when left unchecked for a long time, the thermostat may lose its original settings. One quick reset is sometimes enough to fix this issue. Also, check the batteries. They might need replacing.
You must also set the thermostat below the ambient room temperature. Consider getting a replacement thermostat if the one you have is not displaying any figures, and shuts down the whole system when you set it to heat.
Melt the ice.
This is related to tip number 2. If the unit is iced up because of the clogged and dirty filter, turn off the unit but keep the fan running. This helps melt the ice quicker than just by turning it off. Within an hour or two, the built-up ice should be thawed, and the system will start working properly again. While thawing out your unit, do tip number 2 and clean the filters.
If the coils ice up again, there might be more serious underlying issues like dirty coils, low refrigerant levels, or blocked drains. If this happens again, you should now consider calling for an air conditioning repair service.
Check the capacitor.
The capacitor is a small cylindrical object which usually looks like a tin can or a 9-volt battery. It stores and releases energy and is responsible for starting the motor. When you have defective capacitors, the usual result is an overheating motor, which then shuts down your whole AC unit.
For a split unit, the first easy step you can do to check your AC unit’s capacitor is by watching and listening. If you hear humming, but the fan is not turning, that’s a sign that you have a faulty capacitor. To confirm this even further, try pushing one of the fan blades with a long stick. If it spins after a gentle push, then you got a bad start capacitor.
Because it involves a risk of shock, you should never attempt to test your AC capacitor. Testing, discharging, or replacing capacitors involves high-voltages, so you should hire an air conditioning service technician to perform these tasks.
Clean the whole AC unit.
Instead of an air conditioning repair service, your AC might just need a good cleaning. Doing this goes a long way when it comes to keeping your unit working at optimum levels. For split types, first, turn off the unit, clean the fan blades, and remove debris from the outside unit. Don’t forget to clean the condenser fins carefully, making sure that you don’t damage the fins or blades.
Packaged units are a lot trickier to clean as it requires removing the unit from the wall mount. It’s better to let a certified air conditioning service technician do this. You can do minor cleaning by removing the front panel and vacuuming the dust.
Following the steps above might fix your more common AC issues without needing to call for a professional air conditioning repair service. However, if you don’t have the time to do it yourself or have tried the troubleshooting and repair steps in this article and still didn’t manage to fix your AC, then don’t hesitate to call a professional air conditioning repair company.
REMEMBER: Some issues are just so complicated that calling for a specialists’ hands is unavoidable! Call top-rated HVAC companies like Tri-City Heating & Air for professional services like adding freon and major electrical repairs. Save time and money by hiring professionals to fix your A/C problem!
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