Your home air conditioner is an important part of the climate control system and you want to make sure that it is working well and providing cool air. When a problem does arise, many homeowners skip directly to calling their local service technician rather than taking some time to perform basic troubleshooting. While there may be some situations that will require the assistance of an HVAC professional, there are some issues that can be resolved very easily by the homeowner.
Now, some of these tips may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people fail to check them before they get a service tech on the scene.
Assess the problem
The first step in any troubleshooting process is to identify the problem. Once you have the problem identified, then you can take the proper steps to identify the cause of the problem and possibly take steps to address the issue. The most common problems that you will find with an air conditioner unit are that the unit is not working at all, that it is not blowing out cool air or that it has weak airflow. Identify which of these problems that you are experiencing and then move on to the appropriate troubleshooting steps.
Air conditioner not working
If the air conditioner does not seem to turn on at all, there are few steps that you can try to assess the situation. The first thing that you need to do is check the thermostat. Make sure that it is switched to cool instead of heat and check the temperature setting. Try setting it to a temperature that is considerably lower than the indoor temperature to see if the unit will engage at a lower temperature.
If there is still no action from the air conditioner, then you want to move on to checking the power supply to the unit. Go to your breaker panel and check to see if the air conditioner breaker is tripped or turned off. If the breaker is on, you can turn it off and go check the electrical connections at the air conditioning unit itself. Sometimes the connections become corroded or worn and this can inhibit the power supply to the unit. For safety reasons, you need to turn the breaker off before you open the service panel on the air conditioner.
Air conditioner blowing warm air
If your air conditioner is not producing cool air, chances are that the unit is low on refrigerant. If this is the case, then you will need a service tech to charge the system and inspect it for any leaks. However, there is a chance that dirt and grime in the system is causing the unit to malfunction. Before you call a HVAC technician, you can go outside and inspect the condenser to see whether it could use a good cleaning. To prevent this from occurring and to keep your air conditioner running properly and to its full efficiency, it is recommended that you have the machine inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
If the airflow that is coming from the vents seems to be weak, then there are a few steps that you can take that may help to correct the problem. In many cases, there is something inhibiting airflow to the system and in turn, this impacts the air conditioners ability to produce sufficient airflow. Check the filter in the system, a dirty filter will restrict airflow. You also want to make sure that the vents are open and unobstructed. There may also be a problem with leaking ducts. If the ducts are leaking, they may need to be replaced or repaired.
If you have gone through all of these steps and the problem still persists, then you may need to call in a professional. However, you will have done all you can and you can at least be satisfied that you are not paying for a repair that you could have easily performed on your own.