During the summer, you count on your air conditioner to work without giving it much thought. Yet, when it doesn’t work properly, it becomes a huge inconvenience. Before you panic, however, there are some simple things you can check on your own that might just fix the problem quickly and easily. Knowing what you can do and when you will need a professional is important.
Before Calling a Professional:
- Check the Thermostat
The thermostat can accidentally get switched to the wrong setting. Make sure it is set to “auto” and not “heat” or “on.” If it is set to “on” the fan will blow air even when the air conditioner is not cooling.
- Clean the Outside A/C Unit
Make sure there is nothing clogging the coils. Clear away any leaves, dirt, or other debris. Keep shrubs and plants trimmed and at least two feet from the unit. Carefully clean the outside of the unit with a hose (low pressure), coil cleaner, and a coil brush.
- Change Your Filter
Dirty filters make your A/C work harder than necessary and compromise performance. Replace your filter every one to two months during cooling season.
Problems a Professional Will Need to Fix:
- Restriction in the airflow
This could be caused by a number of things, including a clogged filter or lack of regular maintenance. Restricted airflow can cause the compressor to freeze up.
- No electricity getting to the outside unit
This can happen if the circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown, and can indicate a major problem with the unit.
- Dirty evaporator coil
The evaporator coil, which is part of the inside A/C unit, can get dirty if the filter isn’t changed regularly and must be cleaned by a professional.
- Outdoor condenser fan not operating
The condenser fan can fail if the fan motor is bad.
- Low on refrigerant
This usually indicates a leak in the system that needs to be repaired, and can also be a sign that the compressor is about to fail.
- Broken or disconnected return duct
A damaged return duct will pull in unconditioned (warm) air from the outside or an attic space.