It is a hot and humid day. Your clothes feel like they are sticking to your skin, yet it is supposed to be cool inside with the AC on. It seems like there is something wrong with your AC unit, but does that mean it is necessary to call an air conditioner repair technician? Not always. Air conditioner problems are common, especially after a long summer. Sometimes, there are things homeowners can do to get their system operating again without spending a fortune on air conditioner repair fees.
Check the AC settings
Both window and central air units have a temperature control thermostat and a fan-only option. Make sure the dial is set to cool or the thermostat is set at a temperature lower than the ambient air temperature of the room. Also, make sure that the switch or dial is in the “Cool” position and not in the “Fan Only” position.
Check the breaker and outdoor electrical box
Make sure that the breaker has not been tripped for the central air circuit at the breaker box. Some central air systems also have an outdoor electrical box with a breaker or lever switch. It’s a metal or plastic box on the wall near the outdoor fan and condenser unit. Make sure the breaker has not tripped or that the lever switch has not been tampered with. In the summer, be aware that insects may build nests in these boxes. Also, kids playing outdoors may discover the switch and shut it off.
Check the coils and filters
Dirty or blocked coils on the outdoor condenser unit can cause an inefficient release of heat energy, making an AC system perform poorly. Dirty filters can do the same thing. Clean or change any filters, then spray off the outdoor coils with a garden hose. Technicians use a strong liquid acid to eat away grime that has built up on coils, but sometimes a cleaning with a garden hose is sufficient. Clear away any leaves, plants or objects that may be blocking free air movement at the outdoor condenser unit as well.
Dirty coils at the inside part of a central air unit need to be professionally cleaned. If little or no air is coming out of the vents, even though the indoor blower fan is on, it is likely that indoor coils are blocked by dirt or are freezing over and blocking air movement. This is one thing that does require professional repair.
Thawing frozen coils
Shut off the compressor to the system by turning the thermostat up much higher than the current room temperature or by setting the switch to “Fan Only.” Let the indoor blower fan run for a few hours. Once the ice build up is thawed, the system will work again. However, it is either dirty coils, a blocked drain or low refrigerant that is causing the coils to freeze. Still, this quick fix buys some time until the repair appointment can be made.
Central air systems can experience major issues such as failed compressors, refrigerant leaks and blower motor malfunctions. However, sometimes the fix is as easy as removing leaves piled against the outdoor condenser. Take the time to check the system out before calling for repair. It could save a bundle of money.
If you’d rather not have to deal with troubleshooting when your major appliances go on the fritz, a home warranty like that from American Home Shield can save you time, money and hassle.
Post Author: andyc.