Troubleshooting Your AC Problems

Troubleshooting Your AC Problems

Malfunctions. Funny noises. An uncomfortable home. What on earth is going on with your AC? With a few tools and a little time, you may be able to figure it out yourself. Are you game?

Ditch the problems, technician, and repair bill by eliminating these possible AC issues:

  • AC not turning on?
    • Check the thermostat.
      It may need new batteries – or simply to be replaced.
    • Is it on?
      Don’t laugh. This happens. We bet you didn’t even know there was an “on” switch outside next to your condensing unit.
    • Check for power.
      Blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers are easily remedied.
    • Close the door.
      Your blower door on the air handler must be securely closed for proper operation.
  • Poor airflow?
    • Change that nasty filter.
      Every three months, minimum - unless you want you AC to work so hard you have to “change” it.
    • Eyeball AC ductwork.
      Crimps, blocks, and disconnections in ductwork can quickly result in an uncomfortable home.
  • AC turning off and on repeatedly?
    • Turn it down.
      What? Yep. If it’s a hot day you could be overworking it and freezing the coil. Turn the thermostat down 5-10 degrees (which allows the coil to thaw) and see if it returns to normal. If it’s 100 degrees outside, 65 isn’t going to happen. Be thankful for 78 or 80.
    • Keep it clean – inside and out.
      Change the filter to rule that out as a source of obstruction. Then check the outdoor unit. Frequent cycling is often caused by a dirty condensing unit (the box outside your home). Help your unit breathe by clearing away grass and other debris carefully without damaging the fins. If fins are bent, straighten them carefully with a fin comb.
  • AC not cooling properly?
    • Check your thermostat.
      “Operator error,” or simply not setting the thermostat properly, is a frequent cause of cooling issues.
    • Check drainage.
      Clogs in the drain line can cause improper operation and create a humid environment in your home. Make sure it is not blocked by algae or buried in your yard. If you have a condensate overflow tray, a sensor turns off your system when it’s full. Check and empty it if necessary.
    • Eyeball the outside unit.
      If the fins on the outside unit, or condenser, are dirty or blocked by grass or debris, carefully clean them without damaging the fins.
    • How gross is your filter?
      An AC filter that is so clogged it could get up and crawl away will reduce airflow and efficiency, straining your system and sabotaging cooling efforts. Change filters minimally every three months.

Bail out and call an Aire Serv®professional!
It’s great to save a buck, but not all situations are for rookies. If you notice any of the following problems, do not pass go; go directly to an Aire Serv professional:

  • You checked everything above and your AC is still not cooling properly.
    You may be low on refrigerant, or your evaporator coil may need a professional cleaning. If you can’t remember the last time you scheduled maintenance, your entire system probably needs some professional help.
  • You heard hissing - and now your system doesn’t blow as cold as it used to.
    This may be a sign of leaking refrigerant. Bad for the environment – and your system. Call a pro.
  • You noticed your AC was turning off and on frequently, and now it’s not working at all.
    Your compressor and/or fan could be worn out from the frequent cycling and in need of replacement. Face it. You’re just not that handy.
  • You’re hearing weird noises during startup and operation.
    Brief squeals at startup are normal, but other noises, from clicking and clanking to bubbles, hisses and screams, are not. They could be anything from loose screws and wiring to a bent fan blade or blown motor. Your unit contains dangers of the sharp, electrical, and expensive variety. Keep yourself and your unit safe. Get help.

Feeling the heat of AC repair? Don’t pop your top. Contact Aire Serv today.