You don’t think much about the AC if it’s working fine. But when your home isn’t as cool as you want it to be, or the AC stops working, that quickly changes. The thought emerges that it’s time to call an AC repair company and prepare to pay a hefty bill. But before contacting an HVAC professional, you can try troubleshooting the issue yourself. You may even find a simple DIY solution to the problem.
The following tips can help determine why your AC isn’t working right:
Start with the Thermostat
The thermostat is your AC’s control center. Someone at home may have accidentally changed the setting. See whether the temperature is set so your AC unit won’t be signaled to produce cool air. Lowering the setting by a few degrees can get the system to kick in. And if your thermostat is set to heat when you need cool air, switch it to “Cool” mode and see what happens.
If changing these thermostat settings resolves the issue, you don’t need a professional. Another DIY fix is to replace the batteries if the thermostat doesn’t turn on. If the display doesn’t light up, replace the batteries with others of the same size. Kudos if you’ve got the system to work normally again.
Check for a Power Issue
Go to the main electrical panel and find the breaker for your AC circuit. If it tripped, turn the switch to the “Off” position and back to “On”. You won’t need a technician if the system stays on and the breaker doesn’t trip again. But if the breaker isn’t affected, check the indoor unit’s on/off switch and the outside disconnect switch; if one or both are off, flip them back on.
These solutions don’t always fix the problem. If not, check whether lights and other electrical devices work. A power outage in your area will prevent anything electrical in your home from working until the utility company turns the electricity back on. But if that doesn’t seem to be the case, have an AC or electrical technician check for a hidden switch or wiring problem.
Change the Air Filter
A dirty or blocked filter usually won’t disable your AC system. But it can trigger symptoms such as reduced cooling performance, a lack of airflow, or higher energy bills. These sometimes mean you need AC repair.
The filter should be changed every one to three months depending on the filter type, how frequently your air conditioner is used, and indoor air quality. Before calling for help, consider when you last changed the filter and look to see if it’s dirty. If so, installing a new filter should resolve the issues you’re having.
Self-Assess Your HVAC System
If you still haven’t found the source of the problem, look for water in the drain pan. The pan under the evaporator unit collects water from moisture in the air, which feeds into a drain line. Your AC has an emergency cutoff that triggers when the drain pan fills up, which is usually due to a clogged drain line. If you know how to unclog it, this can restore your air conditioning.
Also, check the AC vents around your home. Furniture, cabinets, paintings, etc., should not cover them. If so, move whatever is blocking a vent or open any vents that are closed. Blocked or closed vents can cause an imbalance that affects your HVAC system’s cooling ability. A similar issue can occur outside your home as well. The outside air compressor should be free of dirt and debris and have three feet of clear space around it.
When to Call for AC Repair
Contact your local AC repair company if none of these tips have gotten your air conditioning system to work again. A technician should look at the unit if it’s unusually noisy, emits odors, or is leaking. Many HVAC contractors are available 24/7. If your AC stops working on a hot summer day, consider it an emergency and have a professional troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair the unit to get it working again.
Contact Monarch Home Services
We have NATE- and EPA-certified technicians to provide 24/7 AC repair in the South Central Valley. If our tips for troubleshooting your air conditioner don’t help, there may be a hidden problem that’ll only get worse if not fixed professionally. Call us if your home is warmer than usual or the AC has weak airflow, musty odors, loud noises, or longer running cycles. To schedule AC repair services in Central California, you can reach us at (661) 215-5851.