One basic step in regular AC maintenance is to clean your unit regularly and keep the components, especially the filters and blowers, free from dust and debris. Also, always be on alert for small issues that, if ignored, can lead to costly repairs or replacement. An air conditioner that functions smoothly uses energy efficiently, which means lower electricity consumption and lower power bills for your household.
No matter how vigilant you are about air conditioner maintenance, it is still possible to encounter problems with its performance. Perhaps the air isn’t as cold as it should be. The thermostat may be difficult to control. You’ve seen water leaking, among other common issues. At the first sign of these problems, it’s best to seek the help of professionals. On the other hand, some homeowners will try to see if they can do quick fixes by themselves. Basic AC troubleshooting can be a practical move, but only if you know the essential and safe steps to take.
The first two steps may seem obvious, but still helpful to try: Check if the air filters are clean. Then, make sure it is turned to “cool” and not lower than current room temperature.
Check if there’s air escaping out the floor or ceiling:
- If not, check outside fans. If the outside fans are not running, continue to inspect outside components. Check if the furnace/air handler breakers are turned on.
- If the breaker is fine, then the problem may be with the thermostat, or the control board for the furnace and air handler, or the wires that connect the thermostat and furnace/air handler.
- If the breaker is tripping, turn it off and on again. Check the wiring and repair if needed if this resetting doesn’t solve the issue.
If your AC has a condensate pump, check if the reservoir is not full. If yes, a pump repair or replacement may be necessary and you should contact a professional HVAC technician for a proper diagnosis.
Check if the outside fan is blowing out hot air:
- If the blower isn’t running, check the run capacitor, blower motor or control board for the furnace/air handler.
- If the fan isn’t running, turn the power off and check wires for damage or disconnections. Also, check the capacitors.
- Turn the unit power back on or reset the unit. Check and measure the power to the unit and the coil on the contactor.
If you notice ice or water around the unit or furnace:
- Melt the ice on the outside lines by turning the outside unit off and leaving the furnace blower on.
- Turn the unit on after a couple of hours. After a few minutes, the outside copper line should have condensation and should feel cold. If it’s not cold and there’s frost formation, the problem should be turned to a professional, as per most local safety regulations.
If the AC’s cooling effect feels inadequate:
- Turn the unit on and measure the temperature drop after 15 minutes. The room should be 15-20 degrees colder.
- If you get a smaller temperature drop, check if the airflow is constructed by dirt in the coil, blower or filters. Improper installation may also be causing the airflow obstruction.
- As you may see, even the “basic” troubleshooting may still be a bit complicated if you’re not yet familiar with your unit components. If you’re still not confident in your know-how or you don’t have access to the right tools, AC troubleshooting, Santa Clarita HVAC experts say, should be left in the hands of professionals. For serious issues with your AC, call your reliable heating and cooling professionals immediately.