One of the many modern marvels we have today is that of air conditioning. With it, our family can be comfortable even when the temperatures are hot outside. Typically, we don’t even give this complex system much thought but there will eventually come a time when every homeowner must think about this system. This is because it’ll eventually stop working and this usually happens during the most inconvenient and hottest times.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to go to the expense of calling in a professional HVAC technician. All it takes is a little motivation and guidance for most homeowners to be able to fix some of the most common reasons why their air conditioning system is malfunctioning. This means that your system can be up and running again quickly.
When you take the time to fix your own air conditioning system you won’t only save yourself some money but your family will also think of you as a hero. Unfortunately, there may be some repairs that do require the knowledge and training of a skilled professional. Remember, you shouldn’t ever sacrifice your or your family’s safety just so you can save some money. This is why it’s important to know what common repairs you can make on your air conditioning system and which ones you should leave for the professionals.
The Air Conditioning Won’t Turn On
When you go to turn the air conditioning on because it’s hot outside but nothing happens it’s probably because the system isn’t powering on. You’ll want to look at your thermostat but don’t panic if nothing is happening there immediately. Instead, turn it down about 5 degrees and the condenser should kick on and the cooling cycle should start. However, if this doesn’t work, you should check the circuit breaker.
Since your central air conditioning system consumes a lot of power it’s possible that it may have tripped your home’s circuit breaker which will keep it from working. This is something that frequently happens in older homes. To fix this you’ll need to go find your unit’s condenser unit which is where the circuit breaker box is usually located. When you open this up and see that the circuit has been tripped, you’ll need to reset it. Afterwards, you can go to your thermostat and start the cooling cycle again. If this doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional because it’s likely you have a more serious problem such as a broken compressor or motor. These things can prevent your AC from working. Unfortunately, you can’t fix them yourself. You’ll need a certified HVAC technician to fix them for you.
The Air Conditioning Won’t Cool Your Home
When you decide to turn on your air conditioner and it kicks on but doesn’t seem to cool your home you should take a look at your thermostat. This is the most obvious place to start so take a moment to lower the temperature by at least five degrees. Give your system some time to register the change (about an hour) then check its temperature again. If you notice that it’s gotten cooler, you’ve discovered your problem. Otherwise, it may be time to perform some air conditioning maintenance and clean your system’s evaporator coil.
When the evaporator coil in your central air conditioner unit is easily accessible you can clean it yourself. Typically the coil will be located above the air handler so you’ll need to remove a few screws and some foil insulation tape. You can then use a stiff brush and a tablespoon of bleach to carefully clean the coil. When you’re done, make sure that you replace the screws and seal up any leaks with some duct tape.
Sometimes you’ll try everything that you can to fix the problem with your air conditioning cool your home and still, the problem persists. In this case, it’s time to call a professional because this may be a sign that you have a more serious problem. It’s possible that your system has a leak that’s caused it to become low on refrigerant which means that only an HVAC professional can fix the problem for you.
The Bottom Line
The easiest way to fix your air conditioning system is to keep it from breaking down in the first place. By taking the time to perform air conditioning maintenance annually you’ll make your unit work more efficiently and ensure that its longevity. The choice is up to you whether you want to perform the maintenance yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that offer specials on annual maintenance. The benefit here is that they’ll also perform tests (e.g. refrigerant measurements, amp draws) that you can’t do yourself.
When you decide to clean, repair, or maintain your own air conditioning unit you should always consult your owner’s manual and make sure that you’ve turned the power off before getting started. If you don’t feel like you can do this yourself, you should contact a professional. There’s nothing wrong with doing this especially since you could end up damaging your unit or injuring yourself.