How to Troubleshooting Air Conditioner Issues – A Brief Home Owner’s Guide
Central air conditioning is one of the luxuries we take for granted during the hot summer months. But what do you do when your air conditioning system produces little-to-no cool air? While central air conditioners will need some professional maintenance, there are many minor issues that you can easily fix yourself with just a little bit of knowledge and some basic tools. Before you call a professional, here are some troubleshooting tips to help you successfully complete your air conditioner repair.
No Air Flow
If you aren’t feeling any air flowing from your cooling vents, or if the air flow is poor, you will want to first make sure the air filter is clean. If it is not, you will want to either clean the filter or replace it with a new one. If there isn’t an issue with your air filter, visually inspect the air ducts to make sure everything is connected properly. Make sure to check the ducts in any attics, basements, crawlspaces, and other areas that aren’t necessarily easy to access. Lastly, make sure the registers in each room are open. These steps will help you resolve most air flow issues with air conditioning system.
A common issue amongst central air conditioning users is learning your system won’t power on. If this is the case, first check your thermostat and make certain it is set to “Cool” instead of “Off” or “Heat.” Next, set the thermostat below the current room temperature if it isn’t already. Then check your circuit breaker that controls your air conditioning unit, as well as the breaker that controls your furnace. If any of the fuses have popped, reset them, replacing those that are damaged.
Then, turn on all switches around the air conditioning unit. Make sure the external safety switch, located on an outdoor wall near the condenser, is also turned on. Your next task is to check the overflow tray. If there is too much water in the tray, the unit will automatically shut off to prevent damage to your central air conditioner. Once you have completed all of these steps, check the air handler’s blower door and verify that it is closed and secured.
If you know your air conditioning unit is the right size for your house, but you have excessive moisture in the house, you may be dealing with excessive humidity. This can be caused by open windows, water leaks, or a lack of adequate condensation drainage from the furnace’s evaporator coil. You will want to check to see that all of your windows are closed to prevent humid air from entering your home. Then check the air conditioner’s drainage system for any blocks.
If your air conditioner isn’t the right size for your house, the only real solution is to replace your unit with one that is the proper size for your needs. A unit that isn’t pulling moisture from the air is likely too large for your house. Expanding the air ducts of your house into your garage, attic, or basement can help alleviate the issue.
Another common issue central air conditioner owners encounter is that the air conditioner runs a very short “On” cycle. If this is the case, make sure there is nothing blocking the thermostat. Then, check the unit’s condensing fins as they can become bent, dirty, or obstructed, as these issues can interfere with the cooling cycle. If any of the condensing fins are bent, fix them with a fin comb.
Next, you will want to check the air filter to see if it is clogged or dirty. You may need to replace the filter if you cannot clean it thoroughly. If all of these steps don’t resolve your issue, you will need to call a service technician to have them check on the refrigerant charge, look for leaks, and possibly replace the condensing unit if it is too large for your house.