Few things are worse than a broken air conditioner. Especially as we near the dog days of summer, a home without proper cooling makes hot and humid days much worse. What do you do if you have AC issues?
First and foremost, every homeowner should develop a relationship with an experienced and trustworthy AC contractor.
“Air conditioning remains an important and expensive piece of any home’s HVAC system. As a result, ensuring an experienced and expert AC contractor completes a routine inspection.
Why? In addition to avoiding common AC installation mistakes, reliable companies and technicians help ensure your home remains cool all season long.”
Additionally, many homes experience the same common AC issues. As a result, learn about the key problems and some solutions that aid in restoring your home comfort!
What if my AC isn’t blowing cold air?
There are a few ways to troubleshoot your HVAC system if your AC is not blowing cold air. Additionally, identifying the potential root cause of any AC issue helps contractors confirm or solve the problem. For example, some relatively common reasons stopping your AC from working, include:
- Power Issues actually cause many AC issues. Therefore, check the plug and ensure the power cord connects to the outlet. If everything checks out, then look at the electrical panel for a blown fuse.
- Thermostat Issues remains a possible cause of simple AC issues. Simply check the settings and temperature. To confirm a thermostat issue, turn the temp to the lowest level to see if the AC triggers.
- Clogged Filters typically restrict adequate airflow and/or simply shut down the air conditioner, which prevents motor damage or overheating. To fix, replace the air filter.
- Clogged Drains frequently shut down AC units because air conditioners remove moisture from the air and drain outside of the home. Therefore, if a clog exists, then the system stops working.
- Dirty Compressors often accumulate dirt and debris over time. As a result, simply check the compressor for dirt, and clean, as necessary.
- Ice Buildup occurs from dirty coils or filters (or even low refrigerant). To fix, then clean the filter, coils and/or add more refrigerant.
- Condensate Airflow Switch provides a safety mechanism, which trips and shuts off the system when the drain pipe clogs. However, the solution remains pretty simple. Just check the switch and see if the switch tripped. If so, then clean the drain pipe and reset the switch.
There is hope. Fixing some issues on your own remains an option. Plus, most are easily repaired by a qualified HVAC technician.
What if the AC doesn’t turn on?
First, if the AC doesn’t turn on, then check the power and thermostat settings. Next, check the fan, which powers the AC unit and frequently creates cooling problems when the fan motor overheats. Therefore, after checking the power, if your AC still doesn’t turn on, check the condenser fan.
For those homeowners not familiar with the condenser fan, it is part of your AC system located within the condensing unit. Most condenser fans operate up to 150F and the specific temperature for your AC system should be written on the side of the motor. The condenser fan motor powers the fan blades and blows air across the condenser coil, which cools the air prior to entering your home ductwork. Maintaining the condenser fan motor helps prolong the life of the AC compressor.
However, condenser fan motors overheat, which creates home cooling problems. The main reasons for overheating include:
- Bad Motor, which means checking the warranty for a possible replacement at no charge.
- Incorrectly Sized Motor, which means checking the manufacturer’s recommendations for ensuring the right sized motor.
- Overamping, which results from installing the incorrect run capacitor or an incorrectly sized fan blade.
- Poor Airflow typically occurs with incorrect installation of the fan blades.
- Lack of Maintenance generally means improper lubrication or cleaning of the motor.
Fortunately, homeowners have a simple solution to check if the condenser fan motor overheats. Simply place your hand on top of the unit. Generally, it will feel warm to the touch, but if it is noticeably or excessively hot, there is likely a problem that needs to be addressed. Additionally, homeowners can check the temperature of the condenser fan motor with a regular thermometer.
In order to prolong the life of your HVAC system schedule regular maintenance by a qualified HVAC professional.
What if my AC runs, but my home is still hot?
If your AC system run and the main components work effectively, then check the ductwork. The air conditioning unit provides cold air, which moves throughout your home via ducts. As a result, check and clean your air ducts if your home remains hot!
Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause the AC unit to work harder, which probably shortens the life of the system as well. For example, HVAC systems accumulate dirt through normal use. Therefore, although many of us routinely replace air filters, the duct still acquire dirt and debris.
A general rule of thumb for consumers is “if your air ducts look dirty, they probably are!”
As with all things in life, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true when it comes to your air condition system as well. By having a professional technician perform annual inspections and staying on top of any AC issues, you can help to avoid any potential cooling outages or emergencies. When in doubt, enlist the help of a qualified professional rather than risk damaging your system further by attempting DIY repair.