Air Conditioner Fixes for Homeowners
Posted by Will Housh on May 4
When your air conditioner starts making a strange noise, or stops working altogether, it’s easy to panic. Many homeowners don’t possess a detailed knowledge of cooling systems, which can make tackling an air conditioner fix more intimidating.
The truth is, not every HVAC issue requires professional help. In some cases, the air conditioner fix can be performed by the average user – as long as you know what to do. Below are some common cooling system issues that may arise this summer, as well as the air conditioner fixes that can get your equipment running smoothly again, without the expensive repair bill.
Air Conditioner Fix: AC won’t turn on
An air conditioner that won’t start up on a hot day can certainly make you sweat. Before you find an HVAC contractor, troubleshoot the system yourself – the issue causing your system not to start could be a simple air conditioner fix.
Check the Thermostat Settings
If your thermostat is adjusted without your knowledge, the settings may not be correct to call for cooling.
- Make sure the unit has power. Replace the batteries with fresh ones. If your thermostat is hardwired to the home’s electrical system, check the breaker to ensure it has not been tripped, cutting off power to the thermostat.
- Check the settings. Your thermostat should be set to cooling mode. The temperature should be set below the home’s current temperature to trigger the air conditioner to start up. On programmable models, make sure the hold or vacation mode has not been activated, pausing your active settings.
Check the Power
An air conditioner that won’t turn on could easily be caused by lack of power. Check your unit’s power sources prior to calling a contractor for an air conditioner fix.
- Check the exterior unit to ensure it is plugged in, and the exterior switch near the condenser should be set to ‘on’.
- Go to your home’s electrical panel. Ensure the breakers powering the air conditioner’s condenser and air handler are not tripped and are functioning correctly.
Check the Air Filter
A clogged air filter could prevent the cooling system from firing up. Clogged filters limit airflow through the system, which can cause it to overheat. The system’s safety controls may trigger the system to shut down in order to protect it from damage.
Replace your dirty air filter with a new one, or give your reusable filter a good cleaning. Insert the filter properly, and give your system some time to cool down if it just recently stopped coming on.
Air Conditioner Fix: No cool air
While your air conditioner may be turning on, if it’s not blowing cool air, it’s not doing you any good. Some simple-to-solve issues could be causing your lack of cool air.
Check the Air Filter
Once again, the air filter could be to blame for your air conditioning system issue. If the filter is blocked, restricting airflow, not enough cooled air will travel through the ducts into your home. You’ll feel some air coming through your vents, but it may not be as cool as you expect.
Replace your clogged air filter with a new disposable one, or clean your reusable filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Reinsert the filter in the appropriate direction.
Check the Ducts
Duct leaks allow cool air to exit the duct system before entering your home. You may feel air coming through your registers, but since up to 30 percent of energy can be lost through duct leaks, that air may not be cool.
If your ducts are accessible, inspect for disconnected sections, holes, and gaps. While some homeowners prefer to work with an HVAC contractor for duct issues, you may feel comfortable sealing minor leaks on your own.
Duct tape is not the answer! Duct tape delaminates, losing its sealing ability quickly. The proper sealant for duct leaks in duct joints is mastic. Duct joints should be secured with sheet metal screws, then mastic is applied across the duct seams, sealing the holes that allow air to leak out.
Air Conditioner Fix: Call the contractor
When an easy air conditioner fix doesn’t do the trick, you need the experience and know-how of a true HVAC pro. HVAC.com connects homeowners to local cooling contractors who’ll perform the expert air conditioner fix your system needs to run smoothly throughout the summer.
Search our Online Directory to find an HVAC.com Certified Contractor in your area.