Many homeowners who encounter AC problems typically call a professional air conditioning service immediately. While that is well and good, you have to keep in mind that not all air conditioning issues need the attention of an expert. At the very least, you should know how to troubleshoot your air conditioner first before calling in the big guns. For all you know, the AC problem you’re facing is so simple it can be fixed with one flick of a switch.
Here are some easy DIY air conditioner fixes you can do first before referring the problem to an HVAC professional.
Check your breaker
Is your air conditioner not turning on? It could be a major malfunction, or it could be just a tripped breaker, especially when several appliances share it. To save yourself some money, effort, and embarrassment, check your breaker first and make sure it’s not turned off. Flip it back on if you find the switch in the “off” position. Once you’ve turned it on and your AC still won’t come to life, then that would be time to call an HVAC service professional.
Clean or replace your air filter
You’re running the AC at full blast, and you still feel warm? It could be an airflow problem, and dirty air filters are typically responsible for that. If you’re not in the habit of cleaning or changing your air filters every 1-3 months, then it’s very likely for dirt and debris to have built up and blocked the air intake.
As a consequence of poor airflow due to a filthy air filter, your AC unit will have to work so much harder to do its job, and that means it has to use up more electricity. So expect higher energy bills if you don’t clean or replace your air filter on a regular basis.
If you have changed your air filter and your unit is still barely working, the problem could be of a more severe variety, one that requires the expertise of a certified AC technician.
Let your AC unit thaw
Many homeowners complain that their AC unit is iced up, and that will hamper its capability to do its job correctly. The most logical solution is to melt the ice. If you want the ice to melt more quickly, just set the unit to “fan” and it will all thaw out. You can also opt to just let the ice melt by itself.
Then again, an air conditioner that ices up maybe a symptom of other problems. Weak airflow caused by a dirty air filter can cause the unit to freeze up, but addressing that type of issue is easy. Just replace the air filter, and you’re good to go. However, the problem could be caused by something more serious, like low refrigerant, or worse, a refrigerant leak. It’s always best to leave refrigerant issues in the hands of an HVAC professional.
Check your thermostat
Sometimes, it’s just the thermostat that could be messing with your air conditioner’s operation. Your kids could have played with the thermostat and inadvertently changed the settings. It’s also possible that your thermostat just needs new batteries. Always check the thermostat if your AC unit is experiencing operation problems. You don’t want to be mortified from having to ask to be rescued by an air conditioning expert from a thermostat with weak batteries.
Clean your outside unit
It is common for homeowners to forget that their AC unit has an outdoor air condenser that needs to be clean and free of debris. After all, it’s out of sight, and therefore out of mind, but it does require your attention.
Whether or not your air conditioner is experiencing problems, you must always perform a spot check every now and then and make sure your outside unit is not covered by weeds, dirt, or debris such as leaves or broken tree branches.
Keeping the outside unit clean and free of debris is essential because it’s tasked with releasing heat taken from inside your home. If it’s covered by debris, releasing that heat would be a problem, and that would have an impact on the operation of your air conditioner.
Hosing down the outside unit would also be a good way of cleaning it, but if you’re not that comfortable with removing components of the unit, have a professional do it for you instead.
Remember that all the suggestions above are very easy DIY air conditioner fixes for simple problems. However, once you begin to notice a burning smell from the inside of the unit or hear rattling or thumping sounds, turn off your unit and call an HVAC service professional straight away. Such air conditioning problems may be serious, and only a skilled and experienced air conditioning technician can deal with them properly.