The time to investigate your air conditioning system for problems is before the weather gets hot. The arrival of those first warm spring days is your signal to maintain the AC. How to check your air conditioning system for problems involves a bit of cleaning and troubleshooting. Homeowners can sometimes clear up minor issues on their own, but this does not mean that you forgo professional AC maintenance.
- Garden hose
How to Check Your Air Conditioning System for Problems Step by Step
For seasonal DIY maintenance:
1. At the start of the warm season, go ahead and change the filter. Your cooling system needs a clean filter. You should aim to change it every one to three months.
2. Clear yard waste away from the outdoor condenser unit. Debris that blocks airflow inhibits the system’s ability to dispel captured heat to the outdoors.
3. Rake up the yard waste and trim any bushes overgrowing the unit.
4. Spray off the fins around the condenser unit and the fan blades with a garden hose. The removal of dust and grime reduces friction within the moving parts and promotes efficiency.
5. Turn on the AC to see how well it’s working. If it does not perform properly, try the troubleshooting advice below. Keep in mind that you might need professional AC repairs.
For airflow problems:
1. Your first step is to check the filter.
2. You may need a screwdriver to open the duct near the blower fan where the filter slides in.
3. Inspect the filter. If it appears very dirty, it was probably the source of your anemic airflow.
4. Insert a new filter and close the duct.
5. Go around your home and check the vents and air intakes for blockages. If you got new furniture or rearranged it recently, then one or more vents may be blocked. Move items away from all vents and intakes.
6. If resolving blockages does not restore airflow, you likely have a more severe problem. The blower motor may be failing, or the evaporator coil is covered in dirt. You’ll need an AC repair technician to check out the system.
For an unresponsive thermostat:
1. If nothing appears on a thermostat’s LED screen, then you probably need a new battery.
2. You may need a screwdriver to remove the battery plate.
3. Take off the battery cover and remove the old battery.
4. Install a new battery.
5. If the thermostat battery is not the problem, then you might need to reset the system.
6. Go to your circuit panel and find the circuit for the air conditioner.
7. Wiggle the switch. If it feels loose, the circuit was tripped.
8. Push the switch back into position and try turning on the AC.
9. If the circuit was not tripped, go ahead and switch it off briefly.
10. Turn the circuit back on and see if the AC runs properly.
For no cool air:
1. Go outside and inspect the condenser unit.
2. Look at the thick hose connecting the unit to the inside.
3. If you see ice on it, the system froze up.
4. Shut off the cooling system.
5. Wait an hour or two for the system to thaw and then turn on the AC again.
6. If you do NOT see ice on the hose and dirt and debris are not blocking the condenser, you could have a coolant leak. You should not handle coolant or risk inhaling it due to its toxicity.
When to Hire an AC Technician When Dealing with Air Conditioning Problems
Any electrical issue with your air conditioner that you can’t solve by resetting the circuit requires professional attention. Even if resetting the circuit cures the problem, watch out for it happening again. It is not normal to have a recurring electrical problem. A fussy electrical system calls for a professional inspection. Any issues with the coolant are a no-no for the untrained homeowner. As mentioned, coolant is dangerous to handle. Only a qualified technician with protective gear should repair a coolant problem.
Oliver has a skilled team with experience fixing all cooling system electrical or mechanical problems. If your spring inspection of the air conditioner does not reveal issues, do not assume that your system is immortal. Seasonal maintenance will prevent breakdowns and extend equipment life. Contact Oliver today to protect your investment in air conditioning with a maintenance plan.