6 Reasons Why Your AC Unit Isn’t Working Right

6 Reasons Why Your AC Unit Isn't Working Right

Coming home on a sweltering day to find your air conditioning isn’t working is never a good feeling. Before you call for a HVAC repairman, try these simple tips to pin point the problem and possibly fix the unit yourself.

Check the Thermostat

Start with the thermostat and make sure the display says cooling. Make sure the setting is at a comfortable temperature. If the settings are normal, remove the cover and replace the batteries. Also, if the thermostat is programmable, double-check all the settings.

Change the Filter

After checking the thermostat settings, look at the air filter. A filter covered with dirt and grime prevents proper air flow and lets dirt clog your unit. Change disposable air filters monthly. If it turns out the evaporator coil is dirty, call a professional HVAC technician for cleaning.

Check the Condenser

Go outside and check around your condenser unit. Debris buildup around the unit constricts proper air flow and raises the inside temperature. Remove leaves, newspapers, and trash from around and inside the unit. Then turn the unit back on and see if cool air flows from the vents.

Clogged Condensate Pipe

Look at the condensate pipe on the outside unit. When the unit is running, water drip slowly from the pipe. If nothing is dripping, check for a clog in the pipe or drain pan. Use a shop vac to clear the pipe of algae and dirt.

Look at the Circuit Breakers

Go to your electric box and check the circuit breakers. Reset the breaker by turning it off and then on or replace the fuse. If the breaker trips again, you probably have a short in the system. It is best to hire a professional HVAC technician when dealing with electrical problems.

Is it a Power Issue?

If a simple solution is not the answer, then see if the unit is receiving power. Listen to the outdoor unit for the sound of the compressor. If the compressor is running, you know the unit is getting power and it is probably a bad capacitor.

If you have a multimeter with the ability to read microfarads, then test the capacitor. Remember, capacitors store an electric charge like a battery and although non-lethal, you don’t want a shock. It is probably best to call a professional.

If the capacitor checks out, then the logical conclusion is a bad motor. Sometimes you can restart the motor by spinning the fan blade with a stick, but it’s still a bad motor and you need to have a professional HVAC repairman replace it.

Refrigerant Leaks

Another possible problem is low refrigerant. If you believe the unit needs coolant, call a professional HVAC repair person. Testing the charge and finding a leak needs a special diagnostic equipment that only a professional technician has.     

Sometimes fixing your air conditioning unit is as simple as flipping a switch or replacing thermostat batteries. Other times, calling a professional is the right decision. If it’s anything to do with electricity or refrigerant, let a trained technician handle it. 

Editorial Team
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