Air Conditioner Troubleshooting – When AC Doesn’t Mean “Always Cool”

AC Troubleshooting Pic

AC Troubleshooting PicAt Home Comfort Experts, we want to keep you comfortable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, air conditioners break down. When our technicians come to fix your system, it’s occasionally something easy that you could have diagnosed yourself if only you’d known what to look for.

So, for all of you homeowners who could use a little guidance, the team at Home Comfort has put together a troubleshooting guide to help you diagnose the problem and fix it yourself or know when to call in the experts.

Problem: Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

First – Check that the thermostat is set to cool – not off or on heat.

Second – Check your electrical panel to see if a breaker is tripped.

Third – Check your furnace/AC’s power switch to make sure it’s on.

Fourth – Check the power switch on the outdoor (condenser) unit to make sure it’s on. It is located in a box attached to the house.

Fifth – Check/Replace the thermostat batteries.

If these steps do not get the AC running again, it’s time to call a professional technician!

Related Read: The 5-Step Prep for Getting the Most Out of Your Outdoor Unit

Problem: AC Runs But Doesn’t Cool

First – Check that the filter is clean. In newer air conditioners, if the filter is dirty, it can cause the whole system to shut down. Clean or replace the filter if necessary. Don’t forget, it is recommended that homeowners change their filter every month. Remind yourself with Home Comfort Experts’ filter replacement reminder!

Second – Remove the door on the front of the unit and check for ice. If you see ice, turn the fan on only and let it thaw. It may take an hour or two to thaw and it may freeze again after running. If it does freeze up again quickly, you may need to call a professional.

Third – Clean the condensate drain, usually a plastic drain pipe that comes out of the side of the indoor unit. Algae can build up and block it causing the AC to fail.

Fourth – Make sure the outdoor compressor is working. Turn the AC on and listen for the compressor to kick on. If the fan isn’t turning, look for an override button or reset switch (not all models have them). Clean the outdoor compressor. Using a stick or screwdriver, try to spin the fan clockwise. It should spin freely. Sometimes this will give it enough of a boost to get it running. If a little nudge was all it took, you have a bad capacitor that must be replaced by a technician.

If none of these steps worked, you probably have a refrigerant leak and you’ll need to get a refill from a professional.

Problem: AC Motor Runs But It Doesn’t Blow Air

First – Check for a broken belt. If the motor runs but the fan doesn’t move air, the belt that connects the motor and the fan is probably broken. Turn off the unit (and gas if it’s a gas unit), remove the door and look for a broken belt.

Second – Lubricate the fan. Some fans and their motors need oiling; some have sealed bearings. If recommended by your maintenance manual, oil the bearings according to the manufacturer’s directions.

If these issues are not the cause, call a professional air conditioner technician like the technicians at Home Comfort Experts. Want to avoid breakdowns like these? Join our Comfort Club and save!

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