Air Conditioning Repair Issues Homeowners Need to Know
Summertime heat has arrived and air conditioning has become a part of your daily routine; AC at home, in the car, at work, and in most places you shop. Waking up to or stepping into a hot house is such a surprise, and it leads to a little bit of panic.
Unless you have a background in HVAC repair, AC failure can carry the imagination to expensive repairs or AC replacement when minor repairs might fix the problem. Here are troubleshooting tips for the top three AC failures to help you determine how serious the problem is.
1 Nothing is Working
If the house is hot and no part of the AC is working, power has been shut off to the system. This can be caused by several possibilities, including:
A Tripped Circuit Breaker. The circuit breaker that sends power to the air conditioner might have tripped. A number of things might have caused the circuit to flip away from the ON position, preventing electricity from powering the equipment. Check this out:
Find your electric service panel. Closed circuits carry electricity throughout the house and when a problem arises the circuit will open, shutting off power to the problem area.
Since water and electricity mix with disastrous results, make sure your hands and feet are dry before opening the service panel.
Find the breaker map on the panel door and locate the breaker market “AC.” If the breaker is not firmly in the ON position, turn the breaker completely OFF and then completely ON.
If the AC returns to normal function, enjoy the cool air. If the breaker trips again, an electrical problem is preventing the AC from normal function. AirPro HVAC for needed repairs.
The Thermostat Is On the Wrong Setting. The AC might not receive power because the thermostat is switched to the OFF or HEAT position. A thermostat is an interior switch that calls for AC when the temperature rises above a set threshold.
They come in several shapes and styles but can be found on an interior wall away from sunlight. If the thermostat is not calling for cool air, the AC will not come on. Check these things:
Check the setting and make sure the thermostat is set to cool and the threshold is set lower than the current temperature.
If the thermostat screen is blank, with no readout, the battery(ies) may need to be replaced. To replace the battery,
turn the thermostat to the OFF position
open the thermostat face plate
remove the old battery and properly dispose of it
replace with a fresh battery
turn the thermostat to the COOL position and lower the temperature setting by 50 below the current temperature to call for cool
With a fresh battery, your AC might return to normal function. If the thermostat readout is still blank, replacing the thermostat might be the next step.
2 Check Some Switches
If your AC system has been serviced by a professional recently, the problem might be a switch that was left in the OFF position. Check
The outdoor condenser unit. Locate the metal box hanging on the wall near the condenser unit. With dry hands, open the box and make sure the switch is set to ON
The indoor blower unit. A switch that resembles a circuit breaker might have been left in the OFF position. With dry hands, switch the breaker to the ON position.
Some AC systems have a shut-off switch that prevents a condensation drain pan from overflowing.
Inside the indoor unit, an evaporator coil removes humidity from the air to make your home comfortable and less sticky.Normally, the water drains away in a tube, either outdoors or into a drain. If the drain tube clogs or the drain pan overflows, several gallons of water per day will leak into your home, causing damage to floors, walls, and furniture.
Open the indoor cabinet and check the drain pan. Look for some initial leaking.
If the pan is full and overflowing, locate the drain tube. Often debris or algae growth clogs the tube.
With a wet/dry shop vac, vacuum the clog from the drain. Anticipate an immediate flow of water, so be ready to return the tube to the drain.
Thoroughly clean the drain pan and add a cup of white vinegar to discourage algae growth.
With a dry drain pan, the shut-off switch should allow the system to run.
The System is Working, But The Air is Warm
If the blower is pushing air, but the air is warm, there is a problem with the cooling cycle. Check these areas first.
3 Restricted Airflow Indoors
First, check your air filter. This is the leading cause of low airflow. The air filter faithfully removes dust, dander, pollen, and other air-borne pollutants during every cooling cycle.
The filter needs to be changed at least every three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow, reducing the efficiency of the cooling cycle.
Open the indoor cabinet and check for a layer of dust on the system components. This can also slow the cooling cycle.
Restricted Airflow Outdoors.
Next, check your outdoor condenser unit to make sure it has adequate airflow. The cabinet is constructed with a long network of coils, designed to cool the refrigerant gas.Rapid cooling is essential, so a large fan pulls air through the coil network. Dirt and grass clippings will need to be cleaned out of the network to let air flow freely.
Use a garden hose (not a power washer) to flush out the dirt that might accumulate in the coil network.
Also, check for shrubs and tall grass that might grow too close. The unit needs at least 2’ of open space in every direction. Make sure fall leaves and limbs have not lodged
themselves around the base.
Air restrictions, both indoors and outdoors, can lead to overheating and system failure.
Refrigerant Gas Pressure. The refrigerant gas that makes the AC system work is contained in a closed-loop network under great pressure.
The gas will find very small gaps to escape and when enough gas escapes, it causes ice to form on the coiled network. Since the network extends both indoors and outdoors, the ice may form anywhere along the loop.
Insufficient refrigerant gas will result in warm air. If the AC system is pushing warm air and you have cleaned the recommended areas, watch for ice forming on copper tubing.
Licensed professionals are required to handle this gas. If you find your AC has “frozen up,” give AirPro HVAC a call.
Ice forming is a symptom of a problem with the cooling cycle. It might or might not be an indicator of a bigger problem.
Insufficient Cold Air
If the whole system is running, the air is cold, but the space is still hot, here are a few things to inspect.
Air Flow Restriction.
A dirty air filter might restrict airflow
Check supply registers (on the floor) and return vents (on the wall) to make sure they are uncovered to allow good air movement. Occasionally furniture or drapes will cover them and prevent good airflow.
Air Flow Deflection. Perhaps the entire system is working correctly, producing plenty of cool air, but gaps might have formed in the ductwork, releasing all of the cool air into the walls or attic.
Since most of the ductwork system is in hard-to-reach or inaccessible places, you will need some help plugging the leaks. Give AirPro HVAC a call.
Contact the Air Conditioning Repair Experts
With our four decades of experience as an Air Conditioning Repair contractor, AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to assist with Air Conditioning Repair and maintenance and answer questions about your AC system.
We have several financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call us today at 281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your Air Conditioning Repair and installation needs.