When an air conditioner loses its cooling power on a hot summer day, or even loses all of its power, it can be a serious emergency. You don’t want to be stuck for long in your home without cooling when the outdoor heat is rising. What can you do?
Trying to fix the AC on your own might be the first idea that pops into your head. And why shouldn’t it? If you want something done right, do it yourself!
Except this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of repair jobs you wouldn’t try on your own unless you were a trained professional, and fixing an air conditioner is one of them. It takes a trained HVAC technician to do them. Only they have the knowledge and tools to accurately diagnose and fix a serious air conditioner malfunction.
However, there are some steps you can take…
You aren’t without some options, however. When you first notice your AC experiencing problems with proper cooling, make a few checks and tests before calling for a repair technician. It may be that the issue is small enough that you can “fix” it.
- Change the air filter. Clogged air filters are one of the most common reasons for air conditioners losing cooling power. A blocked up filter filled with dust and lint chokes off the airflow through the unit and reduces the amount of conditioned air reaching the rooms. Check the air filter on the HVAC cabinet, and if it’s heavily congested, change it out for a new filter. (And remember to do this every 1 to 3 months going forward.)
- Reset any tripped circuit breakers. If the air conditioner’s fans or compressor won’t come on, it’s possible one of the motors has tripped its circuit breaker. (Note: A clogged filter can often cause this.) Go to your electrical panel and reset any tripped breaker and see if the air conditioner is able to come back on. If the breaker trips again, you probably have an electrical problem in the AC that requires professional attention.
- Check the thermostat. Thermostats are often the source of air conditioning trouble, making it look as if something in the AC itself is at fault. The issue may be that the thermostat needs new batteries. Also check to ensure the thermostat’s programming is right.
- Clean the outdoor cabinet. If you go to the outside cabinet and find that it’s covered with debris or leaves, this may be the source of the loss of cooling. Clean off the unit (but don’t blast a high-pressure hose into it, as this may bend the coils) and see if performance situation improves.
A note about ice on the AC
You may run into online advice about melting off any ice you see on the air conditioner’s coils. It’s true that ice will lower heat exchange and reduce the air conditioner’s power. But melting off the ice yourself won’t solve the problem—something else has caused the ice to develop, and this is what must be addressed before the coils are defrosted. Ice on an AC is a reason to call for professional air conditioning repair in Plattsburgh, NY.
Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont & Northeast New York. Reach us for air conditioning repairs any time of the day or night.