AC not working?
It could be time to call for home AC repair.
But before you do, check out our list of DIY air conditioning repair tips. They can save you the money and time associated with a HVAC house call.
1. Check the Breaker
If the A/C won’t come on, then it may have lost power. Often the A/C has its own breaker so everything else in the house may still be on including the unit’s thermostat.
- Find your breaker box
- Open it up
- Look for one labeled as air conditioner (hopefully)
- If nothing labeled, look for one that’s flipped the opposite way
Regardless of whether the AC breaker is flipped or not, flip it back and forth once because it could be stuck in a position that looks on but isn’t.
2. Look for Debris
After a storm, limbs or other debris can very cleverly work their way through the grate and stop the fan on the unit outside.
When removing debris, remember safety first. Once the fan is unobstructed, it could suddenly start turning.
To safely remove a limb or other debris:
- Turn the unit off inside
- Flip the breaker off
- Unscrew the cover only if necessary
- Remove the debris
- Close it up and turn it back on
If something is lodged in such a way that you can’t easily remove it, call for home AC repair to avoid damaging the unit.
3. Consider Air Flow
One room in your house may not be cooling/heating. You could think there’s something wrong with the unit. But it may just be airflow.
Your air conditioner doesn’t just blow air. It also draws up the room air. If doors are closed or furniture covers vents, then the room temperature air can’t be drawn up and replaced.
- Check for closed or blocked vents
- Keep inside doors open as much as possible
4. Inspect Your Ductwork
The metal that connects the duct to the vent can become separated from the vent. If so, you could be blowing cold air under your home during the summer months.
Ducts could be blocked with debris. This might happen is you forget to change your air filter or leave it off while the unit is on.
Either way, a visual inspection of your ducts can help reassure you that they are all flowing as they should.
- Walk around to each vent. Is each duct firmly secured? Is each opened?
- Feel the air coming up from each. Does one seem to be getting less air?
If a duct is blocked, then a home AC repair technician will need to track down the blockage and remove it.
5. Change Your Filter
Filters are in place to keep dust and pet hair from clogging your ducts and unit. When they are dirty, they block air flow, causing your unit to work harder than it should. This costs you more on your electric bill and increases the wear and tear on the unit.
Changing a dirty filter can increase the energy-efficiency of your A/C by as much as 15%.
Change them regularly to avoid more costly home AC repairs down the line. And it’s important to realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all schedule for changing filters.
Your schedule should be dependent on your observations related to how quickly the filter gets dirty. But here are some basic filter guidelines.
- A filter will last up to 90 days. This is the maximum and only applies to homes that have no pets and are kept relatively clean.
- If you have pets, you should be changing your filter at least every 60 days.
- If anyone in your family has allergies, then you may need to change them every 30.
- If you have pets and allergies, then every 2 weeks is ideal.
6. Take a Closer Look at the Thermostat
The thermostat may just need new batteries. Do you even remember when you changed them last?
They last a very long time, so it’s easy to forget that they need to be changed on occasion. Check for a low battery light. Most newer thermostats will have one. If they need to be changed,
- Pull the thermostat housing off carefully. It may slide up, down or to the side.
- Find the battery in the housing
- Pry the battery loose with a small, flat head screwdriver
- Slide new batteries in
- Return the housing the wall
Have batteries on hand before pulling the thermostat off the wall. It will likely need one of the following:
- CR2032 3V lithium battery
- AA alkaline battery
- AAA alkaline battery
7. Fix a Frozen Unit
If the weather in Ventura County has been unseasonably hot or your unit is older, then the air conditioner could “freeze up”. When an AC unit freezes, it’s struggling to do its job. If this happens with any frequency, it may be time for a new unit.
But if this is an occasional occurrence, you need to know how to unfreeze a unit.
To unfreeze and air conditioner:
- Turn the cooling off on the thermostat
- Turn the fan on
- Run for about 8 hours
If you will be away and don’t mind the house heating up, then you can perform a more AC- and eco-friendly defrost by shutting the unit off at the breaker and letting it rest for 24 hours.
8. Clean the Unit
The outside portion of the air conditioner can take a beating from weather and debris. It needs to be cleaned professionally 1X a year to function properly. But you can do a quick clean like this:
- Shut off the AC breaker
- Find the AC’s dedicated electrical box near the outside unit
- Turn the AC off there.
- Wait one hour to prevent and sudden discharge of retained electricity
- Use a water hose to spray off debris on the outside
- Apply spray-on coil cleaner
- Wait 10-15 minutes for cleaner to foam
- Rinse off the foam
- Wait a couple hours for unit to dry
- Turn the unit back on
Home Air Conditioning Repair Made Easy
Home AC Repair is easy when you follow these easy trouble-shooting tips. If you’ve taken these steps and your unit still isn’t working, it’s time for a professional to take a closer look.
To stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, check out our HVAC maintenance plan today.