DIY or Professional Central Air Conditioner Repair?

If you’ve owned a home for several years, chances are you’ve had the dreaded AC breakdown, and chances are even better that it was during the sweltering heat of summer. Handling air conditioner repairs is a job for a professional – we don’t advise that even seasoned do-it-yourselfers do more than basic cleaning and maintenance on central air conditioners.

Your central air conditioner has two units, the condenser and the evaporator. Your condenser is sitting outside, on top of a concrete slab. Inside your home, usually in the attic is your evaporator.

AC in the attic

Open AC Heating Vent and Tubing in Ceiling of New Home Construction.

 

A residential central air conditioning unit sitting outside a home.

A residential central air conditioning unit sitting outside a home.

Let’s look at some of the common issues that will cause your central air conditioner to malfunction, the repairs necessary to fix them, and what you can do to help.

  • Condenser isn’t running: First, check to be sure there’s no problem with your power source. Check for blown fuses or tripped circuits. Then, make sure your thermostat is set to a level that would cause your air conditioner to kick on – lower the thermostat five degrees to ensure that the problem isn’t just a faulty thermostat. If neither of those fixes works, please give the friendly professionals at Howard Air a call – the problem could be a faulty motor or compressor.
  • Insufficient cooling: Check your thermostat – this is always a good first step. Then, check your air handler outside to make sure the fan blades are spinning and the vents are not clogged with debris or dirt. It could also simply be that your unit is too small or not functioning optimally – we can recommend an upgrade to a unit suitable for your space.
  • No cooling: There are a few things to check here. Lower the thermostat, then check to ensure that the condenser isn’t dirty. If the condenser needs cleaning, make sure to shut off power to the unit before proceeding. Then, clean the coils and fins. Make sure to keep grass, leaves, and debris as far from the condenser as possible – as the fan pulls air through the metal grating, it will pull that debris as well. If that doesn’t help, it’s time to give us a call. We’ll check your refrigerant and replace parts as needed.
  • Evaporator needs cleaning: Remove the taped insulation and pull off the access plate. Then use a stiff brush to clean the underside of the evaporator. Beneath the evaporator is a tray that helps to pull condensation away. Make sure the weep hole isn’t clogged, and use a small amount of bleach to prevent future fungus growth in the tray.

Following a basic maintenance plan including the cleaning elements described above can go a long ways towards preventing air conditioning breakdown, but eventually even the most carefully-maintained air conditioners require service. Your AC unit works hard for many months to keep you and your family cool and comfortable in the summer months. Like all appliances, it contains moving parts that will eventually wear out and components with a limited lifespan.

Howard Air

When it’s time to maintain or repair your central air conditioner, we want to help. Howard Air has more than 30 years of experience as the best heating and air conditioning business in Arizona. Let us do a performance audit on your current system, provide comprehensive maintenance, or repair elements that have worn out over time. We look forward to working with you!