- On August 20, 2021
What You’ll Learn
As you read about A/C repair troubleshooting, you’ll learn:
- Air conditioner troubleshooting is possible if you know what to look for, but fixing most A/C problems requires specialized tools and professional skills.
- As you go through the A/C troubleshooting process, don’t try anything that you’re uncomfortable with, as it will waste time and potentially make the problem worse.
- The best thing you can do to make your air conditioner start working again is to know when it’s time to call for help.
Common A/C Problems
When your air conditioner goes out on a hot summer day in Phoenix, how long are you going to spend trying to fix it through trial and error? You might find yourself in a sweaty, sticky situation within the hour, so it will be helpful if you can think of a course of action right away. It might be worth trying a few different things to see if someone just changed the settings without you realizing it, but it’s not a good idea to waste too much time unless you want to end up in a sauna. With that in mind, here are a few common problems and the A/C repair troubleshooting steps you can take.
The A/C Won’t Turn On
This is an absolute nightmare if it happens on one of those days when the temperature is over 100°F all afternoon. There’s only one opportunity for a quick fix in this case. Check the breaker box to see if there’s a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
If so, you might still want to call an HVAC professional to see what caused the circuit to trip, but at least you can get your air conditioner blowing again in the meantime. If everything looks normal in the fuse box, there’s probably a wiring problem or something similarly serious with the A/C unit—time to call your Phoenix HVAC contractor.
Check the thermostat to see if the settings are where you left them. Sometimes things mysteriously change in homes with children. If the settings look right and you still can’t get a cool breeze from the vents, there’s little use trying to solve the problem yourself. It will take some electrical skills to solve this problem, and that’s extremely dangerous unless you have the appropriate background knowledge and equipment. Give it one last look to see if your thermostat might just be programmed incorrectly. If the problem seems like it’s somewhere in the wires, your best bet is to call an HVAC repair technician and have them bring their tools.
Unless you have a dramatic refrigerant leak, this problem will be a slow progression over time. Either your air conditioner wasn’t installed properly and was left undercharged, or you have a gradual leak. You might notice that your A/C just doesn’t blow as cold as it used to, which is one sign. Another sign is that the air in your home feels a little bit on the sticky side.
The refrigerant is what makes the proverbial magic happen, and your A/C system won’t be able to do much without it. The refrigerant contracts and expands as it goes in and out of the home from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit. This action is essentially gathering up heat in your house, taking it outside, and releasing it.
That’s not the most scientific way to look at it, but you certainly get the point. Without refrigerant, there’s nothing to get the heat out of the home and back into the desert where it belongs. Unfortunately, there’s simply no DIY way to recharge your air conditioner system. The good news is that your Phoenix HVAC company is extremely familiar with this procedure, so they’ll be able to complete it quickly and get your home comfortable again.
While they’re at it, they’ll also check the system for leaks. After all, there must be a reason your refrigerant got so low in the first place. Once all leaks have been addressed, the system should function as it’s intended for a long time to come.
Remember how the refrigerant gathers heat, takes it outside the home, and releases it? The condenser coil is the component that allows that process to happen. Specifically, the condenser coil is the part outside your home that releases the heat back into the wild. While it’s out there, it’s exposed to all types of dust, sand, and other pollutants that can muck it up.
Once it gets too grimy, it won’t be able to complete the heat transfer very effectively. You might be able to solve this problem just by hosing off your outdoor unit from time to time. If you’re uncomfortable addressing the problem, or if you suspect something bigger is going on, it might be best not to take the chance of causing problems by trying anything yourself.
Leaking or Dirty Ducts
This problem can be frustrating for those who try to do their own HVAC troubleshooting; you’ve inspected all of the key components of your system, you can see and hear your A/C blowing cold air, but nothing makes its way into your home. That’s because the ductwork is no longer delivering cool air efficiently. There may be a leak in the duct that’s causing treated air to go in between walls and levels instead of into occupied rooms. Alternatively, there may just be dust blocking the ducts. In any event, you’ll need to have someone inspect the ductwork.
Take a quick leak at the drainage pipe leaving your indoor A/C unit. Is it backed up into the system itself? Showing any signs of mold or other obvious problems? If so, your system isn’t able to drain, and that’s causing operational problems. This might be fixed as easily as emptying the drainage pan or clearing the hose. Keep an eye on it after making any adjustments because persistent problems could be a sign of poor design, drain backups, or other lingering threats.
It’s annoying when your air conditioner makes noise, and you might be surprised by how embarrassing it can be when a guest in your home notices. Your friends and family should forgive you for the noise, but the more serious problem is that the noise is happening because something is broken. Shut off your A/C to see if there are any parts (like the fan) you can clean to resolve the problem. If not, or if you notice broken parts, you know who to call.
More Helpful Air Conditioner Hints to Avoid Problems
There are four easy things anyone can do to promote good A/C help:
- Replace your filters regularly
- Keep the outside A/C unit clean and clear
- Install a good thermostat and learn to use it
- Get preventative maintenance (it’s cheaper than repairs)
Air Conditioner Services in Phoenix
Here at Howard Air Conditioning, we’ve been serving residents of the valley since 1977. We know what a disaster it can be when your A/C goes out, so we always respond quickly. Contact us at the first sign of trouble, and we’ll get to work right away.
Featured Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock