On a hot summer night, it’s always good to hear the comforting sound of your air conditioner clicking on, followed by the cool air blowing through the vents. But when air conditioning fails to work properly, it can mean several hot, sleepless nights waiting for a service call.
While the cool air will be a welcome relief, the repair bill probably won’t. Troubleshooting your air conditioner while you’re waiting or before you even make the call might get the cold air blowing again. Even if you need to call a technician, it will be good to have an understanding of what might be wrong with your air conditioner.
If your air conditioner isn’t turning on, you might simply have a tripped circuit or a blown fuse. Locate your electrical panel and look to see if any of the switches have moved to the center position. If you see one that’s been tripped, turn it off and on again. That might solve the problem. If none have been tripped, locate the switch that operates your air conditioner.
If you have a central air unit, it might be marked “furnace” since often the furnace’s blower is used to distribute cold air throughout the house. Turn the switch off and on. That might be enough to reset the connection and get it to work. Your furnace may have a fuse that’s necessary to operate the blower. Locate and check that as well. You’ll be able to tell it’s burned out by a dark spot in the glass portion of the fuse.
Switch on Your Fan
One way to determine whether or not your central air system is getting power is to turn on the fan. You’ll find it right next to the “auto” switch. If you switch the fan to “on” and the fan starts, you know the blower is getting power. You may still have a thermostat problem or a more serious problem with the air conditioner itself. If the fan doesn’t go on, you might have a blower problem.
Troubleshooting Your Thermostat
Central air conditioners run off of your home’s thermostat. Check the settings to make sure someone didn’t inadvertently move it off “cool” or “auto.” Also, check the temperature to make sure it didn’t get changed inadvertently.
Modern, programmable thermostats run off of battery power. If it has been more than a couple of months since you changed the batteries, put in fresh ones. Often that’s enough to get everything working again. There’s a chance that the thermostat itself has gone bad, whether it’s a new model or an older version. Either way, installing a new thermostat is something you can do yourself, should you determine that to be the underlying problem.
Other Troubleshooting Tips
On both central and room air conditioner units, make sure the condensation drain is working properly. If it’s clogged, it might cause your air conditioner to malfunction.
Try finding and removing the panel covering the condenser coils. If the coils are dirty or blocked, then a central or room air conditioner won’t work efficiently.
If a room air conditioner is dripping water, make sure the pan that directs the condensation through a drain tube and out the back of the unit is seated properly.
Room air conditioners have a thermostat sensor behind the control panel. Make sure the sensor hasn’t been knocked out of position or damaged. On central air units, if the air filter is clogged, the cooling capacity of the air conditioner is reduced. The air filter will be located near your furnace.
If you have any of these issues and you’re not comfortable dealing with them. Or if you know that you must deal with a licensed professional so you don’t void your warranty then it would be best to speak to an Gilbert AC repair company like ChillTek.