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Author: Roy Finley

5 AC Troubleshooting Tips Before Calling an HVAC Repairman

There are few things as frustrating as an air conditioning unit that’s on the fritz. You just want to call a repairman and hope he can come and fix it as soon as possible. But before you place that call, don’t be afraid to troubleshoot on your own just in case it’s a minor issue that can be easily rectified. Here are a few AC troubleshooting tips worth trying to save you the cost of hiring a repairman.

Check the Thermostat

The first thing you want to check is that the thermostat is set to cool. It sounds basic, but it can be overlooked. If nothing is amiss with the outside of the thermostat, take the cover off and take a closer look, but only after turning off the power to the AC. Once the cover is off, make sure all the wires are securely attached and aren’t being pinched by the cover, which could be interfering with the AC. If the thermostat runs on batteries, you can also try replacing them. After checking those possible issues, put the cover back on, wait a few minutes, and turn the system back on to see if the issue has been fixed.

Check Electrical Panel

A blown fuse or a tripped breaker could be the problem that caused your central air to stop working. Check out the main electrical panel, as well as any secondary circuit panels. You may need to replace a blown fuse or simply reset the breaker to get your AC back working again. If this works initially but you continue to experience a tripped breaker, you may need an electrician to fix the problem.

Clean Evaporator Coils

Keeping evaporator coils clean is part of routine AC maintenance. If these coils become too dirty, the AC can break down or lose its efficiency, meaning it’ll run but won’t do much cooling. Your indoor AC handling unit will have an access panel that’s removable, giving you access to the evaporator coils. Once you turn your AC off at the thermostat, it’s safe to remove this panel. Compressed air flowing in the opposite direction from normal airflow will help to remove dust and debris. Certain commercial cleaners can also be used on evaporator coils to clear away dust. A mix of water and detergent can also be used to clean evaporator coils.

Clean and Straighten Condenser Coils

Much like the indoor evaporation coils, the condenser coils of the outdoor AC unit require regular maintenance; otherwise, your AC will work hard but struggle to cool your home. Obviously, you’ll want to turn the power off before starting to do any work on your AC unit. Once you turn it off and remove any debris from the air conditioner, you can try to straighten out any of the outside fins using a fin straightener tool, as these can be bent or damaged by the elements. Then you can wet the coils with a hose and spray them with commercial coil cleaner. These cleaners will be sprayed onto your AC’s coils and then foam up over the course of five minutes. At that point, you can clear it off with a hose. This process should take off a significant amount of dust and dirt that may be interfering with your AC unit.

Balance AC System

If your AC appears to be working but some rooms are receiving less cool air than others, your system may be out of balance. This sounds like a complicated problem, but it may be something you can fix yourself. First, find your AC unit’s dampers, which will typically be found by looking for a wing nut around your main duct. Once found, use a screwdriver to unscrew the center locking nut. You’ll then use your fingers to open or close the damper. If you want the damper to a room to be open, manipulate the wing nut so it’s parallel to the duct. If you don’t want to cool a particular room, turn the wing nut so it’s perpendicular to the duct. This may take some trial and error, as you may not want each room to be fully open or fully closed. However, it will help you get the right cooling levels in each room without having to call a repairman.


Having HVAC issues that you can’t fix on your own? The expert team at AAA Heating and Air can help. Contact us today for more information!

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