Summers around Champaign get warm and sticky, which makes your air conditioner essential for keeping your home comfortable. With regular use, however, air conditioners are prone to break down. This tends to occur during the most intense parts of the summer when the need is highest, too. If you ever find yourself in this position, consider these steps to troubleshoot a problem with your air conditioner.
Inspect Your Air Filter
The most common AC problem many homeowners face is a clogged air filter. The filter keeps out most of the contaminants that would otherwise clog your air conditioner, reducing its efficiency and straining the components. When neglected, the filter restricts the air moving through the system. This can lead to a number of problems, including:
- Low airflow from your vents
- Iced refrigerant lines
- Frozen evaporator coil
- Increased energy bills
- Water leaking from your AC
- Frequent AC repairs
To prevent these problems, it’s important to keep your filter clean. Ductless air conditioners typically have a washable filter that needs cleaning every 30 days. Central AC systems have a disposable filter that simply needs replacing. Plan to check your filter every month and replace it when it becomes visibly dirty.
Check Your Thermostat
Your thermostat acts as the brain of your system, and improper settings may make it seem like there’s a problem with your AC. Problems you may encounter with improper thermostat settings include your system failing to turn on or warm air coming from your vents.
Start by checking to make sure that it’s set to the proper mode, especially at the beginning of the season. Next, check the fan setting to make sure that it’s set to “Auto.” If it’s set to “On,” the fan will run constantly regardless of whether the compressor is running, which will make it feel like warm air coming from your vents.
Investigate Your AC Circuit Breakers
Your air conditioner likely has two different circuit breakers to control its function. If either breaker is turned off, your system will fail to turn on. Check the first breaker at your inside breaker panel, followed by the breaker outside.
Use caution if either of these has tripped. While a storm-related power surge could cause them to trip, it could also indicate a problem with the system. It’s best to call a technician to evaluate your system if you can’t trace down an external reason for the tripped breaker.
Inspect Your Outdoor Unit
Your outdoor unit houses the condenser, fan, and evaporator coil, among other parts. Problems with the outside unit can in severity and may include:
- Failure to start
- Frozen lines or evaporator coil
- Elevated energy bills
- Insufficient cooling effect
- Warm air from your vents
- Frequent repairs
Inspect your unit to see if there are any obvious issues that need your attention. Check to make sure that all brush, limbs, and weeds are cut back at least 2 feet. Also make sure that the exterior of the coil is clean, without a buildup of dirt and pollen. Look to see if the unit or the lines leading to it are frozen. Check to make sure there aren’t any obvious signs of damage. Finally, listen for unusual sounds like repetitious clicking, buzzing, gurgling, groaning, or rattling.
You can clean the outside of the unit, just be sure to turn the system off before attempting to clean it with clean water. If you find your coil or lines are frozen or you hear unusual sounds, call for a professional to evaluate your system.
Call for a Professional Evaluation
There are simple things you can do to troubleshoot your system, like changing your air filter, checking your circuit breaker, and keeping the exterior unit clear. However, any other issues need professional evaluation.
For more than 70 years, Bash Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. has provided trusted heating and cooling services for homes around Champaign. Our experienced team provides heating and air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance along with humidity control solutions and custom HVAC sheet metal fabrication. Call to schedule your AC repair with one of our expert technicians today.