AC Unit Not Working?
Here are a few things you can check before you call for Air Conditioning Service.
No one wants to be uncomfortable in hot weather. Particularly when you have central air conditioning and have set your mind to sit down and enjoy a nice tall glass of iced tea, a good book or movie only to find out your AC is not working!
So, what's a homeowner to do?
Here are a few self-help tips to check before you call your local expert air conditioning repair company.
- Locate your thermostat and be sure it's set to 'Cool' and 'Auto'.
- Try lowering the temperature a degree or two to see if the system kicks on.
- Check your circuit breaker or fuse box.
- 'Flip' you circuit breaker 'off' and then 'on' again.
- Look for the red Emergency Switch located near your equipment. (This may be found near a staircase leading to the equipment) Be sure someone has not accidentally turned it 'off'!
- Make sure the vents for your system are in the 'open' position.
- If your cooling system shares ductwork with your heating system and you recently changed your air filter (Reminder!) be sure the furnce door is closed securely. This safety feature will prevent your system from operating if it is not closed.
OK...those were the easy things to check.
Now step two in the process...
- Place your hand near a cooling register...is the air cold?
- If your system is blowing warm air, turn it OFF and Contact your AC Contractor to schedule service.
- Why must you turn off the AC? If you allow the system to run when it's not cooling your home and blowing warm air you could further cause the system to fail, shut down on safety, overload or freeze your system.
- Look for ice on the outdoor refrigeration line that leads to the condensing unit or at the furnace.
- Yes, an air conditioning system can actually 'freeze' if the airflow is restricted (blocked filters) or the refrigerant level is inadequate or the system has completely lost its charge, and you may actually see frost or ice on the line outside or at the cooling coil.
- Check to see if your outdoor condensing unit is running.
- Do you hear the fan and see it spinning? (Don't stick your fingers inside this area!)
- Is mulch or shrubbery too close to the unit, blocking the airflow?
On extreme days, when outdoor temperatures are excessive, your air conditioning system may appear to not be working, but actually it may be performing up to its capabilities. A properly designed air conditioning system should be able to maintain a 20 degree difference between the outdoor temperatures and indoor. For example, if it's 93 degrees outside and your system is maintaining 73 degrees inside then it's working properly. Sometimes a unit, getting on in years, is working as hard as it can and just can't keep up. It may be time to consider replacing your equipment.
Another suggestion: Close the drapes, blinds or shades in any room that has a sunny exposure. You'll be surprised how this cuts the heat.
Reminder: be sure to have your air conditioning system 'tuned-up' each year by an AC professional. It will optimize the operation of the system and encourage a percentage of it's originally efficiency, as every year your equipment loses some of its efficiency due to normal wear and tear. A tune-up will also actually save you money on operating costs. If the system runs 'better' it runs 'smarter'.
After you've successfully checked these items and you're still without cooling. It's time to call your local expert air conditioning repair company for service.
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