Here in Whittier, CA, reliable air conditioning is essential almost all year. Without it, your home would be uninhabitable for a significant portion of each year. However, running an AC unit as frequently as is necessary here causes significant wear and tear and eventually failure for even the most robust cooling system. That makes knowing how to troubleshoot common AC problems an important skill for homeowners. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to troubleshoot your next AC problem.
Begin by Checking Your AC Filter
You may be surprised to find out that the most common problems that cooling systems experience all stem from a single root cause. A dirty or otherwise obstructed air filter will lead to airflow problems, evaporator icing, and unnecessary wear on the blower motor. So, if your home’s AC unit runs but doesn’t seem to produce enough cool air, the first thing to check is its air filter. If it appears dirty, replace it with a new one. Make it a habit to change the filter at least once every three months. If you suffer from allergies, you may even want to change your filter more often during peak allergy season.
Examine Your Thermostat Settings
The next thing to check when your home’s air conditioner isn’t working as you expect it to is your thermostat. Plenty of common air conditioning problems are, in fact, the result of incorrect thermostat settings. First, check your thermostat’s mode setting, or switch it to make sure it’s in “cool” mode. Then, check its fan control setting or switch to make sure it’s on “auto.” If neither of those were the problem, check your thermostat’s scheduled program. Your thermostat may not be activating your air conditioning system because its programmed schedule calls for a higher temperature than you expect.
You should also use a thermometer to confirm that your thermostat isn’t reading an incorrect temperature. If your thermostat thinks your home is cooler than it is, it may keep your air conditioning turned off inadvertently. If this is the case, it could be possible to recalibrate your thermostat to correct the problem. If that’s not an option, you should consider replacing your thermostat with a new one.
Check Your AC’s Circuit Breaker
If your thermostat seems like it’s working and your AC unit still won’t turn on, the next step is to check its circuit breaker. You can find this in your house’s main electrical panel. In most cases, the panel will contain a list of what each circuit powers located on the inside of its door. Or, each breaker may have a label telling you what it controls. Once you find the circuit that powers your air conditioner, make certain it’s in the “on” position. If it isn’t, turn the breaker on and see if it solves your AC problem.
If you do this and the circuit breaker either switches right off again or only stays on for a short while, don’t try and turn it on again. This could indicate that something is wrong with the circuit powering your cooling system. Or, it could indicate an electrical problem with the AC unit itself. Either way, it means that the circuit breaker is doing its job properly. Your next step is to call the experts here at [company_name] for help.
Check and Clean Your Outdoor Unit
The last step in the AC troubleshooting process is to examine your outdoor unit. Whenever your air conditioner turns on, the outdoor unit should also. It expels the heat from your home and returns cold refrigerant to the indoor unit to produce more cold air. So, if your outdoor unit isn’t turning on with the rest of your cooling system, it’s likely the root of your problem. This may happen due to a failed contactor switch, a failed capacitor, or a burnt-out fan motor. All three problems require the attention of a professional HVAC technician like the members of the team here at [company_name].
However, if your outdoor unit seems like it’s operating normally, there’s one more thing you can check. You should look to see if there’s any debris in and around the outdoor unit. Also, you should make certain there’s plenty of open-air clearance around it. If your outdoor unit gets too dirty or the airflow around it gets obstructed, the unit won’t be capable of doing its job. If that’s the case, you should turn off your air conditioner, clean the outdoor unit with a hose, and remove any debris in or around it. This could solve your AC problem immediately.
Contact the AC Repair Experts
In many cases, you might solve your AC problem, or at least identify it, by following the troubleshooting steps above. If these solutions aren’t fixing the problem or you have additional questions, you can always rely on the team at Spot On to help you. We’ve served the Whittier area and beyond for over a decade, offering high-quality HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance services. Plus, we provide complete plumbing, indoor air quality, and air balancing services. We’d be happy to be your go-to home services partner, helping you to keep the major systems in your Whittier home working perfectly. So, when you have an AC problem, call Spot On, and we’ll come right over to make things right.