How to Fix my central air conditioner?
Central Air Conditioner Troubleshooting: What to Do Before Calling a Repairman
You don’t want to pay someone to fix your central air conditioner when you can easily fix it yourself, right?
Use this simple troubleshooting guide before calling a professional when something goes wrong with your central AC.
We’ve organized the guide into 3 different sections:
- “Why is my home air conditioner not working at all?”
- “Why is my home air conditioner’s airflow weak?”
- “Why is my home air conditioner blowing warm air?”
These are all symptoms of an underlying problem that need fixing. Find the section that relates to your problem and follow the advice.
“Why is my home air conditioner not working at all?”
If your air conditioner isn’t working at all (as in, no parts are working—period), try these 3 things before calling a professional:
1) Check the thermostat temperature setting— The temperature may be set too high. Turn the thermostat down 5 degrees below the room temperature.
2) Set the thermostat to “cool” instead of “heat”— The “heat” setting will turn the air conditioner off. You never know if someone switched it to “heat” by accident.
3) Make sure electricity is going to the air conditioner— Go to your electric panel box and see if any air conditioner circuit breakers have tripped. These include:
- Air handler circuit breaker (the air handler is part of the inside unit that blows air)
- AC compressor/condenser circuit breaker (condenser is the outside unit, the compressor is a critical part of the outside unit)
Here are a variety of other switches you should check to ensure your AC is powered properly.
“Why is my home air conditioner’s airflow weak?”
When your air handler is working, but the air coming out the supply vent is weak, then you should:
— A dirty air filter blocks return airflow, causing your central air conditioner to struggle to supply air to your home. You may have 2 air filters, one at a return grille and one at the air handler inside your home.
— Don’t close supply vents/registers in unused rooms. Also, make sure no furniture or curtains/drapes are blocking ones that are open.
“Why is my home air conditioner blowing warm air?”
Most likely, it’s low on refrigerant (what most people call Freon, a brand of refrigerant). But before you call an air conditioner repair person for help, you should try some of the previous advice (change the air filter) and then:
Check the outside air conditioner unit—The outside unit is called the “condenser unit.” If it’s dirty, your air conditioner will blow warm air and run constantly. (For the details on why, read this article.)
- Put on gloves and eye protection
- Dilute the coil cleaner with water according to the bottle’s instructions.
- Go to the circuit breaker box and turn off the power to the outside unit.
- Remove any loose materials (grass, leaves, etc) with a brush.
- Apply the coil cleaner
- Let the cleaner foam according to the instructions.
- Rinse off the coil foam with a water sprayer. (Make sure the pressure isn’t too high. Don’t use a pressure washer or you may damage the coil fins.)
- Turn your air conditioner back on.
Now you’ve done all you can...
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