Summer is nearly here, which means your air conditioner will be running every day. Here in Austin, there’s nothing worse than a malfunctioning air conditioning (AC) system during the hottest months of the year. Keeping some troubleshooting tips in mind and contacting an experienced HVAC company is always a good idea if you are dealing with AC problems.
Here are some tips to remember if your AC isn’t operating at its best:
1. Check the Thermostat
The first step in troubleshooting your AC system is to check the thermostat. Ensure that it is set to “cool” mode and that the temperature setting is below the current room temperature. If you have a battery-operated thermostat, consider replacing the batteries to rule out any issues with the power supply.
2. Inspect the Circuit Breakers
If your AC isn’t turning on, the problem could be a tripped circuit breaker. Locate your electrical panel and identify the breakers for your air conditioner. If any are in the “off” position, flip them back to “on.” If the breaker trips again shortly after being reset, contact a professional HVAC technician because there could be an electrical issue with your system.
3. Clean or Replace the Air Filter
A dirty air filter can impede airflow, causing your AC to work harder and less efficiently. Locate your air filter, usually found near the return air duct or inside the air handler, and inspect it for debris. If it’s dirty, either clean or replace it. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on filter type and replacement frequency.
4. Check the Outdoor Unit
The outdoor unit plays a crucial role in the cooling process. Head outside and inspect it for any visible damage or surrounding debris. Ensure that the area around the condenser is clear of leaves, branches, and other obstructions. If the fan isn’t running, the issue could be with the fan motor or capacitor, which may require professional assistance.
5. Inspect the Indoor Unit
While examining the indoor unit, look for water leakage, ice buildup, or strange noises. Any of these signs could indicate issues with the evaporator coil, drain line, or blower motor. If you notice any of these problems, it’s best to call an HVAC professional for further evaluation.
6. Check the Refrigerant Levels
If your AC is on but not cooling effectively, the problem could be low refrigerant levels. This issue often occurs due to a leak in the refrigerant lines. Handling refrigerant requires specialized training and equipment, so if you suspect a leak, it’s best to call a professional technician.
7. Consider the Age of Your AC System
Air conditioning systems have a limited lifespan, typically around 10 or 15 years. If your system is near the end of its life, it may be more prone to issues and less efficient overall. In this case, consider replacing your system with a newer, energy-efficient model.
Here are two tips for keeping your AC well-maintained to limit the chance of problems:
Schedule Regular Maintenance
One way to keep your AC system running smoothly is to schedule regular maintenance with a professional HVAC technician. These professionals will inspect your system, clean essential components, and identify any potential issues before they become costly problems.
Regularly Clean the Outdoor Unit
Keep the area around your outdoor unit clear of debris, and consider cleaning the fins and coils with a soft brush or hose to remove dirt buildup. Doing this helps to improve your AC system’s efficiency and prevent potential issues.
When Is the Best Time to Contact a Professional?
While some AC issues can be resolved with simple troubleshooting, others require the expertise of a professional HVAC technician. If you have followed these steps and still haven’t identified the issue, don’t hesitate to call a professional. An HVAC technician has the training and tools to diagnose and fix any problem with your air conditioning system.
Totally Cool Heating & Air offers HVAC repair and installation services for customers in the Austin area. We have more than three decades worth of experience in delivering top-quality work. Our team can also perform environmental assessments, seal or replace your ducts, and install attic insulation. Feel free to give Totally Cool Heating & Air a call today to learn more about our services!