As the temperatures continue to get warmer and we start using our air conditioning units more, we may notice they aren’t working as efficiently as they once did. Before you call an ac repairman there are some things you can look at to try and solve the problem. A few household tools and a little bit of knowledge is all you need to save some money.
Check the Air Filter & Thermostat
The very first thing you’ll need to do is check the air filter, followed by ensuring the thermostat is set to the cool setting and that it is lower than the actual temperature of the room. This will ensure that there really is a problem. This sounds a bit silly but it’s the first thing the repairman will check. Then you can check to see if air is coming out of the floor or ceiling registers. The fan on the outside of the unit should be checked to see if it’s running. If it isn’t running then make sure the breaker for the HVAC is on. If the breaker is not tripped, then the problem may be your thermostat, the furnace/air handler control board, or the wires between the furnace/air handler and the thermostat.
Checking the Outside Fan Air Conditioner for Ice Formation
If the fan outside is running, but the blower isn’t, the problem could be the blower motor, its run capacitor, or the furnace/air handler control board. If the fan motor is not running, then shut the power off to the unit and check all the wire connections for signs of damage such as burning and repair as necessary. You’ll need to see if ice is forming in the lines connecting the indoor and outdoor units or if there is water around the furnace. If the blower is running, check to see if there is any frost or ice around the unit. If there is ice on the copper lines going outside you’ll need to shut the unit down for a couple of hours but let the blower continue to run so the ice melts. After a couple of hours you can continue to troubleshoot. Turn the unit back on and let it run for about five minutes. The larger copper line on the outdoor unit should feel cold and have condensation on it. If it isn’t cold, it is most likely a Freon issue.
Insufficient Cooling Issues
If the compressor and the condenser fan are both running but the cooling is lacking, you should check the temperature drop of the system. You’ll need to make sure the unit is running for 10-15 minutes prior to taking temperature measurements. This is done by measuring the air temperature leaving the air handler and subtract it from the temperature of the air entering the air handler. A high efficiency unit should give you a reading of about 15 degrees and around 18-20 for an older unit. If the drop is lower than that, the problem may be the refrigerant charge. If the drop is a lot higher than that, then your troubleshooting should turn to the systems air flow, as there could be dirt on the evaporator coil, filter, or blower wheel.