After spending a long, hard day at work the last thing you want to deal with is an air conditioner on the fritz. Fixing your central air doesn’t need to be a time-sapping, energy-draining ordeal. If you follow a few practical steps you can troubleshoot potential issues in a few minutes.
Thinking through possible problems and practical solutions can make your life easier. Don’t overlook the obvious issue of checking the power switch on the unit. More than one person has spent a significant amount of time troubleshooting their central air unit for internal problems, only later noting a power switch toggled to “off” was the core problem.
Use these smart tips to identify and fix problems with your unit.
If the Unit Doesn’t Cool
Remove leaves and other forms of debris from the outdoor unit. Doing so allows air to flow freely around the unit. Since these units must effectively take in outside air in great volume to operate efficiently this clearing removes any obstruction.
Check the fins on the condenser after taking off the cover. If the fins appear to be dirty wipe away any grime, dust and debris with a soft hand brush. Jet blast the condenser fins with a hose for a thorough cleaning. Removing excess debris can help facilitate cooling.
Unplug the unit to remove the top cover. If the cover is screwed on too tightly consider using a Phillips screwdriver or power drill to get the job done. Remove dirt and grime from the fan blade by thoroughly scrubbing the blade with a soft hand brush. Complete the job by vacuuming inside the unit with a high powered shop vacuum.
Put the cover in place and plug in the unit to test it out. Adjust the air to a low temperature to see if it cools. Lower the temperature by 5 degrees to see if the environment temperature drops. If this is not the case consider cleaning your evaporator. Allow the air conditioner to run for a few hours and check the air temperature again.
Note that on extremely hot days it may take a while to cool your home. Warm, humid environments can tax a central air unit to the max. Patiently allow for your home’s air to cool and be realistic with your expectations. On the most hot, humid days you may not receive the super chill you’re accustomed to in your house.
Central Air Unit Doesn’t Fire Up and Turn On
Observe the circuit box and look over the fuse. Try resetting the circuit break if you note it’s tripped. You can also replace a blown fuse to address this issue. Check the power switch for the outside condenser unit. Someone may have accidently shut this switch off. The air conditioner power switch should be toggled to the “on” option.
Observe your thermostat. If you have an automatic thermostat and it’s not working effectively consider changing the batteries to power up your unit.
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