It’s the middle of summer, you’re sitting in your cool home to protect yourself from the sun’s vicious rays when all of a sudden you start to sweat a little. A bit later and this sweating evolves into your skin literally sticking to your couch. This is a sign that there might be something up with your AC.
Finding these issues can be a little bit of a problem if you’re not sure what to look for so pause Netflix, forcibly unstick yourself from your oven of a couch, and get ready for these AC troubleshooting tips that you can perform right in your own home.
1. Check Your Air Filter
The first AC troubleshooting step you want to perform is checking for a dirty air filter. This doesn’t seem like it could break down your entire system but a clogged filter causes a domino effect. It can cause the air flow from your vents to slow down which leads to ice on refrigerant lines, which then leads to a frozen evaporator coil and so and so forth until complete system failure happens.
Checking for a dirty filter is pretty simple, you just have to open up the system and see if the filter is covered in brown dust. If it is, then take it out and replace the filter with a clean one.
2. Look at the Thermostat Settings
If the problem isn’t a dirty filter you could have your thermostat put on the wrong settings. Check and make sure it’s set to cool rather than warm. This sounds like a given but you’ll be surprised at the number of people who get busy and forget to do this when winter ends and spring begins.
In cases of programmable thermostats, you may not have it programmed correctly. To check this, simply look at the manual for the system and follow it’s instructions.
3. Check the Circuit Breakers
You could have an issue with your circuit breaker. Go into the room where the main electrical panel is located and look for any switches that are not set to the ON position. If you have it labeled then just flip the one that says AC.
After you’ve done this try turning on your AC. If the circuit breaker trips again after the AC runs for a couple of seconds then you’ll want to call in an electrician because that’s a sign of an electrical issue, not an AC issue.
4. Look at the Outdoor Unit
An air filter isn’t the only thing that can cause issues if gets dirty. A dirty outdoor unit can cause warm air to come out of your vents, can stop the unit from cooling your house properly, and can leave you with higher energy bills because it’s trying harder to do its job.
If you go outside and notice a bunch of dirt caked on your unit, use a hose and put it on its lowest setting to gently wash it off. If you notice that there is a lot of dirt on your condenser as well, don’t use a hose on that. It will need a deeper clean that only a professional can perform.
5. Check all the Air Vents
Go through your home and check to make sure that your air vents aren’t being covered by any furniture or rugs. This isn’t something that you may think about when you’re first placing your decor, but having the vents covered like this could be what’s causing your issue.
Covered air vents can make it difficult for air to circulate through your home as well as cause ice to build up on the refrigerant lines, water leakages, a frozen evaporator coil, damaged compressors, and blower motor problems.
Please note that these problems can occur if any of your air vents are blocked or shut so open absolutely all of them. This includes the ones located in rooms that you never use. This may seem redundant because there is nobody in the room to cool, but it’s better than dealing with the issues that can follow.
6. Check the Refrigerant Levels
If your refrigerant levels are low then it can cause things to get pretty sticky quickly. It’s the lifeblood of your unit so if it’s low, your unit won’t run correctly. If it is low, then that could mean that it either wasn’t completely filled when it was installed or worse.
If this is the problem, you’ll notice ice or frost on the AC or a strange bubbling noise. Sadly, you can’t just fill up your refrigerant and call it a day if you suspect this is the issue. You’ll need a professional like Ferguson Heating and Air Company to come in and inspect it just to make sure it’s not a leak.
7. Check for Leaking Ducts
If you notice that some rooms are getting cool, but others are staying hot this could be a sign that you have tears in the ducts that run through your walls and ceiling. This is pretty common, especially if you’ve had rodents take resident in your home at some point. So, if you’ve done all of these other troubleshooting steps with no results, this is most likely your problem.
If you have holes in your duct or suspect it, then you’ll want to get the problem fixed right away because it can lead to a higher electric bill.
AC Troubleshooting Steps that You Can Perform at Home
If your home suddenly feels a lot warmer, this could mean that there is a problem with your AC unit. Check for simple problems like a dirty filter or outdoor unit, covered vents, an uncalibrated thermostat, or a tripped breaker. Follow these AC troubleshooting steps to fix the issue before your electric bill skyrockets.
Got more problems with your home that doesn’t involve a faulty AC unit? Visit our house section for ways to fix common household issues.