3 Central Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Tips

25 May 2016
 Categories: , Articles


There are several central air conditioning problems that a homeowner can troubleshoot without calling a professional. Here are three troubleshooting tips that can help you keep your air conditioner running like new.

Make Sure Your AC is Receiving Power

If your air conditioner won't turn on, it doesn't necessarily mean that there is a problem with the unit itself. There are a few different places along your air conditioner's circuit where the current to your air conditioner could be interrupted and prevent it from running. The first place to check is the breaker for your air conditioner in your home's main circuit panel.

If the breaker to your air conditioner hasn't tripped, you should next look outside around your condenser. Some condensers have a power switch located on their housing. There should also be a 240-volt disconnect in a metal box mounted on the side of your house near the condenser. If both of these are turned on, you may need to replace your air conditioner's fuses to rule out the possibility of a power problem.

Change Your Thermostat Batteries

When you set the temperature on your thermostat, it sends a signal to your air conditioner to turn on and continue running until the temperature in your home matches the temperature you set. This means that your air conditioner won't turn on at all if the batteries in your thermostat are dead. Fortunately, changing your thermostat batteries is easy to do, and many thermostats even have LCD displays with a battery indicator to remind you to change them when they are getting low.

You can access the batteries of most thermostats by removing the front panel. Depending on the type of thermostat you have, the panel may simply flip open, snap off, or you may need to remove the screws holding it in place. Once you have accessed the batteries, simply remove them by hand and install new ones of the same type in the same place and position.

Look for Ice Buildup on the Condenser

Airflow is one of the most important factors for a healthy air conditioner. If you run your air conditioner for several hours or at night when the outside air is cool, ice could build up on the condenser. This ice will block airflow to your system, reducing its efficiency by forcing it to work harder to deliver air to your home. Extended use with ice on your condenser could cause damage to your system, so you should take steps to resolve this problem as soon as you notice it.

One of the best ways to give your air conditioner time to thaw is to run it in fan-only mode on a warm day. The warm air will cause your system to thaw more quickly, and fan-only mode allows your system to run without circulating coolant so more ice will not build up.

Even in fan-only mode, it can take a few hours for your system to thaw completely. For uninterrupted usage of your system, it is a good idea to take a few steps to prevent ice buildup in the first place. Try to run your air conditioner as little as possible when the temperature outside is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Other problems such as airflow restriction in other parts of the system and refrigerant leaks can cause your condenser to freeze, so you should change or clean your filters regularly and hire an HVAC technician to inspect your system if freezing becomes a frequent problem.

Not every central air conditioning problem requires a professional to repair. Keep these tips in mind so you can troubleshoot simple problems and keep your air conditioner running smoothly.

For more information, or if you have a more complex problem, contact HVAC services or visit websites like http://www.cblucashvac.com.