A/C problems? What to check first

A/C problems? What to check first


When your air conditioner stops working properly, you may wonder if there’s an easy fix or whether it’s time to call a repair technician. We talked about some ways to stay cool and make the best use of your air conditioner in a previous post, but sometimes there are bigger issues at play.

Consider the following A/C troubleshooting tips before calling in a professional—if it’s a simple fix, you can often do it yourself and save time and money.

Your air conditioner doesn’t turn on

Check the unit outside to see if the condenser is running. If not, ensure the unit is plugged in properly before you do anything else. Then check your thermostat (making sure it’s set to “cool”), and try lowering it 5-10 degrees—sometimes this alone can fix the issue.

Read the manual just to make sure everything is set the way it should be. Finally, check for a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse.  

If the A/C still doesn’t turn on or the coil appears to be frozen, it’s time to call a professional for help.

Your A/C does turn on but isn’t cooling your home

If your thermostat turns on and is set to your desired temperature but isn’t cooling the air adequately, it’s possible you have a dirty air condenser. Clean around the outside unit and get rid of any layers of dirt or material that may be blocking air from circulating properly, like leaves or weeds. If the unit is extremely dirty, you may want to call in a professional for a deep clean.

Make sure your filter is clean, as well. Keep in mind that if you run your A/C a lot—and especially if you have pets in the house—you’ll probably have to change your filter more often.

If it’s an extremely hot day, it may be difficult to keep your house very cool inside, even if your A/C is working as it should. Alternatively, the unit may simply be too small for the size of your home. Consult a professional if you’re unsure.

Anytime you see ice on your outdoor unit, however, turn it off and get an expert opinion. 









Image credit: Air conditioner by Achim Hering, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0).