You rely on your air conditioner to keep your home cool during the summer months, but what if your air conditioner suddenly stops blowing cold air? There are several reasons your AC unit may not be working properly. Before you call a HVAC repair technician, try to troubleshoot the problem yourself by following these tips.
Test Your Thermostat
It's cheaper to replace a thermostat than it is to replace your air conditioner unit, so testing your thermostat to make sure it's sending a signal should be one of the first things you do. If your thermostat is failing, your AC unit won't kick on when the temperature in your house gets too hot. To test your thermostat, set the temperature down approximately five degrees. If your AC unit doesn't kick on, the thermostat isn't sending a signal. Most likely, you'll need to call an HVAC technician to have the thermostat replaced. However, before you do, check to see if your thermostat is battery operated. If it is, try to change the batteries to see if it fixes the problem.
Clean the Condenser Coils
The condenser is the part of your air conditioner that sits outside your home — the actual unit itself. Over time, dirt and debris collect on the coils, and when it builds up, your air conditioner won't blow cold air. To clean the coils:
- Shut off power to the unit. You can do this by turning off the main circuit breaker or shutting it off at the unit itself.
- Remove the top and side panels from the unit. In some AC units, the fan is attached to the one of the panels, so make sure you remove each panel carefully — you don't want to accidentally damage the wiring.
- Use a soft-bristled handheld broom or brush to remove dirt and debris from the aluminum panels surrounding the coils as well as any loose debris in the bottom of the unit.
- Use a shop vac with a bristle attachment to vacuum out any dust, dirt, or debris.
- Cover the motor with a plastic garbage bag, and secure it with duct tape.
- Use a hose with a nozzle attachment to spray clean the condenser coils and the panels surrounding the coils. Remember, the panels are delicate. To keep them from bending, don't use a high-pressure stream of water.
- Wait for the unit to dry completely. Then, uncover the motor and replace the panels.
- Turn the thermostat off. Then, reconnect the power running to the unit. After a few minutes, the unit should kick on and start blowing cold air.
If the thermostat isn't the problem and cleaning the condenser coils doesn't work, you should consider calling a professional HVAC technician to examine the unit and make repairs. It's possible that your unit is low on coolant, and in that case, a HVAC technician will need to recharge the unit. For more information, contact local professionals like A Bailey Plumbing.