You certainly do not want your air conditioner not to work when the dog days of summer are upon you. There is nothing worse than being hot and uncomfortable even though you own a central air conditioner. The secret with central air conditioning to keep the repair costs down is to take a few preventative maintenance steps and do the little repairs yourself if there is a problem. Here are a few examples of air conditioner troubleshooting.
Let It Breathe
The most important thing to making your central air work is to make sure it gets enough air going to it. The first place to start is to make sure that you replace your air filters on a monthly basis; you may be able to go a little longer if it is a high quality filter. This will ensure your central air gets the air it needs to circulate around the house. You will also have to make sure the area around the unit outside the house is kept free from filling up with leaves and keep the tall grass and weeds from growing up around it and shutting off the air to it. Air flow is vital to ensure your central air condensing unit works well too.
Unit Not Running
There are many air conditioner troubleshooting steps you can do yourself if you have even a little familiarity working around electricity. An example of this is if you turned your thermostat all the way down but your unit is not running; don’t just pick up the phone and call your local HVAC technician, check out a few things first. You certainly don’t want to pay for a service call just to have a technician come out and do something like reset a breaker.
Is It Getting Power
And that is where you need to start if the unit is not running. Check the breaker for the unit at the electrical panel first. If there are no problems there then the next step is to inspect the electrical disconnect that will be mounted on the wall of your house near the unit. Make sure the fuses are not blown if it is a fuse type disconnect or make sure that it does not look burnt if it is a pull in and out type disconnect; to do this just pull out the disconnect and check the electrical contacts on the part you pulled out and look at the terminals on the wall mounted fixture too. If these are okay then go to the air conditioner itself next to do more air conditioner troubleshooting. (Make sure the power to the unit is off when doing all the steps mentioned here!!)
At the Unit
Once at the unit itself you will have to take the screws out that hold on the air conditioner electrical access door. Once inside the control panel, follow the incoming power to the electrical contactor. If these go bad they will usually have very pronounced burn marks and scarring of the metal contacts. If you see this type of damage is present then replace the contactor.
If you have done all of these steps and the unit is still not starting then it is probably now time to pick up the phone and call an HVAC technician to continue on with your air conditioner troubleshooting.