AC not working? 10 troubleshooting tips for a broken air conditioner
When Angie Lee called us because her air conditioning unit wasn’t working, our Comfort Club technician was on the spot helping Angie solve her problem. The good news is our AC repair technician was able to fix Angie’s issue quickly and had her house feeling cool once again.
As it turns out, the door panel on Angie’s furnace was loose which deactivated the safety door switch thus rendering her air conditioning and heating system non working. This was a simple fix that Angie could have checked herself if she had a list of simple things to check before she desperately called Extreme Comfort.
This is why we compiled a list of 10 troubleshooting tips for a broken air conditioner.
10 Troubleshooting Tips For A Broken Air Conditioner
1. Always check the thermostat first to make sure it is working properly. Check the display to make sure it has power; if not you may simply need to change the thermostat batteries.
2. Verify the selector switch is set to the cool or heat setting as appropriate for the season and that that the thermostat is set to a temperature that will cause the unit to turn on (below the room temperature for the Cool setting and above the room temperature for the Heat setting).
Check The Power Supply
3. Verify that electrical power and gas service is available in your home.
4. Confirm that the circuit breakers are on for both the indoor and outdoor units and that the switches and/or disconnects near the indoor furnace and outdoor condenser (AC unit) are on.
Furnace or Air Handler
5. Make sure that the condensation drip pans and/or drain lines near your furnace or air handler are clear. A backed-up hvac system drain line or indoor coil drip pan may trigger the safety float switch that will shut down your system in order to protect your home against possible flooding.
6. Also, verify that the door panel on the furnace/air handler is in place and secure; this allows the safety door switch to activate. Sometimes the door shakes loose which causes the safety switch to shut down the unit.
7. Confirm that the air filter is clean. A dirty air filter can restrict air flow which can cause your air conditioning and heating system to shut down or not work properly. Your air filter should be replaced every one to three months based on your system and the quality of air in your home. For more information about home air filters, read this article about How Often You Should Change Your Home Air Filter.
8. Check that the air intake grills and supply registers are open and unobstructed. Your heating and air conditioning system needs sufficient air flow to work properly. If your “cold air returns” are blocked by furniture or other obstructions, this can affect how well your AC system cools or heats your home.
9. Verify that the pilot light is lit on older furnaces. Today’s furnaces come installed with automatic ignition systems and therefore don’t need to be “lit” like the older units. However, if you are lucky enough to have an older unit with a pilot light that is not lit, your system has a safety feature that will prevent your furnace from turning on. Note: If you have an older system that has a pilot light, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer, safer system. Contact us today for a FREE quote.
Outdoor condenser unit/AC unit
10. Verify that the outdoor coil is clean and has unobstructed air flow. Check AC unit for dirt, debris or bushes blocking air flow. Since your AC unit is constantly working to push cool air over the warm coils, dirty coils or clogged fins can greatly impact the performance of your outdoor condenser (air conditioning unit). If your AC unit is dirty, gently spray the outside of the air conditioner with a hose to clean the dirt away. Be careful to not use a hard stream of water that could bend the fins inside your AC unit.
Sometimes there are AC system problems that a professional technician should solve.
1. You see ice on the pipes or near the outdoor condenser-AC unit. This is the result of something failing with your unit and will continue until the problem is resolved.
2. You hear unusual noises coming from your furnace or ac unit. Just like with your car, is your ac unit or furnace is making an odd noise, something is beginning to fail. The sooner you have your air conditioning system serviced, the better.
3. Air flow from your vents is much lower than usual. If you have already checked and determined that your air filter is clean and free of debris, there is something else causing your issue.
4. Your AC system is rapidly starting and stopping.
5. If circuit breakers won’t reset or repeatedly trip. Most of the time, circuit breakers trip to protect your home, sometimes the circuit breaker itself is failing. Either way, this issue needs to be addressed immediately.
6. If your home doesn’t feel as cool or warm as you would like. Sometimes this is the result of a failing system, sometimes it is the result of a lack of air flow which is a much easier issue to solve. Either way, you should have your HVAC system evaluated for efficiency.
7. If you smell something burning. If you smell something burning, turn your system off and call for a service call asap.
8. If you smell gas, leave the house immediately and call the gas company.
9. If you see oil accumulating near the air conditioner or piping.
10. If you have higher than usual utility bills compared to the recent weather. This is often the sign of a struggling or failing ac unit. It can also be the product of low Freon in your system, but your Air Conditioning unit is a closed system, meaning that Freon shouldn’t be low. If your Freon is low you probably have a leak somewhere in your system which means that issue needs to be addressed first.