Homeowners can often avoid costly AC repair by hiring a professional in the off-season. They can also save on repairs by performing simple maintenance.
The most common reason to get ac repair here calls is a clogged filter. This is a relatively easy fix, however, and can be done by any homeowner.
1. Check the Frequency
The AC system’s refrigerant absorbs heat from the air in your home and carries it outside, where it is dissipated. Over time, though, it can lose its level (or charge) and need to be recharged. A technician will examine the system for damage or leaking and then add the proper amount of refrigerant to the compressor.
A clogged air filter: You should change the filters in your AC system frequently, especially if you have allergies. An AC pro can recommend the right size and type of filter for your system.
Low refrigerant: Over time, the system can lose its level and need to be “recharged.” A technician will evaluate the system for damage or leaking and then re-add the proper amount of refrigerant to your compressor.
2. Check the Temperature
The main goal of an AC unit is to reduce humidity inside the home. High humidity causes everything to feel sticky and thick and can make heat seem hotter than it actually is.
Keeping an eye on a utility bill can help homeowners know when to call in a professional. Higher bills can indicate an issue, like a dirty air filter, low refrigerant, or a duct leak.
Setting a thermometer on a supply vent and leaving it there for five minutes should give you a reading of the temperature of the air being sucked in. Then compare the return vent temperature to the thermostat’s set point. The difference should be within 15 degrees. If not, it could mean the evaporator coil is dirty and needs to be cleaned.
3. Check the Pressure
The low-side of an AC system, which is connected to the evaporator and lines leading back to the compressor, should usually show pressure readings around 20 PSI (1.3 Bar). Any lower than that and it could mean there is a leak or the compressor is not working.
Homeowners can test the pressure of their own AC unit by popping the hood and locating the caps for the high and low-pressure sides of the system. Typically, the cap for the low-side is blue while the one for the high-side is red.
A clogged air cabin filter can impact the performance of an AC system by interfering with air flow and decreasing pressure. Another issue that can cause low pressure is a blocked or broken fan.
4. Check the Compressor
Located in the outdoor unit, the compressor is one of the most integral parts of your air conditioning system. It compresses refrigerant gas and generates heat that is expelled through the fan. If you notice that your AC is blowing lukewarm air, the compressor may be broken.
Another sign that the compressor is bad is a blown fuse or tripped breaker. This often happens because the wires have become damaged and are putting too much strain on the compressor. A regular inspection of the wiring can prevent this from happening.
To check the electrical connections to the compressor, you can use a voltmeter. Put the red node on C and the black node on R and read the ohm reading. It should be significantly lower than 30 ohms.
5. Check the Thermostat
The thermostat is one of the most important parts of your air conditioning system. It regulates the temperature in your home, which means a malfunctioning thermostat can lead to major problems for your entire HVAC system.
Whether you have a battery-powered or hardwired thermostat, there are some easy troubleshooting steps you can take to get it back up and running. First, make sure the power is turned off before removing the cover and using compressed air or a brush to clean it of dust.
Next, check your circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped. If it has, simply flipping it on and off can restore power to your thermostat. If this doesn’t work, contact an HVAC professional to examine the unit. They will be able to diagnose and fix any issues.