The Ultimate Guide to Simple Air Conditioner Repairs

Keeping up with basic air conditioner maintenance doesn't have to be complicated. Read here for the ultimate guide to simple air conditioner repairs.

In 2021, over 6 million Americans bought homes. While some of those people undoubtedly owned previous homes, many of them are first-time homeowners. That leaves them facing a stiff learning curve when it comes to things like home maintenance.


Even if they go looking for things like a home maintenance checklist, those lists often tell you what to do, but get light on details about how you do them. Air conditioner repairs are a great case in point.


If you need some help sorting out your air conditioner maintenance and repairs, keep reading for our guide to simple guide to air conditioner repairs.


Poor Airflow


A pretty common problem with an air conditioner is poor airflow from the unit. This is often a good news situation. The most common culprit in the case of poor airflow is a dirty air filter.

As dust, pet hair, and allergens accumulate on the filter, it gets harder and harder for the cooled air from the air conditioner to push through the filter. You can often fix this problem immediately simply by switching out your air filter.


A basic maintenance strategy with air filters is switching them out every three months. If you're looking for optimal performance from your AC unit, switch the filter out every 45 days.

Pro tip: default to the manufacturer's recommendations for the air filter you use.


You should also make a pass through the room or your home and check the air vents. If they get covered by drapes or a dropped article of clothing, that can inhibit airflow as well.


AC Doesn't Turn On


Few things create quite the same level of distress as coming home when it's sweltering out and discovering that your AC won't turn on. While it's easy to assume some kind of catastrophic failure in the unit, don't jump there right off the bat.


Electrical systems are funny things. Sometimes, a small power surge will go through your electrical system and disrupt a circuit that never had a problem before.

Your first make your breaker box your first stop. Check the breaker for the AC unit and make sure it's still in the on position. If you find it in the off position, flip it back into place.

Odds are good that your AC will kick right back on. If it doesn't happen again, you're good. You probably just had a minor power surge.


If the breaker flips again immediately or repeatedly over the next few days, you have a bigger problem. That's not a DIY fix. You'll need AC repair services for that problem.



The AC Air Is Warm

Another common problem that people face is that the air conditioner starts blowing warm air or the cool air isn't as cool as it was before. Unfortunately, a lot of things can cause this problem.


You can eliminate one possible cause by keeping the space around your outdoor unit clear of branches, shrubs, and personal property. If things crowd the outdoor unit, it can inhibit airflow there and cause the unit to blow warm air.

Other common causes include:

  • Dirty condenser coils

  • Refrigerant leaks

  • Dirty evaporator coils

  • Compressor problems

  • Clogged condensate line

While a savvy DIYer can potentially handle things like cleaning condenser coils and evaporator coils, as well as unclogging a condensate line, they are often jobs best left to a pro.

You should never try to manage a refrigerant leak or compressor problem on your own. Most states require that only licensed HVAC service techs deal with refrigerant.


Thermostat


Oddly enough, a lot of AC problems can originate with your thermostat. Like other parts of an AC or HVAC system, a thermostat can wear out over time or the electronics can go bad.

In fact, one of the first things you should check when your AC misbehaves is your thermostat. You'll routinely find that someone else in the household changed the settings, either intentionally or unintentionally. Putting the settings back in order will often fix your problem.

If your thermostat operates on a battery or several batteries, try replacing those before you call it quits on a thermostat. If you suspect or know that the thermostat is the problem, you have a couple of choices.


If you're a solid DIY person with a working understanding of wiring, you can often replace the thermostat with a programmable model. If you're also good with computers, you can likely install a smart thermostat as a DIY project.


If you're not sure that the thermostat is the culprit or don't trust your DIY skills, you'll want a professional for the job. Given that the thermostat controls the temperature in your home, you want some certainty that it's operating in the correct way.




Preventative Maintenance


Repair work on your AC unit will certainly get you back up and running, but it's often the least efficient approach. The best option is for you to never need an emergency repair on your AC.


That's where preventative maintenance comes into the picture. Things like changing air filters every few months and keeping the outside unit free of debris fall into the category.

You can also have an AC professional come out and look over your unit or system once or twice a year. With that approach, the tech comes out when you're not on edge.

It also lets them catch warning signs before disaster strikes. Fixing the problem before it becomes a problem is often more practical and even more cost-efficient.


Air Conditioner Repairs and You


Homeowners can handle some air condition repairs on their own. They can often fix airflow problems with the judicious replacement of an air filter or removing blockages from air vents.

Visiting your breaker box can almost magically restore your AC if a power surge tripped the breaker. If you're very handy around the house, you can probably even handle a thermostat replacement.


For many of the other problems with an AC unit, you really do need a professional.

Friendly AC offers AC repair and maintenance services in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. To schedule services, contact Friendly AC today.