If you’re a homeowner with central air, you probably enjoy that feature of your house very much. If you reside in a city or state that gets hot in the summer, turning on central air can feel luxurious, especially if your unit succeeds in cooling your home evenly. If you feel comfortable everywhere in your house during the summer, that’s a sure sign your central air unit is doing its job.
However, a time might come when your central air unit isn’t providing you with the cool air you expect when you turn it on. If you’re short on cash or like to handle DIY projects yourself, you might wonder whether you can do the repair job rather than calling in the pros. We’ll talk about that in the following article.
You Can Play It Safe by Calling the Pros
The short answer to whether you should try to fix your central air conditioner is usually no. A central air conditioner unit is a complex piece of equipment. A company you’d call to fix it, like Dr. Cool the Heat & Air Conditioner Doctor, has technicians who have studied for years to learn how to repair these units. Trying to tackle this job yourself can make the problem worse. Even if you feel like you have an idea of what the problem with your AC unit is, you likely won’t have the specialized tools to do the necessary repairs. You might be one of those individuals who love to do DIY projects and to learn new home improvement skills whenever possible, but you’re probably better off paying the money for this particular job. Still, if you feel confident enough to attempt some basic AC unit repairs, there are a few things you can do that probably won’t make the problem any worse. Let’s go over a few of those.
Check the Unit for Any Obvious Signs to Identify What’s Wrong
If you don’t have the training that an AC technician does, there’s probably a lot that might be going on with your unit that you won’t be able to identify. There are a few relatively obvious problems, though. When you go to the side of your house to look at the central air unit or wherever else it’s located, you should look at it to see whether there’s any vegetation clogging it up. Sometimes, you’ll find a unit next to a garden or surrounded by plant life, either growing naturally or planted by you or a prior homeowner. For instance, you might see creeping or climbing vines that have grown up around the unit.
In that case, the first thing you can do is clean out any tendrils that have wrapped themselves around the unit. Some vines can grow around the unit’s coils, and that can easily cause it to malfunction. You might have to clear away this vegetation several times throughout the spring and summer months if it keeps growing back.
Check Your Circuit Breaker
If the unit won’t come on at all, it’s also possible that you have tripped your circuit breaker. That’s an easy enough fix. Head down to the basement or wherever else in the house you keep the fuse box. There, you should find the various circuits labeled. It’s possible that in some homes, you won’t find the different circuits labeled. If so, have one person go around the house and turn each light off and on while you stand by the box to see which breakers correspond to which part of the house. Then, you can label each one accordingly. Once you’ve figured out which circuit corresponds to the central air unit, flip it back to the on position if it’s in the off position. Then, try turning on the unit again to see if that has fixed the problem.
Check Your Thermostat
If you try to turn on the central air unit via the thermostat and that doesn’t work for you, the issue might be the thermostat rather than the AC unit. If you have a battery-powered thermostat, as most people do, switching out the batteries might solve the problem. You should also make sure you’re trying to turn on the AC unit at your thermostat by turning it to the proper setting. You might be turning it to the heat setting rather than the cool one. To be sure, try to find the instructions for your thermostat and read them to ensure you’re not making a mistake.
Change Your Filter
If nothing else has worked so far, changing your AC unit’s filter is probably the next logical step. That’s something that most homeowners can figure out how to do with relatively little difficulty. Look online at a diagram of your particular AC unit and see where to find the filter. It’s in the same approximate location with most modern AC units, so you should not have much of a problem. You can always buy a new air conditioning unit filter online and have it sent to your house, or you can usually get one at Home Depot or Lowe’s as well. Switching out the filer can solve many AC unit problems. If that doesn’t work, there’s one more go-to option you might explore.
Melt Any Accumulated Ice
If ice has formed inside the unit, that can prevent it from running. The solution when that’s happening is to turn the system to off and then run the fan. That should get rid of the ice very rapidly. The other thing you can do if you’re a little more patient is to turn off your unit and wait for the accumulated ice to melt on its own. That might take a day or two if there’s significant ice buildup. If all of this sounds too challenging for you, you can just skip all these steps and call in the pros. You can usually find plenty of experienced air conditioner repair people in your area.