Troubleshooting Your Central Air Conditioner

By: Brian Schutt  |  August 31, 2017

We’re nearing the end of summer and our air conditioning units have been working hard for several months. Inevitably, something may go wrong in these final weeks before you decide to switch it off for the fall season.

Below are three of the most common problems you may face with your central air conditioner. Should you run into one of these issues, you could save money and time by trying one of these DIY troubleshooting and repair techniques:

The Issue: Your A/C Won’t Turn On

Possible Causes: If you can’t get the air conditioning system to activate at all, then you most likely have a blown circuit breaker or fuse, improperly set or faulty thermostat, or an internal switch being off.

Possible Solutions:

  • Make sure it’s receiving power from the electrical panel.
  • Reset the circuit break or replace your fuse.
  • Check your thermostat settings to make sure it’s on “cool” and not set to “off” or “heat.”
  • Check your condensation overflow tray for excessive water. There may be a sensor on your tray that turns the unit off when water is collected.
  • Check that all switches in and around the air conditioner are set to the “on” position, including the external safety switch usually near the condensing unit.
  • Check to make sure the blower door on the air handler is securely closed.

The Issue: Your A/C Turns On But Isn’t Cooling

Possible Causes: If you can hear your central air conditioner running but it doesn’t cool well, this could be a result of something blocking airflow anywhere in your system — filters, registers or compressors. Low refrigerant levels could also be the culprit. Without the right refrigerant level, heat and humidity cannot efficiently be removed from the air.

Possible Solutions:

  • Check the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly.
  • Take a look at the condenser to see if it’s dirty or blocked. If so, clean it and remove the blockage. The condenser can become blocked by tall weeds, grass, or other airborne debris.
  • Clean and/or change your filter (We recommend once a quarter.)
  • See if any ice has formed on the coils. If so, turn the fan on to melt it.
  • Check and/or clean the outdoor compressor. You could have a faulty compressor or an inadequate amount of refrigerant in the system, which would require a professional to fix.

The Issue: Poor Airflow Circulating Throughout Your Home

Possible Causes: Usually poor air flow results from a dirty air filter or ductwork that has become blocked, crimped, or even disconnected.

Possible Solutions:

  • Confirm air filter is clean. If dirty, clean or replace the air filter.
  • Inspect all ductwork to make sure it has not become disconnected, including ductwork that may be difficult to reach in your attic, basement or crawl spaces. Repair or connect as needed.
  • Check register dampers on vents in the rooms to make sure they are set to an open position.

Cleaning your air conditioner is something you can do on your own, provided you have a basic understanding of the parts of your unit. However, there comes a time when you need to seek out professional service. If you’ve already done basic troubleshooting and the problem still exists, consider calling us for help.

Above all, proper maintenance is the best was to avoid problems and prevent issues in the future. Give us a call at 317-670-0171 if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help!

Brian Schutt

About 

is the co-owner of Homesense Heating | Cooling. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he loves the city and its people, and is committed to bringing a servants mindset into the heating and cooling industry. One of the ways he does that is to translate the technical language of HVAC into the manageable and understandable for homeowners.

Have a question? Tweet him and you'll get an answer promptly.

Posted in: Air Conditioning

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