With the year 2021 still in the home-sweet-home situation for most, living in a house that’s not just safe and healthy but also comfortable is part of our primary concern.
So, in the summer heat, you would never want to miss your air conditioners. You would not want to lose these when you can handle the troubleshooting yourself.
- Check for a dirty air filter. Designed to allow clean air into your space, the air filter of an AC is the first line of defense when preventing airborne contaminants such as dirt, dust, cold air, and debris from getting pulled into the unit compartment. Over time, the air filter becomes filthy and loses its capacity for filtering the air going into your space. If your air filter becomes clogged with debris and dirt, it can profoundly affect the performance of your air conditioning unit and, worse, makes it inoperable.
One quick way to determine if the air filter is dirty is to do the “white sheet test.” which involves hanging a clean white sheet approximately 5 inches away from one of the vents for at least an hour. If the sheet turns gray, you’ve got a filthy air filter. The grayer the sheet, the dirtier the filter.
Be sure to change it regularly to avoid serious health problems.
- Check your thermostat settings. Make sure you take a look at the mode you have your thermostat set. If you demand your AC to turn on, make sure it’s on “cool,” and if you wish to warm, make sure it’s upon “heat.”
Also, an obvious thing to troubleshoot and easy to overlook is the temperature setting itself. After you make a temperature change, some digital thermostats have to hit the enter button or done on the screen for the thermostat to accept the change.
- Check your air conditioner circuit breakers. The thermostat can be the culprit. A dead battery can be an issue in a programmable thermostat, or it has finally bit the dust and seen its last days.
Check whether the thermostat’s display is visible. If it is not, the thermostat cannot move the air conditioner to cycle on. Look for why the thermostat isn’t receiving power, such as drained batteries or a tripped circuit breaker, or a fuse blown in the main electrical service panel.
If you’re sure it isn’t receiving power, shut off the thermostat breaker to safely take off the cover and examine the components. Initially, check for a buildup of dirt, soot, or dust. A coating of debris on any mechanical and electrical components can affect a thermostat’s regular operation, so clean them carefully with canned compressed air or a soft brush.
Once it’s clean, check for obvious problems with the components, like loose wiring or terminal screws that need tightening.
- Check your outdoor unit. When the external component breaks down, but the inside is still operating, a broken compressor in the outside unit may be at fault. That’s typically a significant repair. It might even warrant a system replacement. If the outdoor condenser or compressor unit is a lost cause, resist the temptation only to replace that unit. It’s much better from a performance and efficiency standpoint to purchase an interspersed system rather than mixing and matching indoor and outdoor units. Other possible issues that could shut down the outside unit include the coils freezing up, a malfunctioning fan in the condenser, an electrical issue, or a problem with the refrigerant line. You can start the inspection by clearing the perimeter of the outside unit, and when things worsen, a professional HVAC technician from Blue Sky Heating and Air LLC would be willing to assist you.
- Check all air vents. When your HVAC system is in operation, take a look at your air vents and registers. If you see dust and other debris circulating out, you seemingly have dirty ductwork and a possible clog further down the duct system. A more thoroughgoing inspection requires a screwdriver and flash camera to position in one of your vent registers. After unscrewing the vent grill, take a peep inside. Use your flash camera to get a clear look by sticking your arm in and snapping a couple of pictures. Rodent droppings and signs of mold are typical problems to look at. If you observe dead insects and rodent droppings, you may have an infestation problem and should call in an exterminator as soon as possible. If there is an excessive buildup of dust, mold, or signs of an infestation, call a professional immediately to diagnose the situation.
Know When to Call A Pro
Finally, if you’ve done all the necessary steps above – have checked each set, made sure that it’s receiving power, and so on — but your system still isn’t operating correctly, it’s time to call in an HVAC professional.