Having your HVAC unit breakdown on a hot day during the summer is bad. It’s even worse if you have to wait around for a few days in the heat for a contractor to come. Luckily, there are some AC problems that you can repair yourself. Most common AC repair is for units that are not cooling well enough or not cooling at all. Here are a few things you can do yourself to fix the most common issues.
Check the Furnace
Before doing anything else, you should check the furnace to see if the problem is originating there. Start by setting your thermostat to AC mode, on the lowest temperature setting. Then check the furnace to see if the fan kicks in. If it doesn’t start, reset the circuit breaker. If this doesn’t do the job, your furnace may be the culprit and it’s time to call your favorite AC repair professional.
Verify Air Flow
If your furnace is not the problem, the next step is to start with the simple solutions first. Make sure that your whole system has unrestricted air flow. Are the registers located in the home open and unblocked? How does your furnace filter look? Is it clean? Do you need to replace it? Are the condenser coils clean? Are any refrigerant lines kinked and is your blower fan running properly?
If there is anything limiting the airflow, do what you can to get unrestricted air flow back to your system. But before doing any cleaning or AC repair, be sure to turn off the AC and furnace breakers in the main electrical panel, then use a voltage tester on the contactor wires to make sure that the power is really off. If you have a gas furnace, turn off the gas at the gas valve that serves your furnace.
Evaporator and Condenser Coils
You might find that the evaporator coil has ice on it due to restricted air flow or low refrigerant levels. To defrost the coil, close up the air handler/furnace panel and switch the thermostat from “Cooling” to “Off”. Then turn the fan on. Within an hour or two, the coil should be defrosted. If the ice was caused by blocked airflow, once you fix that, you should be good to go. However, if low refrigerant levels were the cause, you will need a professional to come take a look and recharge your refrigerant if necessary.
If the outside condenser coil is clogged, it can lead to your compressor overheating and shutting down. After turning off the breakers, you want to turn off the power switch at the air handler or furnace. From there, you have to remove the disconnect block. Clean the coils. If the AC unit does not start running properly, it’s time to check the access panel.
Inspect the Access Panel
The first step here is to check for blown fuses. If you find them, that means that there might be a faulty part in the condensing unit. Remove the fuses and carry on with your AC repair. Once the repairs are done, install new fuses and start the unit back up.
The access panel wiring could also be damaged, so it’s important for you to check that as well. Turn the power off and remove the panel. Check for broken or chewed up wire and insulation or any sign of rodents. If you see any damage, you can tackle it yourself if you have the expertise or you can call a pro.
How Do You Know If It Worked?
To test your AC repair, reinstall the access panel and the disconnect block and then turn on the furnace switch and the circuit breaker. If the repairs were successful, the condenser fan should spin and the compressor should run. Unfortunately, if your AC still doesn’t work, you’ll have to call your AC repair contractor. Sometimes, especially if you have an older HVAC system, it is more cost efficient to replace your unit rather than repair.