Troubleshooting common AC problems
There are certain steps you can take to troubleshoot common central AC problems, which could save you from having to involve a professional and pay for repairs. It is important to understand, however, that repairs are best performed by a trained professional heating and cooling technician who can ensure they are performed safely and properly.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most common air conditioning issues are refrigerant leaks, inadequate maintenance, electric control failure, sensor problems and drainage problems.
- For refrigerant leaks, your safest bet is to involve a professional. Your AC unit needs to have the right amount of refrigerant to work properly, and a leak could be harmful to the environment. Only a skilled technician can repair a leak and ensure that the refrigerant charge exactly matches manufacturer guidelines.
- Inadequate maintenance is a leading cause of AC problems. You can address this issue by scheduling yearly tune-ups of your heating and cooling system. Be sure to regularly check and change filters. Keeping your AC system clean and maintained will extend its life expectancy and help you avoid an emergency breakdown.
- When electric control failure occurs, this is often due to an oversized AC unit that turns on and off too frequently. Wire and terminal corrosion may be likely, and a professional should check all connections for safety reasons.
- Sensor problems are another common issue with air conditioners. This is something you may be able to fix on your own, depending on the specific situation. Thermostat sensors are typically located behind the control panel and should be near the coil but not touching it. If your AC system is behaving erratically, check the sensor. If it has moved out of position, move it back by carefully bending the wire.
- Drainage problems may occur if the outdoor condenser unit is blocked and unable to drain properly. Check the outdoor unit regularly to make sure it is free from dirt and debris. You may need professional help if the condensate drain becomes clogged.
If you are having problems with your central air conditioning system, turn the system off and wait a few minutes before turning it back on. Take note of what occurs when you turn it back on, and call a professional if the issue is not resolved by restarting the system. When in doubt, having a heating and cooling expert is your safest course of action.