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DIY: 10 Checks to Make Before Calling for Air Conditioner Repair

It’s quite embarrassing for you to request air conditioning (AC) repair services only for the technician to come out, look at the system and flip an obvious switch. Some common central air conditioning problems have simple solutions. If you find something isn’t right with your AC unit, save time and money by conducting these simple checks before making that call to the repair man.

  • Check your circuit breaker

: Flickr scottbb

If your AC doesn’t start, this should be among the first places to look. The circuit breaker is normally found in the main electrical panel, though it can sometimes be placed in secondary circuits. Look to see if it has tripped and put it back on. A usual cause for tripping is your AC draining too much power. However, if this happens frequently, consult your electrician.

  • Is your thermostat working properly?

Source: Flickr- Advanced Telemetry

Your conditioner may not turn off when the room temperature reaches that set on the thermostat. If your thermostat does not display any figures, and shuts down the whole system when you set it to heat, consider getting a replacement.

  • Have you checked the capacitor?


The capacitor starts the condenser and the fan in the compressor. Defective capacitors cause the motor to overheat and eventually shut down. If the motor fails, the system will not run completely. Be sure to have ruled out power supply and gadgets like the thermostat and circuit breaker before checking out the capacitor.

  • Do you have noisy ducts?


Many heating and cooling ducts are metallic in nature. Track along the lines and listen for any sound. You may find some panels have not been tightened enough. If noise persists, consider flexible insulation that absorbs vibrations.

  • Is water dripping at the base of your air handler?

A Tidewater Tech building and maintenance student on a ladder, working with electricity.

Source: Thinkstock

If the answer is yes, it may be leaking from one of the pipes due to blockage. Algae are a common cause of blockage. Use a vacuum pump to suck out the water or completely replace the pipe with a new one.

  • What of your condensate pump?


Your pump should come on automatically with the help of a ball float that rises with the water level. If it does not start, it is either clogged or totally broken. Clean it out thoroughly and test if it works in case of clogging.

  • Is your pump overflowing?


Your condensate pump may be running but not discharging water. There is usually a check valve before the discharge tube. Check to see if it is blocked and clean it.

  • Does your indoor air handler produce noise?

Source: eferraioli

Your air handler may grind, squeal or buzz. Belt driven motors can have their belts worn out hence the squealing noise. On the other hand, some motors may use ball bearings that do not provide for greasing. Once the bearings are worn out, they begin to produce grinding noises.

  • Is your air conditioner running but does not cool well?

A Tidewater Tech building and maintenance student on a ladder, working with electricity.

Source: Thinkstock

This problem may be caused by limited airflow to the system. A good place to check is the air filters, registers, and the compressor. An AC air handler can jam because of low refrigerant levels and dirty filters among other things.

  • Check the safety switch


Some AC units come equipped with a safety switch or “emergency stop” button. Located directly on the unit or affixed to a nearby wall and resembling a light switch, make sure the toggle is resting in the “on” position. If it is not, flip the switch and your AC unit should resume its function.

 Help your air conditioner run smoothly by doing regular DIY checks yourself. In cases where you cannot detect the problem, call in a technician for AC repairs. Periodically schedule maintenance for your system.


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