Your air conditioner isn't going to run forever. Over its lifetime it can breakdown, run out of refrigerant, freeze over, short-cycle or just not cool your home properly. These problems can occur at any time. It might be wise to have an idea of what you can do in any of these instances. See below for issues that can occur and how to repair them.
If Your AC Unit Won’t Turn On
If your air conditioner is not turning on, it could be due to a few things. These steps should help you understand what’s causing your problem.
First, check that the air conditioner didn't get turned off, such as from a tripped breaker. Check the power switch, as well as the breaker. If this wasn't the problem, move to the next step.
Next, check the thermostat to be sure it is working properly. Be sure the thermostat is on, then change the temperature to a lower setting to see if it signals the air conditioner to turn on. Listen for sounds of the air conditioner trying to kick on. If you don’t hear anything, call a professional. However, if it sounds like it's trying to cycle, move to the next step.
If you heard sounds from your air conditioner as if it was trying to cycle, check the air filter to see if it is clogged. A dirty air filter can block air flow and cause your unit to breakdown. Replace the air filter and try turning on the AC unit again.
If the air filter isn't the problem, check around the unit outside to see if any landscaping is overcrowding the unit. Trim back landscaping and give the unit a good hose down.
If Your AC Unit Keeps Short-Cycling
Short-cycling is when an AC unit will turn on and off repeatedly. Every time the system will only run for very brief periods of time. These steps should help you identify the problem.
First, it’s always smart to check the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty.
Next, you should test the thermostat to be sure it is working properly. Sometimes direct sunlight rests on the thermostat, the sunlight could be interfering with the thermostat’s ability to read the temperature. In this case, you would need to move the thermostat. If this isn't the problem, move to the next step.
If the thermostat and air filter were not the problems, it could be due to low refrigerant. In this case, you'll need to schedule an appointment with a professional HVAC technician. The technician will test the refrigerant levels and fill the refrigerant if it’s low.
If Your AC Is Running, But Not Cooling
If your air conditioner turns on and air still flows but the air is warm, or simply doesn’t cool your home there could be a few causes. These steps can help you determine the problem, but this is probably due to low refrigerant which you’ll need to call a professional for help with.
Check your air filter first, and if it is dirty replace it. Once you’ve replaced the air filter turn on your air conditioner and see if that fixed the problem
Check the thermostat first to be sure it's working correctly. Try adjusting the temperature a bit to see if it helps, or turn it off and back on again.
Make sure the registers around your home are all open and not blocked by furniture, curtains or other objects. Also be sure the house is sealed properly, no windows open or doors not closed all the way.
There are a number of causes of air conditioning breakdowns, but the number one issue is usually poor maintenance. Keep your air conditioning system working by maintaining it. For example, keep the unit itself clean, change the air filter monthly and keep registers open and unblocked. Call a professional HVAC company such as Haskins Heating & Cooling to perform preventative maintenance checks on your system throughout the year to prevent premature breakdowns.