The summer months are the most critical time of the year for a home HVAC system. When a heater or furnace breaks down in the winter, it’s easy to bundle up, add layers and stay warm. But when the AC doesn’t work and the outside temperature soars, we can only peel off so many layers.
In the case of an HVAC hiccup, it’s wise not to panic and make a call to your trusted service technician, just yet. There are some simple diagnoses and tips that might get your system up and running before making that call.
THE EASY FIX
The singularly most common ailment is that the A/C simply refuses to turn on. A few basic–almost rudimentary–steps need to be taken. One way to check this is to simply turn the thermostat down about five degrees or even more, making sure the AC unit is set to “Auto Cool” or “Auto.” Another option is to turn the thermostat to “Fan On,” making sure the unit is in the cooling mode.
If you don’t hear the unit kick on, the next best step is to do a visual inspection of the condenser unit outside. Check for any debris that might be blocking the fan blade or slowing down air flow to the unit.
OPEN UP THE BOX
If any of this fails to initiate the system, then the next course of action is to check the fuse or breaker box. A blown fuse or tripped breaker could easily be the culprit. But also keep in mind that if it’s rare for your system to trip a breaker or if the breaker trips soon after resetting, then it might be time to have a professional visit to see if there’s an electrical issue that’s developed.
While you’re at it, this is an excellent time to check the filter too. A severely dirty or blocked filter can stress a system and prevent air flow around the coils. This could freeze the unit and certainly seize the coils and cause further damage.
A dirty filter might not always freeze the system but it might reduce its efficiency. If you have pets, a smoker or an unusually dusty home, the filter can clog up before it’s rated lifespan. Remember, those filter ratings are for average use–not a definitive change-by date.
A GOOD SEAL
Sometimes we recognize the unit is not cooling the home as well as in the past. This is another opportunity for doing a little self inspecting. Even though the unit might be running well, seals around windows and doors can break down and allow the cold air to escape.
Searching for drafts or leaking seals around windows and doors or other openings is something we all can do. But, again, this is something that a trained HVAC technician can also do with the backing of years of experience and training.
As with all things mechanical, there are some tasks and some maintenance functions we are all comfortable with handling ourselves. But after exhausting some simple tests and doing visual inspections for the obvious, the next step should always be to contact your professional HVAC technician. He or she can put their years of experience and all of their knowledge to work for you and keep you and your home cool when things begin to heat up. To have your AC Unit inspected, contact our team of trustworthy technicians today.