4 Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Tips

Air conditioning is a lifesaver on those hot, muggy, summer days. But when your air conditioner stops working, what do you do? Before calling an air conditioning repair service, try one of these troubleshooting tips:

Check for power

If your air conditioner is totally dead and nonfunctional, it may not be getting power. Check your circuit breaker and flip the switches for the air conditioner off and back on again. Be sure the switch at the circuit is in the on position. If you have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker, check your box and replace all bad fuses.

Empty the drain pan

Your air conditioner unit has a drain pan. If this pan is not emptying properly, air flow gets restricted and your system stops working as it should. Check the drain pan and empty it. Look at the drainage pipe to ensure there is no clog causing water to back up in the pan. You should also see if the water pump is plugged in.

Clean the condenser and the evaporator

When the condenser and the evaporator get clogged with dirt, dust, and hair, your unit stops blowing cold air. To get your air conditioner working again, thoroughly clean the condenser and evaporator. Here are the steps for cleaning your condenser and evaporator:

  1. Locate your outdoor unit. Spray the condenser unit with your lawn hose.
  2. Apply condenser cleaner and let it foam.
  3. Wait 5-10 minutes for the foam to remove dirt.
  4. Spray the cleaner off the unit with the hose.
  5. Locate your indoor unit and find the plenum. The plenum is a metal box that connects to the furnace.
  6. Carefully remove the tape and insulation from the front of the plenum.
  7. Remove the access plate. You will be able to reach the evaporator.
  8. Carefully scrape the bottom of the evaporator with a brush.
  9. Clean the evaporator tray. The tray is located underneath the evaporator and collects water that drips from the unit.
  10. Screw the access plate back in place and reapply the insulation and tape.

Pay attention to small details

It's easy to overlook small reasons why your air conditioner isn't working. Some fixes seem so obvious that they might not occur to you. Here's a small list of problems to check:

  • Does your thermostat have fresh batteries?
  • Is the air filter clean?
  • Are all registers completely open?
  • Are windows and doors shut?

These are ways you can troubleshoot your air conditioning system. If these fixes don't work, contact an air conditioning repair specialist.