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Your AC Troubleshooting Guide

With an extension on the shelter-in-place sanctions, having a working air conditioner has never been more important. As temperatures rise, and summer is moved indoors—reading books, watching movies, and playing board games—it is essential that all homeowners know how to troubleshoot their own air conditioning system in case of an unexpected breakdown. Rather than sweating it out, try finding the source of your problem, you may be able to fix it yourself!

Here is your air conditioning troubleshooting guide:

Perform A General Operational Inspection

Step 1: Input your desired temperature and switch your thermostat “fan” function to “on”.

Step 2: Go to your condenser unit and have a listen. It should not be making any banging, clanking, or popping noises. If you are hearing unusual sounds, you may have loose parts in your system that need fastening. Contact your local HVAC technicians for air conditioning repairs.

Step 3: If your system is not making any concerning sounds, place your hand above the condenser and test the air coming out of your unit. There should be warm air emanating from the top of your system. If this air is coming out cold, it’s time to let a professional take it from here, as your fan motor likely needs replacing.

However, if your system is blowing warm air, this is not the source of your air conditioning problem, and you need to head inside to assess your ventilation.

Step 4: After about fifteen minutes, your air conditioner should begin cooling your space. If the temperature within your home successfully drops, your system does not need repairs. Conversely, if your home is still not cooling down, and you haven’t encountered any failures through the inspection steps above, it is time to dig deeper.

Check Your Thermostat

Your thermostat is your remote control for your entire system. If this is not working properly, your cooling network will appear as though it is malfunctioning as well. Make sure your power supply is active. If your system runs on batteries, replace these every season! Once you have determined that your thermostat has power, check your ventilation again.

Cold air should be blowing through your system. If this is not the case, take a look at your pre-programmed settings. If you have entered previous air conditioning schedules, these may be overriding your current cooling efforts. Re-program your thermostat, and reassess your indoor temperature.

If you have implemented these troubleshooting tips, and your cooling is still ineffective, this is not the source of your air conditioning woes.

Observe Your Ventilation

Air leaks are the leading cause of weak airflow and inadequate cooling in residential homes, as cracks in your delivery system, or ductwork, interferes with the pressure balance within your system, affecting the rate at which your air conditioner releases cold air.

Go through your home and take note of any closed, obstructed, or covered air vents. If you notice that one or more of your vents are blocked or shut, it is probable your ducting is compromised. Closed vents cause pressure to build-up within your system, resulting in cracks and fractures throughout your ductwork.

Additionally, your ducts could need cleaning, especially if you have not had professional air conditioning maintenance this year. Your air ducts can become clogged, as dust, dirt, and other airborne particles accumulate and block airflow. Contact air conditioning specialists to replace your air filters, clean your ducts, and seal any air leaks.

If your ventilation is unobstructed, it’s time to check the source of your cooling power.

Investigate Your Refrigerant Line

Finally, observe your refrigerant line for leaks, tears, or breaches in insulation. In order to ascertain whether your refrigerant is leaking, listen closely to your unit. If you hear a hissing or a jingling sound coming from your system, this is likely the culprit of your inadequate cooling.

Contact a professional AC technician to patch any leaks and refill your refrigerant to the proper levels. This should resolve your cooling debacle and get you back up and running for the rest of the summer!

For air conditioning services, including repairs, replacements, and routine maintenance, contact Ostrom Electrical Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning at (540) 685-4040. We are here to help you achieve your optimal cooling, and have implemented the CDC recommended protocols to ensure both our technicians and employees remain safe and healthy during these challenging times.

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