Air conditioners are wonderful inventions. They provide cool air during those hot, muggy days when walking outside is like opening a hot oven. During those hot days of summer, an air conditioner is important for comfortable living. When an air conditioner stops functioning, the air inside becomes as hot and sticky as the air outside. While for most air conditioner repairs you should call in a professional repair technician, there are things you can do yourself when your AC unit isn’t functioning as it should.
Before doing anything with your air conditioning unit, be sure to turn off power to the unit to prevent electrical shock. Look for a shut-off or a disconnect panel. At the primary electrical panel, shut down the circuit to the AC unit.
If your air conditioning unit is not switching on when the weather gets hot, the first thing to do is to check to make sure everything is set correctly. Check the thermostat controls to make sure they are set on “cool” or “on” and that the thermostat itself is set at a temperature cooler than room temperature. Check to see if a fuse has been blown or a breaker tripped. If so, reset the circuit breaker or replace the fuse. Also make sure the power switch to the outdoor condenser is on.
Clean it Up
If the air conditioning unit doesn’t seem to be turning out cool air, turn off the power and check the unit for a build up of dirt, debris and grime. Sometimes cleaning up the unit will restore the ability to function properly. Check the condenser to see if the airflow is being blocked. It may be a simple matter of removing any debris covering the condenser that restricts airflow. Use a soft brush to clean the fins of the AC unit. Vacuum loose particles. Carefully clean dust and grime off the outside of the unit with water and a rag or a hose. Cut away any branches, weeds or other plants growing up and around the AC unit.
Change the Filter
Air conditioner filters get dirty. These need to be replaced not less than once a year, while every four to six months is even better. A dirty filter keeps air from flowing through efficiently. Changing a filter is something you can do. Read the manual to make sure you purchase the correct filter for your unit and to learn how to replace the dirty filter with a new one.
Lubricate the Motor
An AC unit may not function properly because it lacks sufficient lubrication. The owner’s manual will provide directions to enable you to find where lubrication goes on the motor and how to accomplish this task.