Air Conditioner Troubleshooting Guide: Schedule Repairs Before Summer

Is your air conditioner ready to handle the heat coming to northwest Arkansas this summer? Between annual professional maintenance visits, there are several things you can do to keep your cooling system in top shape and fix small problems on your own:

  • Filter replacement: Replace air filters according to manufacturer recommendations, which can be as often as monthly. Clogged filters can’t maintain good indoor air quality or protect HVAC equipment from harmful internal dirt buildup.
  • System shut-off: If your A/C goes out, allow it to cool down for a few minutes. Next, check fuses and/or circuit breaker and replace or reset. If your system quits working on a hot day, try pressing the reset button on the compressor access panel. The high-pressure limit switch, which prevents overheating, might have tripped.
  • Drainage problems: Check the condensate drain for clogs.
  • Sensors: When knocked out of place, thermostat sensors can cause frequent cycling or temperature problems. The sensor should be near, without touching, the evaporator coil. (If comfortable doing so, you can check/reposition by moving the sensor wire.)

Common A/C problems that call for professional solutions:

  • Refrigerant: Incorrect charge is common. For leaks, it’s not sufficient just to add refrigerant. The cause must be found and repaired. The system may have been installed with refrigerant pressure either too high or low. A qualified technician must measure, then add/remove refrigerant to reach manufacturer specs.
  • Electrical: Worn controls or corroded terminals/wires are safety issues, but not unusual in systems where maintenance is overdue.
  • Choosing/installing a new system: Consult a pro to make sure you get a new system properly sized for your home and cooling needs. Proper sizing is complex, but important, to avoid energy waste/poor performance throughout the life of your system. Professional installation ensures efficient operation and proper airflow throughout your home.
  • Maintenance: If you haven’t already done so this spring, schedule an air conditioner tune-up from your local HVAC contractor. Preventive maintenance of your home comfort equipment ensures that it operates efficiently, lowering energy bills and extending system life.

For preventive maintenance and troubleshooting, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. Visit our website for valuable HVAC information or give us a call.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air conditioner troubleshooting and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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