DIY Central Air Conditioning Repair & Troubleshooting

Featured image of the blog title "DIY Central Air Conditioning Repair & Troubleshooting" with a background of colorful Central Air Condition

The thing about air conditioner is you don’t know there is a problem unless it’s a hot day and a day you need your cold air.

Having air conditioning problems is not something any homeowner wants to deal with on a hot Nevada summer day.

The best way to rectify this is to get yourself familiar with some air conditioning repairs and maintenance tips to prevent potential problems from turning into serious problems.

Central A/C units have two components that rely on one another to keep you and your family comfortable during the grueling summer heat. The part most people are aware of is the condenser unit. The reason for this is because it’s the large piece of equipment sitting on a slab somewhere outdoor close to the home.

The second part is the evaporator coil mounted near the main duct connection/junction above the furnace, which is typically indoor in a closet or closed off area. Even though these pieces of equipment are separate from each other, one needs the other to keep cold air flowing correctly throughout the duct system.

So, when you hear a strange sound or notice the air is not as cool as it normally is, are there things a homeowner can do themselves with central air conditioning repair and troubleshooting?

The Major Parts Of Air Conditioner Units

Example of central ac unit

Typically, central air conditioners run through the home’s forced-air distribution system. Thus, the same blower, motor, and ductwork that distribute cold air are responsible for pushing warm air through the house as well.

When the unit is operating, hot air that is inside the home flows through the furnace, then through the return-air vent. The hot air is then carried by a blower across the cold evaporator coil, into the plenum and delivered through the ductwork that you feel come from the vents.

When there are problems and either the air is not cold, or the unit itself is not running properly, it could be several things gone wrong. If the unit is running, but your house doesn’t feel comfortable, the problem is often somewhere within the distribution system.

Even though it is best to have professionals such as our team at All Hours Air assess your unit when big things go wrong, there are simple do-it-yourself tips we suggest you try before making that call. The following are examples of things that are common issues that a homeowner can try to find out if the problem is a small fix and if these don’t do the trick, we are just a phone call away.

Central AC Unit is Not Working At All

drawing icons of central ac unit is not working at all

Starting with the thermostat would be the best place to begin diagnosing potential problems.

Common errors such as someone turning it off and forgetting to reset it to “cool” or turning the desired temperature up which prevents it from turning on until it reaches a higher temp than you prefer.

Also, check the battery. If a battery is low, this will either cause the thermostat to reset or not work correctly. There are many models of thermostats that have a light that will blink when it’s time to replace the battery.

If the temperature is hotter than you want, try lowering the desired temperature to see if the unit will start running. If this doesn’t correct the problem, consider thermostat replacement.

There are little things that go wrong with a central air conditioner that usually points to an easy fix. If your unit doesn’t kick on when the thermostat signals to the primary system that it is time to send cold air, the next step would be to check your main breaker box to see if a switch is in the “off” position or if it has blown a fuse.

In the event you find this to be the problem, simply flip the breaker to the “on” position or replace the fuse that is in the “off” position.  Step one is two may very well fix your problem. It is easier for the homeowner to correct these instead of a service technician doing the same steps while charging a fee.

Do You Feel Air Coming From The Vents?

example of air conditioner vents

    • If you don’t feel air coming from the vents, check the fan outside to verify it is running. If the fan isn’t running, again, check the breakers to make sure they are all in the “on” position for the air conditioner, air handler/furnace.
    • If you find that the breakers are all in the “on” position, then the problem may be somewhere in the wiring between the furnace wire panel and the thermostat wire panel. You may feel more comfortable having a repair technician check for this problem.
    • Check the condensate pump to make sure the reservoir is empty or if it needs emptying due to being full. An air conditioner reservoir has a limit switch that will typically stop the unit from running if it is full. If this is the case, the pump will need repairing or replaced which you should leave to a professional.
    • If you find the breaker tripped-reset it by flipping it to the off position, then turn it back on. If it trips a second time, check for faulty wiring in the furnace for damage and repair if necessary.

What if the fan on the outside unit is working, but the air blowing out is hot?

If you find that the blower is working, but the fan to the outside unit is not running, you will need to inspect a few things to see if you can troubleshoot the problem. However, if the blower isn’t working, but the fan on the outside unit is, there could be an issue with one or more of the following:

    • Furnace control board
    • Blower motor
    • Run Capacitor

If the motor is not running on the fan, shut the power to the unit off. Next, check the wire connections for any signs of damage such as areas chewed on by animals or burnt areas, make repairs necessary to repair the wiring.  For precautionary purposes, check the connections to the compressor case and make repairs if needed.

Now, turn the power back on and check if the unit kicked back on. If the unit fails to start, check for a reset button that may have triggered when the power was shut off. Some units have these as safety precautions.

Often, when a compressor starts but the fan doesn’t, there are problems with the condenser fan motor. However, if the compressor does not start but the condenser fan does, this could be a sign of low refrigerant, or the compressor may be running hot or is bad, which will require a professional for repairs.

Do you see water around the furnace or ice buildup on the lines that connect the outdoor unit to the indoor unit?

If the furnace blower is running and you see ice or frost on or around the unit and/or water around the furnace, turn the unit off for a few hours while letting the blower run on the heater. After a few hours, you can continue to troubleshoot the unit. Start by turning the air conditioner back on and allow it to run for about five or six minutes.

After the running time, check the large line extending from the outdoors unit. The line should have condensation forming and should be cold to the touch. If neither, you probably have a low freon problem which will require a technician.

If there is no frost or ice, continue checking the outside unit for troubleshooting.

What If The Unit Is Not Blowing Cold Air?

a man thinking about What If The Unit Is Not Blowing Cold Air

There are a few things that could be causing this problem.

By not having routine maintenance by a professional, problems such as a dirty blower wheel, evaporator coil and filter will occur. Check the unit for these common issues and clean as needed. If you find that these symptoms are not the problem, again, a low level of Freon could be the issue.

Still, Need Help? Call a Professional Local HVAC Company

All of these problems could be what is causing your unit not to operate properly. If you get to any of these steps and feel you should contact a professional. Our Reno HVAC Repair experts are here for you. We are proud of our training and professionalism we display at every home we visit.

Our goal is to make you and your family happy in a comfortable environment. Whether it is your central air conditioner or a window unit, All Hours Air is the right team for you.  Give us a call today to get you and your family back on track before the summer heat arrives.

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