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Air Conditioner Not Working? Make These Checks First

checkmark-greenSummer days aren’t much fun when the air conditioner that’s supposed to make your home pleasingly cool isn’t doing anything at all. When your AC won’t turn on, or it does turn on but doesn’t deliver cool air, one of your first instincts will be to call a professional HVAC contractor to repair it.

This is the right instinct: repairing an air conditioner isn’t something you can do on your own, and it shouldn’t be left to non-professionals. However, before diving for the phone, you can make some basic checks to see if there’s a simple reason behind the air conditioner problem. You may not need repairs at all—and if you do, we’re always here to help.

Check on the Following:

  • Electrical power: Has your home lost its electrical power? During a bright summer day, you may not at first notice if your home has experienced a full power loss. You may have a general power outage.
  • The electrical panel: One common reason for the fans or compressor of an air conditioner to is because of an overloaded circuit that tripped a breaker. A strained motor or small electrical failure can cause this. If you find any tripped breakers, reset them and try to run the air conditioner again. (If the tripped breaker problem persists, then you definitely need to have professionals look into it.)
  • The thermostat: The issue may be as basic as incorrect settings on the thermostat or a thermostat with drained batteries. If you have a digital thermostat and it’s showing a blank screen, that usually means it’s time for new batteries. Look over the program settings (if you have a programmable thermostat) to see if they’re set correctly to turn the AC on at the desired time.
  • The HVAC filter: The filter on the HVAC cabinet protects it from dust and dirt coming through the return air vents. It will gradually clog over time—from 1 to 3 months is common—and the restriction on airflow into the AC and over the evaporator coil can lead to insufficient cooling. It also strains the blower motor, possibly leading to an overload that will trip a breaker. Put in a clean filter and see if this improves the situation.
  • The outdoor cabinet: Examine the outside cabinet (the condenser unit) to see if anything has blocked it. The condenser must have space to exhaust heat from indoors, or else the AC won’t be able to provide cooling. If the cabinet is excessively dirty, clean it off with a hose.

If you still have an air conditioner that isn’t working after these checks, it’s time to get in touch with us. Make note of anything unusual you may have seen while looking around the HVAC system. For example, if you noticed ice forming along the indoor coils, that’s a major warning sign about what might be wrong. Tell the technicians about it when they arrive, and this will help them get to the root of the problem quickly and have it solved.

Schedule AC repairs today — Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. serves Delaware County & The Main Line, PA.

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