You can save both energy and money while learning a few new skills with these DIY (Do It Yourself) air conditioning repair techniques. Below are listed some suggestions on how to troubleshoot and repair some not so difficult central air-conditioning problems:
Several different problems can happen with a central air conditioning system. A central AC unit can:
- Not work at all
- Run but not cool the house
- Cause erratic changes in room temperature
- Drip of leak water
- Make odd noises
There are of course, some central air conditioning repairs which absolutely must be handled by an experienced air-conditioning repair person, but you will be surprised at how many you can do yourself.
Central Air Conditioner Doesn’t Work
If your central air conditioner doesn’t automatically turn on when the thermostat indicates that cooling is needed, it’s probable that the thermostat isn’t working correctly or the unit isn’t receiving electrical power. Before you rush off to call a repairman, make sure the thermostat is set to COOL and that the temperature setting is well below the general temperature in the house.
Next, do the following:
1. Check main electrical panel — do this and any secondary circuit panels should be checked as well for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. If the source of the problem is there, then you can reset the breaker or replace the fuse. You should be aware that a central air conditioner should be on a dedicated 240-volt circuit.
2. Make sure the furnace power switch is on – this is important as well as checking to see that the outdoor condenser’s power switch, which is located on the outdoor unit, hasn’t been turned off. While you’re at it, check that the 240-volt disconnect located beside the compressor, which is in a metal box usually on the house wall, hasn’t been shut off.
3. Turn off the power to the air conditioner — also check the thermostat. Take the cover off of the thermostat and unscrew the wire from the Y terminal. Turn the power back on. Being careful to hold the wire by its insulation only, touch the bare end to the R terminal and hold it in place for about two minutes. If the compressor goes on, then the thermostat is faulty; replace it yourself, or call an air conditioning technician. If the compressor doesn’t go on when you hold the two wires together, then turn the power back off and call an AC technician from somewhere like Static Electrics.
Air Conditioner Doesn’t Cool Properly
Listen and if you can hear your central air conditioner running, but it isn’t cooling the house properly, the problem can be caused by several things:
It needs to be cleaned so that it gets the proper flow of air.
The coolant needs to be recharged by an air conditioning technician.
If you want to attempt to clean the condenser unit, this is something you can do yourself with a little guidance.
Air Conditioner Doesn’t Blow Air
If your air handler’s motor runs but the blower isn’t moving the air, the belt that connects the two together likely has broken. Don’t worry. Replacing it is easy if you have a few tools and some simple do-it-yourself skills. Here’s what you do:
1. Turn off all power — to the unit and, if the air handler is a gas furnace, find the gas valve that is for the furnace and turn the gas off.
2. Take the door off the air-handler cabinet — This will allow you to reach the blower. Check the number stamped on the belt and gets an exact replacement from a home center or heating supply outlet.
3. Normally you can slip the belt on the motor’s pulley — then you start it on the blower pulley. Rotate the blower puller by hand, holding the belt in place, but being careful not to let your fingers get caught between the belt and the pulley. The belt should slip into place without a problem. If it appears too tight or is difficult to set in place, you may have to adjust the motor mount to give it more slack. Once the belt is securely in place you can retighten the tension. Read the manufacturer’s specifications for correct tension — usually the bet should deflect about an inch when you press down on it.
4. Lubrication — Lastly, some fan motors and fans require oiling every now and then. Some have sealed bearings. If it states that you should do so in your maintenance manual, oil the bearings according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Now hopefully you have repaired your central air conditioner and will not have to resort to calling an electrician like Static Electrics.