Updating Your HVAC Unit

Troubleshooting Your Home's AC Before Warm Weather Hits

With winter weather preparing to break for the warmth of spring and summer, it's time to start thinking about the health of your air conditioning system. The last thing you want to face when the temperatures soar is an air conditioner that won't respond. There are a few common problems that can occur with your air conditioning unit, and knowing what they mean and how to deal with them can help you address those problems.

Not Turning On

An air conditioner that doesn't turn on at all is actually a pretty common issue, and usually it's one that's a simple fix. You might think that when your air conditioner won't turn on, it needs to be replaced. This is possible but not guaranteed. Before you rule out your existing air conditioner, there are a few things you should check.

Start by checking the circuit breaker that powers your air conditioning condenser. Even if it doesn't appear as though it's tripped, try resetting it to see if that cycles the power and restores function. If resetting the breaker doesn't fix it, and the air conditioner is on at the thermostat, you may want to have the thermostat itself tested.

When you eliminate the thermostat and the power supply as the sources of the problem, that means it's time to have the air conditioning condenser inspected by an air conditioning repair technician. There may be problems with the control panel, or you may need to replace the entire unit.

Power Cycling Problems

If your air conditioner is turning on and off more frequently than is necessary, a process known as power cycling, it could be one of a few problems. The easiest to check and correct is poor thermostat placement or drafts in the area of the thermostat. Check the area where it is placed to see if the temperature is consistent compared to the rest of the house. If it's warmer (even due to sunlight shining) or colder due to drafts, it can falsely trigger the air conditioner to turn on or off when it isn't needed. Relocate the thermostat if necessary to prevent this problem.

In other cases, the power cycling can be caused by an improperly sized air conditioning system. If it cools the home too quickly because it's too large for the size of the home, it will run in short bursts. If it's too small for the home, it may cycle quickly due to overheating shutdowns. When the condenser has to work too hard to cool the space, that can cause it to overheat and trigger a safety shut-off. You'll have to have it evaluated by an air conditioning repair technician to identify the precise cause.

Noisy Operation

All air conditioning compressors make some level of noise. That's normal. However, when your air conditioner is making loud or abnormal noises, that could be cause for concern. Squealing, banging, rattling, and such are indications of mechanical issues inside the unit. Whether it's a worn belt, a warped or poorly lubricated fan, or even loose screws, some of those mechanical issues can be repaired instead of requiring replacement.

However, if you allow your air conditioner to continue running when it is making noises like this, it could ultimately cause worsening damage. Over time, it could lead to needing a full replacement air conditioning system. The sooner you seek the help of an air conditioning service technician, the sooner you can get your air conditioner running at its best again.

These are some of the most common issues that can arise with your air conditioning system. While some may ultimately necessitate having a new unit installed, others can be repaired if you know what to look for and identify the problem early.