6 Simple Ways To Troubleshoot Your A/C Unit

It’s every homeowner's worst nightmare to discover their A/C has broken down.  It’s inevitable that it will happen on the hottest day of the year, on a weekend or holiday, or when you’re planning to have company over.  If you find yourself in this situation, here’s a list of some easy things you can check before calling in a professional.

1.  Make sure your thermostat is set to “Cool” with the temperature turned down.  It may seem like a no-brainer but it’s an easy thing to overlook during Spring in St. Louis when the weather is a revolving door of highs and lows.

2.  Next, it’s important to check your air filter.

  •  In our experience, this is typically the number one cause for an air conditioner or furnace breakdown.  The system can not run properly or efficiently without adequate airflow.  For most homes we recommend installing a “middle of the road” air filter ($5-$10 for a 1” filter) and replacing it every 3 months or so.  Pets, kids, hardwood floors, and traffic in and out of the house will all cause your air filter to get dirty more quickly, so it’s essential to change these routinely.

3.  Make sure the breaker is turned on at your electrical panel.  

  • After sitting all season, some air conditioners can have a hard time starting for the first time which can trip the breaker.  If this does occur, call Kirkwood Heating & A/C as we can offer a solution to help prevent this from happening in the future.  And for a more immediate resolution:
    • Set the thermostat to “Off”
    • Turn the breaker all the way off and then back on at your electrical panel to reset it
    • Set the thermostat to “Cool” with the temperature turned down
    • Check to see if your outside unit is operating

4.  Check the batteries in your thermostat.  

  • Most will have a low battery indicator on the display, but is not always the case.  If you have a digital thermostat and the screen is blank, there is a good chance that the batteries need to be replaced.  Best practice calls for replacing your batteries every year to avoid this problem, so keep that in mind.

5.  Hose off your outside air conditioner.  

  • Airflow that occurs here is critical and the fins of the unit can act like a filter in gathering dirt and debris.  With the system turned off, use a low pressure hose to clean the coil.  You may do this while the A/C is running but to prevent a shower you may prefer to turn the system off first.

6.  Take a quick inspection of the outside unit.

  •  Is the fan running?  Is it blowing warm air?  If you can check within the insulated refrigerant line, is it cold?  If you answer “no” to any of these, you may have bigger issues that require troubleshooting by a professional.  Make sure to turn the system “Off” to prevent further damage and contact Kirkwood Heating and A/C immediately.

It’s important to never do more troubleshooting than you are comfortable with as it’s easy to do more harm than good.  

We always stress preventative maintenance as it will help extend the life of your equipment and avoid breakdowns throughout the season.  Contact Kirkwood Heating & A/C to schedule your Spring maintenance or to resolve your HVAC problems at 314-968-3453 or email us at info@kirkwoodheating.com!  Ask about an Annual Maintenance Agreement for discounts on repairs and preferred service!