Conditioned air repair: Issues affecting your unit and its DIY fixes
Is there something wrong with your A/C unit and needing an air repair? As it turns out, this can happen often.
Many things can occur to air start units that may need either a quick A/C repair or a more complex one. It will depend on the particular malfunction and might even need a complete overhaul.
You will find out the most common issues that can happen to your unit and the accompanying DIY repairs. But first, you should have the essentials:
Necessary tools and materials
- Adjustable wrench
- Nut driver
- Needle-nose pliers
- Tester for voltage
- Socket set
- Compressed air
- Motorized fan
Overview for air repair
When your unit malfunctions, what you usually do is call a professional air conditioner handyman. However, they do not come immediately and most likely wait for a couple of days.
Most of the time, it will cost you a lot of money to pay the incurring service fee. Nevertheless, there are ways that you can fix it if you do not have a problem working with electrical devices.
You only need to pay about fifty dollars on spare parts and work for about two hours fixing it. This way, you can save more than two hundred dollars for labor and component markup.
Common issues you might encounter when it malfunctions are either low cool emissions or nothing comes out at all. These are workable issues that can easily be tackled. You will only need a voltage snifter, a socket set, and a couple of screwdrivers.
If the recommended fixes below do not work and eventually call an A/C repair guy, then you can thoroughly explain the problem to him and can get a quick fix.
Common HVAC problems and solutions
You will need your precious A/C unit to work when the summer season arrives. You love the sensation of cool air wafting over your body, which gives you the necessary respite for the heat outside.
Even the sturdily-built devices can sometimes malfunction, and you will be the one to fix them. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system in your home is a complex contraption, which you might feel overwhelmed. When that happens, then a professional technician can still fix it.
Nevertheless, here are the issues and their respective fixes:
Primary issue: A/C unit does emit cool air
The issue tops the list because it is the most prevalent malfunction of any HVAC device. There might be many reasons why this is happening.
There might be something wrong with the furnace. First, decrease the temperature by adjusting the thermostat to A/C mode. If you observe that the furnace fan is still working, then the furnace is not the cause of the problem.
When you see that the fan is not whirling, try readjusting the circuit breaker of the furnace. If it fan is still motionless, the last resort is calling for professional assistance. The troubleshooting tips mentioned beforehand are not working.
Since the fan could not be the culprit, then it might be the condenser unit. Both the compressor and fan ought to be operational. If there are not, turn the power off in the main electrical panel to close down the unit.
Then take apart the access panel from the condenser unit. Ensure the power is off by utilizing a voltage tester on the wiring going towards the contactor.
If the device is still not letting out cool air, perhaps you need to substitute the defective components. The components that are often easily damaged are theA/C contactor and the capacitors. But these parts and put them in immediately, if your device about six years old.
The motorized condenser fan can potentially wear out, but it is an expensive component to replace (one hundred fifty dollars). Be sure it is the chief cause of trouble first before purchasing one.
Another reason is that the filter may be dirty. The coils are on the exterior surface of the device, located outside of the residence. So go out and wash it off.
A clogged-up filter will cause the device to let out the air incorrectly. In turn, this freezes the evaporative coil and halts cool air from coming out.
If you have already cleaned or replaced the filters and exposed every register but still no cool air, defrost the first coil.
Shut out the thermostat from the cooling setting. Then power the fan on from the auto mode.
Let it run for about thirty minutes till you notice an air current. Then turn the device on again. If it will continue to function for more than twelve hours, the issue is fixed.
If the cause for the HVAC breakdown is the condensing coils clogging up, it will result in the compressor heating too much then shutting down. You will first feel sporadic bursts of cool air, then no cool air at all.
Re-clean the condensing coils. Turn off the power in the device, then do the same thing on the main panel of electricity. Then switch off the furnace and air handler power.
After thoroughly cleaning the coils and still no cool air is coming out, put in a fresh filter and open every vent. If it is still not working, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.
Troubleshooting tips for the A/C’s inability to emit cool air
- Power down the unit. Snap open the electricity compartment on the unit and remove the disconnecting block. Then test if there is any power left with a voltage snifter.
- Thoroughly clean the condenser coils. Use a garden hose and direct the snout to the topmost of the coil to take out the accumulated dirt and grime below the lid.
Be sure every portion of the coil is clean. Then direct it down in a slower current towards the A/C fins and force out any leftover debris.
- Check on the fuses. Disconnecting blocks usually have two cartridges. Examine them first before starting the fix.
If the fuse is blown, then there is something wrong within the unit, and replacing it would still not fix it. If the issue persists, it would need professional air fuse aircon guys to repair it.
- Open the access panel and examine its contents. If you are having trouble finding where it is, trace the electric wiring from your home, and it will direct you to the access panel.
Switch off the power first and check if the wires have been chewed off by rats or if they are nesting in them. If there are, take out the capacitor first.
Then clean out any rodent refuse and fix the wiring. If the problem continues, call for professional help.
- Substitute the capacitors. Every HVAC device has capacitors in its system, and some have at least one. It acts as a storage for electrical power and discharges it once the condensing fan and compressor are on.
It also levels out any electrical voltage variations, thus protecting the fan and compressor from malfunctioning.
Its functionality will immensely reduce over time, and hindering the ability of the unit to turn on. This defect can be hard to pinpoint, which will result in malfunctioning too early.
However, due to its inexpensiveness, you should be proactive and replace it every few years, even without malfunctioning.
- Substitute the contactor. It is a component that is always responsible for any malfunctioning that occurs in the unit. It very sensitive and tend to wear out easily.
Even though your unit might be functioning well, you should still replace it once every six years or so.
To replace it, pull out the connecter from the malfunctioning contactor and install it. Ensure that it is secure in the socket within the unit.
- Make some tests in your fixes. If some repairs would not work, your other option should always be to get it fixed by a professional technician.
Secondary issue: The unit would not switch on
This type of issue is the second most common malfunction in an HVAC device. The problem starts when you switch on the power, and it does not do anything. You cannot hear or feel anything coming out of it. It is motionless and dead.
The unavailability of power may come from either a fuse might be damaged or the circuit breaker may be tripped. Either repair is easy because you only have to substitute the fuse or readjust the breaker.
The unit not being able to turn on might also be from issues with the thermostat, or maybe some of the wires are split or loose.
Recurring issue: Defective thermostat
If there is something wrong with the thermostat wherein no proper calibration was made or it would just not turn on, it will disable the capability of the A/C to power on.
If you flip the switch on the lowest setting and yet it still would not commence, then the malfunction is out of your reach, and you have to call for professional assistance. The technician would fix it by substituting the thermostat for recalibrating it.
The old model-types often have issues with calibration, and the newer brands do not have these problems but are sometimes difficult to program. If you want to troubleshoot any thermostat malfunction, you have to refer to its manual for help and support.
Recurring issue: Low refrigerant
Whenever the unit is defective, and you attempt to troubleshoot it, then you find out it is due to a decreased refrigerant, it would still be fixable. The level has become so low that it affects how the device is functioning.
Its failure to function comes from possible leakage. Or it was not correctly charged while installing it. The effect in the surroundings would be the air would become sticky due to cool air not emitting correctly.
If the proper level of refrigeration is not achieved, heat and wetness in the atmosphere would not be effectively taken put from the environment.
Your unit would not work without the refrigerant because it is its life-giving force. No cool air would give out if it is defective.
If leakage is the reason for the problem, you cannot just top it off with an additional refrigerant. It is a precursor to a larger problem.
When a leak occurs, it is outside your reach and control, and you have to refer to a repairman. However, if more than one leakages happen at the same time, you may need to substitute the unit itself.
Recurring issue: Issues with the condenser
Can an air conditioner overheat? Yes, it can, and it is because of problems with the condenser, particularly the coil. Its role in the entire HVAC device is to remove the heat from inside the room and release it outdoors.
The coil is the part that is exposed to the outside elements. So dirt and other wastes will tend to stick to it. When it becomes too dirty, it will intervene in heat transference and make the whole device work overtime. It will eventually add to the increasing impairment of the unit.
Recurring issue: Frozen coil
If you notice that the air is getting warmer and begin doing the airflow troubleshooting steps, the most likely reason is that the evaporator coil is frozen in its place. Its main task is to take in heat via the refrigerant.
However, when the air current is lessened, the coil would slowly freeze and accumulate icy particles. If this would happen, the unit will emit hot air or no air at all.
The cause of the blockage might be that the filters are grimy, or decreasing refrigerant, or the air cannot properly come back to the ducts due to obstructive elements.
Recurring issue: Grime or leakages in the ductwork
Whenever the A/C is on, and you feel a disparity of coolness in every room, like one is cool while the other is warm, this means that the air current is not flowing correctly through the ductwork.
If the central HVAC system is properly sealed off from every portion it is running, from behind the walls and through the ceiling, then cool air should flow as it should be. However, if some accidental tearing might happen or even be chewed on by rodents, it will result in duct leaks.
The purpose of the ductwork is to contain the regular air and deliver it to the cooling system and transform it to cool air. If there is tearing in the ducts, air will break away and go through the ceilings and walls.
It is not fixed, it will bring discomfort to you and make your electricity bill higher. Make a thorough inspection first before calling in professional support.
Recurring issue: Drain line problems
When moisture is taken away by the HVAC device, where do you think it will go? It goes through the drainage line towards a receiving pan and then directed to a drain.
Whenever the pan brims overdue to obstruction in the drain lines, the liquid will clog up and impair the unit. Thus, leaks will happen and drop from the ceiling or cascade through the walls.
When issues happen to the cooling unit, always inspect its drainage system when finding ways to troubleshoot it.
Recurring issue: Loud fan
Every HVAC device comes with a fan that will blow air on the evaporator coil to make the air cooler. Another fan from the condenser coil then directs air from the condenser to deliver the heat outdoors.
The fans become noisy because dirt and grime might stick to the blades, or maybe the bearings deteriorate, or the belt will become worn-out. When noise becomes apparent and whatever you try to do in getting the dirt out is not working, then your last hope would be getting it fixed by a professional technician.
Recurring issue: Open doors and windows
You might wonder why whenever a cooling system is turned on within a living space and often told to close the window and doors. There is a good reason for this.
For one, it is because to not let the cold air out. Outside air will counteract the unit’s main purpose, which is to provide cool air. It would also undermine the effectiveness of the device.
Another, the unit will exert too much only to overcompensate from the outside air coming in. It will lead to an increase in the electric bill and an overheated system.
So always close any openings in your home to keep the cool air in.
General troubleshooting tips
Whenever you notice something wrong with your home cooling unit, here are some tips you can live by:
- Always make it a habit to clean any dirt showing on the device and also the immediate vicinity.
- When the filters become dirty, substitute them immediately.
- Always watch over the ductwork for any wear and tears and get it fixed once it does.
- Set up a thermostat for the unit that you can program on your own. It saves you energy costs and is more precise. However, read the manual to know how to properly use it.