Basic AC Troubleshooting For Homeowners

There are few things as annoying as coming home only to discover that your air conditioner is not working. You expect to walk into an inviting and cool house. But instead, you are greeted by heat and even nasty humidity. And you know immediately that you need to begin looking for the issues with the AC system. But many homeowners are unsure where to look or how to work through some of the logical problems that could be preventing your home’s air conditioner from functioning.

Not every AC issue requires the services of a professional. You can check out several items on your own that could save you the cost of a service call and a few hours of uncomfortable heat in your house. Check out the following things before grabbing your phone to call for a professional.

  • Tripped Breaker – First, check the breaker for the AC units. There could have been a power outage or surge that tripped the breaker when you were not home or asleep. If the breaker is tripped, ensure that the AC system is turned off and then reset the breaker. Then turn the AC back on so that it can power on smoothly.
  • The Thermostat – If it is the first hot day of the year and the first day you expect your AC to be running, make sure that the thermostat is set to AC and not heat. It sounds simple, but it can happen to anyone. Flip the switch to AC, and hopefully, your troubleshooting is rewarded with the hum of the AC unit and cool air in your home. However, if the AC has been operating flawlessly this season, it could be a bad thermostat. To test the theory, turn the setting to heat and see if you can turn on the furnace. If the furnace does not turn on, then you should replace the thermostat or have it replaced.

If the AC is turning on but then turning off almost immediately, the issue could be as simple as a lack of airflow.

  • The Air Filter – Pull the air filter from the air conditioner to ensure that it is not covered with dust and dirt. As the air filter removes all the dirt from the air, it can become clogged. The fail-safe will shut the unit down to prevent costly damage when the AC cannot draw air through the filter. When you hear the unit turn on, run for about a minute and turn off, that is a sign of the fail-safe kicking in to save you a ton of money. Replace the dirty air filter with a new one and turn the AC back on. The restored airflow should allow the unit to run a normal cycle.

If you hear the AC running and find that most areas of the house are cool, but one is not, the issue is typically in the ductwork.

  • Remove the cover from the vent that is not blowing cool air and look for a clog or blockage. If you see dust and dirt, use your vacuum cleaner attachments to clean out the ductwork. It is also possible that there is a clog or damage to the ductwork that you cannot reach. A visit from your HVAC pros is in order to determine if the duct is leaking or damaged.

Call (406) 823-3680 for AC service from the certified experts at Mountain Valley Plumbing & Heating if you cannot correct the issue. We provide free price quotes for all repairs and back them with a full warranty. In most cases, we can complete the cost-effective repair the same day that you call for service.