5 Common A/C Issues and How to Fix Them
A hot and humid Tampa summer is just around the corner, and with it the heat — and maybe heat waves. If you or a loved one has an older central AC unit or wall unit, or if you’re a Tampa landlord in charge of the safety of your tenants, learn how to troubleshoot and test your home air conditioner so that everyone is safe and comfortable. Over the years, your AC has been accumulating wear, tear, gunk and more from Florida’s heat and humidity, both of which can take its toll on your AC unit. A failed unit can also be dangerous to the health of humans when the temperature rises into triple digits. Here are the 5 common A/C issues and how to fix them.
The AC Thermostat — Small Device, Big Impact
If your AC is running and you can feel air blowing out of the vents or the wall unit, but it’s not cool enough, or if your AC blows cold then hot air, the source of the problem could be one of a number of issues. Keep in mind, on extremely hot days, it may not be possible to keep your house below, say 65 degrees, or cooler.
Step 1. Make sure your AC thermostat is on and set to cool.
Step 2. Check that the batteries are not dead and then gently clean the device.
Step 3. Check for corrosion and if any is found, use a proper electric contact cleanser.
Step 4. Realign and adjust the heat anticipator. Not to be confused with the temperature lever, this lever is found on some devices and can be re-calibrated to help the AC work accurately and efficiently.
Step 5. If that doesn’t solve the problem, check the circuit panel and circuit breaker. If the switch is flipped off, flip it back to the correct position. Didn’t fix it? Keep reading…
Your AC Unit – Ice or Slime?
Another possible cause for a lack of cooling or controlling the temperature in your home is the unit itself and its components.
Step 1. Turn off the power to the AC unit. Open the door and remove the filter. Is it dirty?
Step 2. Check for ice. Melt any you find.
Step 3. Clean the AC condensate pipe if it’s clogged or slimey.
AC Compressor and AC Condenser Fan – Reset?
When the AC thermostat is turned down a few degrees, the compressor should kick in, which means the condenser fan is turning. If you open the door and find the fan blades are NOT rotating,
Step 1. Look for a reset switch. If the unit has no reset switch…
Step 2: Carefully insert a tool like a screwdriver through the top grate and try to rotate clockwise the fan blades. If you are able to “jumpstart” the blades to spin , your AC likely has a malfunctioning capacitor that must be repaired by a qualified air conditioner or appliance repair technician. (Also, if your energy bill is too high, the fan could be to blame.
AC Coolant – Recharge with an Appliance Repair Specialist
If you’ve gone through the above steps and still not getting cool air blowing, your AC coolant likely needs to be recharged. Do not attempt to do this yourself. Contact a local AC parts or appliance repair service.
AC Fan Belt – No Air Flowing?
When your AC runs but stops blowing air, it could mean a broken motor belt. Access the belt, replace it with the correct model number (shown on the belt itself). Often the belt needs lubricating. Check the manufacturer’s guide before proceeding.