How to Test Your Air Conditioner Before the Heat Hits

How to Test Your Air Conditioner Before the Heat Hits

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After the winter months, you almost forget that you even have an air conditioner; but once the heat of the summer is here, that’s all you’re going to be thinking about. While it’s not quite hot enough to use now, springtime is the perfect time to make sure your A/C is working properly. Read on to find out how to test your air conditioner before it’s too late–the last thing you want to deal with is a broken air conditioner when it’s too hot!


First, check to make sure the power is on in your house. Next, see if your gas meter is turned on with your utility provider. Last, ensure the circuit breaker (fuse box) hasn’t been tripped. Often, these simple issues are the culprit, not an actual broken A/C.

Next, you’re going to want to take a look at your A/C’s filter. Dirty filters ruin your air conditioner’s efficiency and performance. If yours needs a replacement, do this before running a test.

How to Test Your Air Conditioner

Reminder: In order for your test to be successful and accurate, it needs to be at least 80 degrees outside.

How to Test Your Air ConditionerSTEP ONE
Turn on your A/C and set the thermostat lower than the room temperature, and low enough to keep it running for the test. Next, locate an air duct that’s closest to your AC’s unit (this will be your “return duct”). These might be in a separate room, so you’re going to want to remove the grilles from both locations.
Now you’re going to test the cooling ability of your air conditioner. If you own a refrigerator thermometer, this works perfect. Tape or set your thermometer inside the incoming air duct and allow the system to run for about 10 minutes, and then record your reading.
a/c temperature testSTEP THREE
While the system is still running, move the thermometer to the return duct and leave it there for another 10 minutes, and then record that reading.
Now, subtract the return air duct (step 3 reading) from the incoming duct air temperature (step 2 reading).
If your total is between 14-20 than your air conditioner should be ready to go for the summer! If the difference is less than 14, your A/C may be low on refrigerant. If your temperature difference is more than 20, there might be a problem like restricted airflow in the A/C ducts. Both of these problems do require a professional to come assess, so it’s a good idea to contact your local HVAC repair service.
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