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Air Conditioner Checklist

If you're running into problems with your air conditioner, be sure to check the following items to eliminate a service call.

Check for Ice & Condensation!

First step is to check that your Air Conditioner isn't freezing up. Check right above the furnace, see if you see any icing or a lot of sweating on the duct work... this can be a sign of freeze up. Check the copper lines going from above your furnace to outside. These are the refrigerant lines and one will get warmer, one will be cooler. If you see ice on any part of those lines turn the system off immediately and let it thaw (and continue this checklist).

Check your Thermostat Batteries!

Have you changed the batteries in your thermostat recently? Most thermostats are powered by batteries. You would be surprised at the amount of thermostats that have low battery yet the low battery light will not light up. Low batteries can cause some of the most random things to happen, fresh batteries are always a good idea! Some thermostats are wired to get power from your furnace and do not require batteries, especially wifi thermostats. If you have a nest thermostat pop the thermostat off the wall and check that you have a wire going into the "C" terminal on the base plate. If you do not, you will want to get a new wire ran or use a wire saver to get the thermostat all the wires it needs to operate properly.

Check your Air Filter, replace if needed.

Third item to check is your air filter. Air Conditioners need a good volume of air. If you do not change your filter on a routine basis (1-3 months for 1" filters, 6-12 months for specialty filters). If your filter is plugged, turn off the system, and replace the filter. At the thermostat turn the system to off and fan to on. Give it time to thaw out, odds are there is a lot of ice in your Air Conditioner coil and it needs time to thaw. After 2-3 hours try running the air conditioner again. If your system freezes up again it's most likely due to a refrigerant leak (low refrigerant).

Check that the outside disconnect is on.

If you notice the outside is not turning on, make sure the "power box" outside which is known as a disconnect is turned on. Inside the box there is either a switch or a fuse you can pull out. Make sure the switch is on, or the fuse is pushed into place. Be careful as it is 220 voltage.

Is there water on the floor?

Water on the floor is common. Your Air Conditioner pulls A LOT of humidity out of the air, it is a very efficient dehumidifier. If you have a plugged drain or a backed up drain pan you can get water all over your floor. First step is to check that you can blow through the drain line. Pop the drain off of the furnace and blow through it. If you can the drain line is most likely good. Next, look above the furnace for a drain line for the Air Conditioner. You'll see what looks a PVC adapter that connects to a drain hose. Try disconnecting the drain and unscrew the PVC bit so you can get direct access. If you can remove it, take something like a pencil and shake it around to agitate any dust clumps that is blocking the pan exit. Be prepared for a wave of water to come out once you free any blockage. Some PVC adapters have putty of "thumb gum", it should be safe to unscrew to access.

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Questions & Answers

My Air Conditioner is not blowing any cold air.

This could be a couple of things. First we would recommend making sure the thermostat is calling for cooling, and going outside to see if the outdoor unit is running. If the outdoor unit is not running it could be the contactor had failed, or mice may have eaten the wiring internally. This is a common occurance that is noticed a lot in spring. Because we are dealing with wiring we recommend having a technician out there to fix it.

My Air Conditioner is buzzing very loudly outside.

When the air conditioner is buzzing very loudly outside this is due to a stuck contactor. It's recommended to shut off your air conditioner. If you are comfortable with electrical you can replace the internal contactor, but be safe! If you would like us to work on it we certainly can. Our guys are pros and can have it fixed in a jiffy.

My Air Conditioner is not working, but I hear a quiet hum outside.

This sounds like the capacitor on the outdoor unit has failed. If you feel comfortable working around high voltage you can disconnect and bring it into our showroom during regular hours. We can match up a compatible one for usually under $30. Be sure you noted which lead went to where. If you have questions you can also call and talk to our service department for help.

My Air Conditioner not cooling, and there is a lot of water downstairs.

This sounds like your Air Conditioner may be freezing up. If you are getting cooling and the air conditioner is maintaining temperature then it could just be a drain line plugged up. Disconnect the drain coming out above the furnace and blow it out. If you can blow through it then it should be clear. Check the drain pan you just disconnected it from and try to unscrew the connector and use a pencil to agitate the build up by the drain. Dust can clump up and block the draining of water, it doesn't take much to free it... but watch out there could be a torrent of water ready to exit.

If your system is not keeping up well this could be that your refrigerant has leaked slowly and now it's not balanced. If your system freezes up the coil that air flows through to cool down turns into a big block of ice, restricting air flow. If you see a lot of sweating on the duct work above the furnace that is a good sign that could be going on. If you're not getting any air flow out of the registers is another sign of a freeze-up. Turn the fan to on, the system to off, and let it thaw out. It could take 2-4 hours to thaw entirely. Check your air filter too to make sure it is not the source of the freeze up. Dirty air filters can throw off the balance.

My Air Conditioner's copper lines are icing up.

If your copper lines are icing up that is a sign that the air conditioner has either a leak and is low on refrigerant, or you have something like a dirty air filter causing delicate balance to get thrown off. Check your air filter, replace if needed. Run your fan in on position without air conditioning for a few hours to thaw the system out entirely. If the filter is clean you need a professional out there to check the charge of refrigerant. It's not uncommon for older Air Conditioners to develop a leak, the question is how big is it and what refrigerant it is to really determine a game plan.


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