Residential Air Conditioner Repair Services
AC Not Working? Check the following list...
So, your Air Conditioning system is not working. If your central air conditioner isn’t keeping you cool you can save money and time and increase your comfort with the following repair and troubleshooting tips.
Your Air Conditioner unit is not working at all:
1. Check the electrical panel to make sure it is receiving power.
2. Reset the switches and/or overloads on the equipment.
3. Check the settings on your thermostat.
4. Check the condensate overflow switch.
If your AC runs but is not cooling:
1. Cut off the power at your circuit breaker for the air conditioner.
2. Check the filter and clean or change if necessary.
3. Check if ice has formed on the coils. If ice has formed then turn on the power and the fan (only) to melt it.
4. Check the condensate drain and clean if necessary.
5. Inspect and clean the outdoor compressor.
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Many types of problems can occur with a central air conditioning system. The following are some of the most common ones:
Your Air Conditioner isn’t working at all
Be sure that your systems thermostat is set on the “Cool” position if your AC won’t go on
If your central air conditioning system doesn’t go on automatically when the thermostat triggers it, then it’s possible that your thermostat isn’t working correctly or it is failing to receive power. Before doing anything else, make certain that your thermostat is set to COOL and that its temperature setting is well below the current ambient temperature in the room. Then check the following:
1) Check the main circuit panel and any secondary panels to ensure that there is not a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. If necessary, reset the breaker by turning it to the off position and then to the on position. If a fuse is blown, replace it. Your central air conditioner system should be on a dedicated 240-volt circuit.
2) Make sure that your thermostat is properly set.
3) Make sure that the power switch for the furnace is turned on and that the power switch (240 disconnect) for the outdoor condenser which located near the outdoor unit (usually in a metal box) is also turned on.
4) Check the thermostat by switching off the power to your air conditioner and check it. Remove the thermostat’s cover and if it has batteries replace them. Replace the cover and try again in 3 or 4 minutes.
5) If the first 4 steps don’t do the job, then remove the thermostat cover again and remove the wire from the Y terminal by unscrewing the screw. Turn on the power again. While holding the wire, by the insulation on it only, touch the bare end of it to the R terminal and hold it there for a couple of minutes. If at this point the compressor kicks on, then the thermostat is faulty and should be replaced. If the compressor doesn’t turn on then you should turn the power back off and either call an air conditioning technician or check the units capacitor.
6) Checking the capacitor and the wires. The capacitor located in the compressor starts not only the condenser, but the fan. If the capacitor has failed, the air conditioner unit won’t run. It is easy to test whether it works. Before you open the electrical cover on the AC unit, be sure to cut off all power to the unit and verify that it is off. Then, remove the cover from the unit. Use a digital multi meter and set it on the “Capacitance” setting. Put one of the leads on the “Common” terminal and then place the other lead on either of the other two terminals. If the meter displays “OL” then capacitor most likely has a short in it. It should show a number. These capacitors are essentially two capacitors in one, such that both share the common leg. Be sure to take a quick photo of the wires before disconnecting them so that you’ll know exactly how to replace them.
Your Air Conditioner Is Not Cooling Well
If you know your central air conditioner running, but it is just not cooling down well, the problem can be a few different issues. First, check the filter in the air handler and make sure it is clean so that it is receiving proper air flow.
1) Power off your air conditioning unit.
2) Remove the door on the air handler cabinet (front) to get access to the filter. Pull the filter out and clean or replace it if needed.
3) Check for ice. If you happen to see ice in the area around the coils, then close the unit back up again and turn the power back on. By turning on only the fan, the ice should melt within an hour or two.
4) Check and clear the condensate drain if needed. Air conditioning systems can create an amount of water as they remove the moisture from the air. Most systems usually have a drain pipe projecting from the side of the air handler unit. Over time it is possible that algae can block this pipe and when it does the A/C will no longer function. Water could also puddle around the unit or possibly even flood the area. We will give you more information on how to deal with condensate problems in a section below.
5) Check and clean the outdoor compressor.
There are plenty of YouTube videos easily available which provide instruction on this procedure. Suffice it to say that this is not difficult to do so don't be alarmed that we are directing you to find a YouTube video. Most of the videos do a good job of showing you how to go about cleaning the coils.
6) Determine that the compressor is indeed working. When you adjust the thermostat to a temperature below the ambient room temperature, you should hear the outdoor compressor turn on and start running. You can see the fan turning the top of the unit. If you don’t see the fan turning, then look for an overload switch or button to reset the unit (not all units have this). With the power off, stick a screwdriver through the top grille and use it to try and spin the fan blades clockwise. The fan blades should spin freely. If doing this gives the fan enough of a boost to get running when you reapply power, then the unit likely has a faulty capacitor that must be replaced with a new one by a qualified AC Repair Technician.
*If none of these steps helped, then the chances are fairly good that Freon, a refrigerant, should to be checked and added (recharged) by a certified air conditioning professional if necessary.
Your Air Conditioner Isn’t Blowing Air
If your AC won’t turn on at all when you adjust the thermostat setting lower than the ambient room temperature, then please read the previous section titled ‘Your Air Conditioner unit is not working at all’. You can then take the steps necessary to determine whether the problem may be a condensate pump switch.
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If the motor in your air handler is running but the blower doesn’t seem to be pushing the air, then the belt that connects the motor to the blower has likely broken. If you have a few tools and some DIY skills replacing it is usually an easy fix.
Follow these steps to replace your air conditioner’s fan blower belt:
1) Turn off all power to your AC unit. If the air handler is also a gas furnace, then turn off the gas at the gas valve that services the furnace.
2) Remove the access door on the front of the air-handler in order to allow you to access the blower (it may also be set on a drawer that slides out). Look at the number stamped on the belt, write it down and get an exact replacement part from a home center or HVAC supply outlet.
3) Usually, you can slip the belt onto the smaller pulley first (the motor’s) and then start feeding it onto the blower pulley. Rotate the pulley attached to the blower by hand, while holding the belt in place. Be sure to keep your fingers from getting caught in between the pulley and the belt. The belt should easily slip into place. If it seems that the belt is too tight or if it is too difficult to set in place, then it may be necessary to adjust the motor mount in order to provide more slack to the belt. When finished you can re-tighten the tension once the belt is set into place. The proper tension can be found by checking the manufacturer’s specifications. In most cases, the belt should give about an inch when you push down on it.
4) Lubricate the blower. Some blower motors need to be oiled while some have sealed bearings. If it is recommended by your maintenance manual, then follow the manufacturer’s directions in order to oil the bearings.
If the blower motor hums but still won’t run, you’ll likely need to replace the unit’s blower motor. Videos can be found on the Internet detailing this but you may free more comfortable contacting an air conditioner repair technician. Feel free to call us now and let us help!
Your Air Conditioner Is Leaking Water
Most air conditioners and high efficiency combustion furnaces tend to create a significant amount of condensation. We’re talking about lots of water, especially when you live in a humid climate like the Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads area. This amount can easily be several gallons per day. This water will exit the air handler unit through either plastic pipe or a drainage tube. The drain tube is piped directly outside, most often near the AC compressor, or to a floor drain. Sometime the drain tube terminates to a small electric pump which is called the condensate pump. This is a small pump can in most cases be found beside your air handler unit. When using a condensate pump, it will connect to a 1/2-inch rubber or vinyl tube that exits to a drain or outdoors.
If you find that water is pooling or dripping at the base of your air handler, it could be leaking from one of the tubes or plastic pipes or tubes that drain it. Something may be blocking the flow of the water, or the condensate pump may not be operational. If the condensate pump ceases working, it is going to overflow.
The condensation drain pipe on some air handler units incorporates a small safety float switch which is connected to it. This float switch will show off the air conditioner if the drain pipe gets backed up with water. Your immediate solution to this is to clear your condensation drain pipe.
1) If you’re A/C system has an electric condensate pump; you must make certain that it is connected to a working electrical outlet. After that, look to see if the drainage tubing has become disconnected from the pump. If it has become disconnected, then reconnect it. A more likely scenario is that the tube or the pump has become clogged with algae. In this case, you should use a wet-dry vacuum to clear all of the water out of the tube. In some cases, it’s easier to just replace the tube with new ½ inch tubing which can be purchased at an HVAC supply warehouse, online, or at some of the larger home improvement stores. If necessary, the condensate pump is easy to replace with a new one costing around $50.
2) Test the pump. You can do this by pouring water into its collector. The pump is turned on by a ball float inside that rises with the water level and it should start when you add the water. If it doesn’t start, it is likely that it is broken or stuck. If stuck, then you should disconnect its power and disconnect it from the inbound tubes, take apart the top, and then clean it out thoroughly. If it is very old or if it is broken, then you are probably better off just replacing it so you won’t have to deal with it again anytime soon.
If you need to kill any built up algae, then just pour a dilute solution of bleach into the pump’s trough and then pump it out through the attached tube (the solution should be 1-part bleach to 16-parts water). Don’t perform this procedure on your lawn as it will kill the grass.
3) If the condensate pump runs but won’t empty the trough, then it is likely that the ball-like check valve is probably stuck. You can unscrew the check valve, and loosen the ball which is seated inside. Then you should look for any obstruction or a buildup of algae. If the condensation drain tube appears to be clogged with algae, you should remove it if possible then blow it out or run a wire through it to clear it. Better yet, you should replace it with new tubing.
4) Ice may be blocking the tubing. In the case, you should change or clean your AC filters. If the filters look fine, then the air conditioner’s refrigerant is likely low and you will need a refrigerant charge. Call an air-conditioning technician to have the unit recharged.
Your Air Conditioner Makes Noises
While most newer air handlers have direct-drive motors, some of the older air handler units are belt-driven. In a belt driven system squealing noises usually occur if the belt that connects the blower to the motor is slipping.
This usually happens if the belt is not properly aligned or if it is worn and needs to be replaced. You can follow the instructions detailed above as well as refer to your AC owner’s manual.
If a direct-drive blower is making a squealing or grinding noise, you should shut off the unit and call an HVAC repair technician. It is likely that the bearing in the motor are toast.
Many of the cooling/heating ducts are manufactured of metal so they tend to conduct noise quite easily from the air-handling unit to the rooms in your home. To dampen the conduction of this sound, you need a heating contractor insert flexible insulation duct work between the cooling/heating system and the existing metal duct work.
For complex repairs you should always hire a pro. An HVAC professional will always check the refrigerant levels in your air conditioning system.
If you hear a popping or pinging sound coming from metal ductwork in your home, this likely is being caused by thermal expansion of the metal or by air blowing by a loose flap of metal inside the duct work. Listen along the duct runs for the sound. If you can find it, then you can make a small dent in the sheet metal which will provide a more rigid surface making it less likely to move enough to create sounds as it heats up and cools down.
If your furnace is making rattling noises when it is running, you should make sure that the cover panels have been screwed on tight. If necessary, tighten them.
By keeping your AC in top shape, you can save energy and, as well as, money. If your central air conditioner is not well maintained, it can easily break down when you need it the most.
If you would prefer to hire an air conditioning pro who can inspect and maintain your AC equipment, then call us now. Don’t worry, we don’t bite!