A Houston summer is not the best time for you to experience problems with your air conditioning. Though there’s never a good time for a major appliance to fail, going without cool air in the humid heat is not only uncomfortable, it can compromise your health as well. The good news is that there are several easy fixes for common air conditioning problems that don’t require repair work. The typical lifespan for an air conditioning or HVAC system is around 12 years, so if you are experiencing consistent problems you might be better off replacing your unit. However, if you are dealing with any of the common issues listed below, try our professional recommendations for DIY solutions.
There could be several reasons for a decreased airflow. The easiest one to fix is an airflow obstruction. If you have been using you’re A/C constantly and haven’t changed the filter, do so. During the summer, when the unit is running non-stop, the filter should be changed once a month. If changing the filter doesn’t correct the problem, check the condenser. Remove any obvious obstructions and make sure the perimeter has at least 24 inches of clearance on each side. If the condenser is in direct sunlight, try to create some shade by adding some tall plants/bushes or making an open shelter.
If your unit simply doesn’t turn on, it could be the thermostat. Make sure that it is set to the A/C mode as it’s easy to accidentally change the setting. Also check to see if the temperature is correct and the battery is charged. If the thermostat is working properly, then the issue might be a tripped fuse.
This is a common problem that is often the result of poor thermostat placement. If the thermostat is placed somewhere that is warm, either in direct sunlight or close to an appliance, the temperature readings can be compromised. If the location needs to be changed, a professional should be consulted to ensure proper placement and installation.
If you are noticing increasingly higher utility bills, your unit might not be running efficiently. If you have already ruled out obstruction problems, then it could be a choked condensing coil. This coil (located inside the condenser) has a number of cooling fins that can get clogged with dirt and outdoor detritus. If you haven’t had maintenance performed on your unit, a simple tune-up might help with any efficiency problems.
Does your air conditioning make odd noises when it starts up? This could be happening for several reasons. The most common culprit is a loose screw around the casing – or one of the registers or grilles. Check the unit and all registers and grilles for any areas that might need tightening. If this doesn’t stop the noise, it might also be a bent fan blade. A bent fan blade will need to be replaced by a professional technician.
If your air is not cooling, or is warmer than normal, there might be an issue with the refrigerant lines. The condenser distributes air to the inside system through two copper lines, which are both covered with insulating sleeves. If the sleeves are worn or have been torn, they will need to be replaced. You can find Insulating sleeves at any hardware store. The unit might also need the refrigerant to be re-charged, which should be handled by a professional.