AC Repair

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Fundamentals to AC Repair

When your AC fails to work during a hot season, your only option may be to call an HVAC technician for an AC repair. Even for minor problems, you’ll have to part with a few hundred dollars in repairs. However, if you familiarize yourself with simple DIY troubleshooting tips, you may be able to save a few dollars. You only need to buy a few supplies and follow the following procedures to fix common AC issues.

Tools Required

To begin with, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Multimeter
  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Nut driver
  • Voltage tester
  • Socket
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Insulated screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers

Materials Required

  • Fuses
  • Capacitor
  • Compressed air
  • Contactor
  • Condenser fan motor

AC is Not Functioning Properly

If your AC isn’t working as it should, you need first to check the registers, the furnace filter, and the condenser coils. Ensure the registers are wide open. Also, clean the furnace filters and finally clean the condenser coils.

If the registers are closed, or you’ve clogged filters, the airflow is restricted, causing the evaporator coil to freeze and prevent the air conditioner from cooling your house. If, after changing the filters and opening the registers, you still don’t solve the airflow problem, check the thermostat. Switch the thermostat from “cooling” to “off.” Next, move the fan switch to on. Leave the blower on for half an hour or until the airflow improves. Turn the AC on and check whether it functions properly for the next 12 hours.

If the AC still doesn’t work, try cleaning the condenser coils. Clogged condenser coils cause your compressor to overheat. This will cause the AC to shut down. You’ll first experience moments of reduced cooling before the AC stops cooling. If these AC repair attempts haven’t helped, read on.

Advanced Troubleshooting Tips

If your AC system doesn’t work after opening the registers, replacing the furnace filters, and cleaning the condenser coils, follow the following steps:

Step 1:

Shut off the power inside the condensing unit and voltage sniffer. Clean your condenser coils with a garden nozzle. Make sure you aim the nozzle all around the condenser coils.

Step 2:

Test the fuses. Make sure you replace the cartridge fuses in the disconnect block. Install the new fuses and power up the unit.

Step 3:

If the AC unit doesn’t work after replacing the fuses, turn the power off, and find the system’s access panel. Remove the panel and inspect it for rodents or evidence of chewing on the electrical connectors and wires. If there’s evidence of chewing, discharge the capacitor, and repair the wires. If you cannot handle this electrical task, call a technician.

Step 4:

Replace the capacitors. Air conditioners use at least one capacitor. Capacitors store electricity and let it out when the condenser fan and compressor startup to power the unit’s motors. Capacitors wear out over time, leading to less power. They can also fail instantly. When capacitors are not functioning, the compressor and condenser fan movements are stressed, leading to their premature failure.

To replace capacitors, you should take photos of the wires before disconnecting anything. Finally, discharge the energy stored in the old capacitor before sliding in the new capacitor.

Step 5:

AC contactors use low-voltage energy from the unit’s thermostat to transfer current to the condenser fan and compressor. In many cases, a failed AC system is caused by malfunctioning AC contractors. It’s recommended that you replace AC contactors every five years. Unscrew the AC contactor, then remove the wires and fix them to the new AC contactor.

Step 6:

Test whether the unit is working. Restore the access panel and the disconnect block. Turn on the furnace switch and circuit breaker. Next, switch the thermostat to a low temperature and give the AC time to start. Check whether the compressor is running and the condenser fan is spinning. If the fan isn’t working, but the compressor starts, the fan’s motor is shot. Turn off the power, remove the cover of your condenser, and replace the fan blade. If, after re-powering the unit, the fan does not start, you should call a technician.

In Conclusion

The above troubleshooting steps can be helpful if you have a background or some experience in electrical repairs. You need to follow the above steps meticulously and take pictures when you dismantle any component to make it easier to patch it up. If you’re doubtful about any of these steps or following these procedures your unit still doesn’t work, you should call a professional in AC repairs like those at Air Expo.


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